Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bee Vac and other stuff

Yesterday we planned to do our first beehive extraction (Jan and I) with hopes of setting up a new hive of feral bees in our garden, everything was set to go. I built a bee vacuum to collect the stray bees, built custom frames to install comb with the bees own brood and honey and a brand new hive to place them in.

The bees were flying into a porch built in 1921. We assumed the bee hive would be under the floor joists of the porch. The owners are getting ready to rebuild the porch and people have been getting stung, so the hive needed to go. So we cut open the porch to extract the bees and the hive was not under the porch. Instead the bees we entering a crack in the wood and going into a 24" x 24" brick column which likely has a 12" x 12" cavity in it. So getting to the hive was not possible. We set up the bee vac and collected 300 or so bees, knowing they would be exterminated.

 Here is the first prototype of my bee vac. The vacuum was one I had in my shop and never used. So I gutted the vacuum and cut it up to flatten the bottom to use in in the box I built for the vacuum. I tested the vac with some bees clinging to  my boardman feeder and it would not pull clinging bees into it, flying bees would be sucked up. So it would not work.
 So I went to the big box store and bought a bigger shop vac, this 5 hp one did the trick. You can see some of the bees it collected, only a few died after being sucked up.
To control the amount of air flow I installed this air port on the side of the vac, too much flow would kill the bees while being sucked up. You need just enough to grab them no more than that. The 1/8 inch hardware cloth top keeps them safe from the vacuum itself. The hose has a hardware cloth screen that prevents to bees from exiting the hose after your finished, this needs to be removed when collecting bees.

These are feral bees we collected. I'm guessing one is feeding the other.
 After the failed extraction we went to Jan's to inspect one of his hives. The bees had reduced a great deal and he wanted to investigate.  The honey super he installed weeks ago was nearly untouched. This frame was in the second level brood box about half the 10 frames looked like this 60% filled with honey, perhaps enough honey for them to winter over nothing for the beekeeper. No brood was found in the second level, we were worried at this point. All that extra comb is called burr comb, we cleaned it off all the frames. The tub with burr comb and drippings of honey must have had 300-400 bees in it before we finished.
 Here is an Russian bee just being born. I started singing happy birthday, Jan got a kick out of that. Perhaps the young bee there was singing in Russian bee happy birthday to it?
 Here is a wild morning glory next to potato patch. The photo below is an iron chair covered in morning glory. Meg thinks we don't need a weedeater.

This night blooming cerius opened last night. tonight we expect 8 of them to open on the porch, never had more than 2 at a time before! The aroma is heavenly.

 The pond is happy. Lots of frogs and turtles scramble when you walk down there. I had an interesting thing happen practically under my feet a few days ago. A five-lined Skink jumped out of the flower bed in front chasing a cricket. It killed it after 5-6 leaps right under my feet.


sandy lawrence said...

Let me add one more concern to your list, with which I agree, btw. I am alarmed at President Obama's idea of extending the current reduction in "payroll taxes". Most people don't seem to be getting that these "payroll taxes" are actually Social Security contributions to their retirement. If we continue to reduce our contributions, is it not obvious that we will be helping to make the argument easy for the people who want to dismantle that program, that Social Security is in danger of becoming insolvent and, therefore, in need of drastic "reform"; i.e. for privatizing or outright elimination? How is this short-term payroll "gain" not playing into the grand plan of dismantling our own safety net?

Social Security is an earned benefit, not an entitlement. It has a separate stream of financing, can pay full benefits through 2036, and has not added to the deficit, unless you want to count the huge amount Congress has siphoned off (read "borrowed" from) the Soc Sec Trust Fund and which shows up as self-financed debt.

Bernie Sanders will be proposing legislation to strengthen Social Security — not weaken it as the payroll tax cuts would do — by lifting the cap for those with incomes over $250,000 (an idea originally proposed by candidate Obama).

I'm from Texas. Don't even get me started on Rick Perry!

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Oh what a can o'worms this political season. I am hoping the EPA issues will be re-addressed after the eletion, when more Democratic congressmen/women are in office. I agree with the idea of lifting the cap on incomes over $250,000.
As for the Republican candidates...oh boy.
Your bee collector is most interesting.

Shady Gardener said...

So, Randy. If you didn't get the queen... then, what?

Oh! Politics. Sorry business, that.

Andrea said...

You are so good Randy in making those equipment/gadgets/tools, etc. My friend who I directed to read yours and Curbstone Valley will be delighted to read this, he is trying to learn how to have an apiary.

Carol said...

It is too bad you could not get the bees to safety Randy . . . glad you got some. How clever you are! The whole beekeeping thing is pretty fascinating. I imagine you have great sounds there with your pond too. Love the iron chair! Perfect for Morning Glories. Oh, I am sick enough with Lyme but really become ill when thinking about how we as citizens do so little to protest. I guess when you think of it . . . we get what we deserve. We should have all gone to be arrested in front of the White House . . . or least to call and write our reps. O. is doing exactly what I would expect from a man who appoints Chemical Corp. management as Interior Sec and Sec of Agri. He is just a puppet in the corp machine and we all stand by and let it continue to roll and crush. Green jobs would be the greatest stimulus to our economy and help with the environmental crisis we are in. Why are we not demanding it? I am still depressed about the silence over the horrors we have put upon hundreds of thousands of people and lands since 9/11 and how we are creating more hatred towards our country. It is insane. Maybe we have to go to the bottom for people to wake up. Oh dear. It is important to discuss . . . thank you for sharing. Somedays I just feel so hopeless and that is why I love the tiny miracles around me. I sign petitions and call congress and the white house but that is little to nothing. Thank you for your kind words of support Randy.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Intriguing bee vac design Randy. I've seen a number of various designs recently, and one never looks like the other. I'm curious, did you sing Happy Birthday in Russian? ;)

Karen said...

Talk about inventive, Randy, what a great idea for bee collection. Beekeeping is way more complicated than I ever imagined, and fascinating.

I did a search for the Stone House in your area, disappointed I couldn't find a picture of it especially since it's on the historical register. I hope you have a few pics you could share on an upcoming post??

sweetbay said...

Randy your bee keeping posts are so interesting and I always enjoy reading them.

Why Sarah Palin wasn't laughed off the stage when she first appeared has always been a source of extreme bafflement to me.

I am worried that the marriage of big business and politics in the US will lead to the US having a very short course as a superpower. The US is shooting itself in the foot.

Les said...

I already feel like we are bearing witness to the dismantling of the United States as we know it, and we have a supposedly libreal Democrat in the White House. I can't imagine what will happen if any of the bat sh_t crazy Republicans like Bachmann or Perry get in office. Obama's weakness and the crazier GOP candidates have done nothing but make the saner ones look more attractive to me, which is not an easy task.

Kim and Victoria said...

Yeah, not thrilled with Obama either, although I voted for him. He's been too wimpy. (Although I'm not sure anyone could be liberal enough for me.) Perry is a first class NUTJOB!