Thursday, March 12, 2015

I love it when a plan comes together

Despite the fact that my table saw wasn't working, the bee vacuum came together very quickly this morning.  Since I was rushing, it was a little rough around the edges but once the bees are relocated the bee vacuum will get sanded down and finished.  I didn't have caulk so I used duct tape which sealed the areas just fine.  Total construction time was 3 hours which wasn't bad.  Everything just came together with no problems at all.  Everything fit first time and all my zany ideas actually worked.

But the first thing I did this morning was spray the swarm down with sugar water to buy me some time and keep them from swarming again. 

Time to gather the bees.  The saw horses that were used in the construction were moved by the tree to make a table to put the bee vacuum on.  I then connected the hoses and ran an extension cord out.  After putting on the bee suit, it took about 45 minutes of gently pulling the bees into the vacuum hose.  Despite being a 2.5" hose, the bees clogged up the hose a couple times and I had to wiggle the hose and hold it up to persuade them to stay in the hive.  The pressure was perfect.  Not too much but just the right amount.  That was pure luck.
Bee Vacuum ready to work

After 45 minutes, my neck was getting a little sore.  Halfway through the process I cleared the entrance to the swarm trap and plugged that up to take with us.  At this point I didn't have a clue what was inside the swarm trap.  As the weather's starting to heat up around here, I was drenched in sweat after gathering the swarm.  The vacuum motor was then disconnected and removed from the bee vacuum to allow ventilation into the deep box now full of bees and frames.  There were a few stragglers but most were in the box.

Deploying the new hive at the bee farm was quite simple.  I lit the smoker and then the first thing I did was position the landing pad/base/bottom board on the platform.  Then the ratchet straps were removed and after smoking the vacuum the deep was placed on the bottom board.  Then the top was removed and the inner cover and outer cover were installed.  It only took a few minutes.  By this time there were a lot of buzzing and not the happiest bees in the world zipping around.  A bunch were clumped on the vacuum top and bottom so those parts were shaken off to add even more flying bees to the mayhem.   Oh and the Nuc was opened up and was empty !!!  It's a good thing they were captured with the bee vac because they might have flown off in a swarm. 

Tomorrow it's time to inspect the other hives and I suspect that they may be reaching capacity.  Some medium frames are coming in the mail today.  I couldn't resist having a little peek into those hives and wasn't expecting how packed full of bees they were.  After seeing numerous bees on the inner cover and crowded around the inner cover hole I decided to wait until tomorrow to continue so I wouldn't disrupt the hives too much.  Adding the medium supers tomorrow probably should happen so they don't run out of room and possibly swarm.
And then there were four

As the new arrivals are numerous and not in the best mood I decided to leave and let them all calm down.  Everything worked out even better than I expected.  PLUS there were no dead bees in the entire vacuuming operation which is a plus. 

Newest Hive (far right) painted by mom

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