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Author Topic: Bee vac mortality  (Read 4565 times)

Offline KeyLargoBees

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Bee vac mortality
« on: March 13, 2016, 09:06:21 am »
When I first got into this and decided I wanted to do the removals I looked around online and found a plan for a Bee vac and built it... probably 6 to 8 removals with it and I've always had good luck and very low mortality.... Removal on Friday from a meter junction box that was a mess and I had to scrape and scoop a lot of comb out from around wires ..... No easy way to remove comb so I did a lot of vacuuming to get the numbers way downgrade so I could cut and scrape and scoop the comb from this rats nest of wires they had built in... In any event the mortality was horrid I probably lost 2 to 3 pounds of bees in a giant pile in the bottom of the vac box .... I would say it was a 40 to 50% loss of all the bees that had been vacuumed ....suction was the same the hose was the same the attachments the same just the mortality was much higher.... could it be related to an excessive amount of bees with honey on them due to the messy conditions... Or are there just removals that have a higher mortality rate for no apparent reason?

Pretty sure I didn't do anything differently it's just disconcerting to see that big pile of dead bees in your vac box and it makes them hard to transfer into the hivebody without dumping all that trash in...thanks in advance for any insights.
Jeff Wingate

Changes in Latitudes...Changes in Attitudes....are Florida Keys bees more laid back than the rest of the country...only time will tell!!!
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Offline iddee

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Re: Bee vac mortality
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2016, 10:01:33 am »
Any time you have a lot of liquid honey flowing in a removal, the mortality rate will be high. They get it on them and it stops up their breathing holes.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Bee vac mortality
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2016, 11:22:50 am »
That's why I stopped using a vacuum...  I see no need for one other than the last few stragglers that the homeowner doesn't want around.  If I kill them it's not great loss and it keeps the customer happy...
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Bee vac mortality
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2016, 12:37:36 pm »
Jeff,
The biggest difference is usually the amount of suction. Did the relief gate get closed, creating a higher suction.
Another cause could bee how much honey the bees have in the stomachs. If you smoked them enough for them to really fill their stomachs, the vacuum sometimes causes them to regurgitate the contents.
Jim

Offline KeyLargoBees

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Re: Bee vac mortality
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2016, 02:35:03 pm »
No I am constantly checking the suction since I had an issue on my very first removal...This was by far my "wettest" removal to date and it was a mess so there was probably a lot of honey on bees...which were sucked into vac hose.....and the honey was deposited in the hose as the bees tumbled down it and subsequent bees were coated.....not much I could have done differently since I was under a time constraint. The power company had the power off to 10 homneowners while I worked in the meter box....I had a 4 hour window and a hard stop so I may have rushed it a bit and been a little rouigher than normal....they seem to be doing well and the queen was relesed from her cage this AM and the hive temperment is where it shoudl be even after the rough handling. I am sure they will recover just felt bad seeing all those dead bees.

But the alternative was for them all to be killed so I think it was a win win over all with lots of local positive press and an awareness of the need for live removals...even if I am not the one to do the job :-)
Jeff Wingate

Changes in Latitudes...Changes in Attitudes....are Florida Keys bees more laid back than the rest of the country...only time will tell!!!
piratehatapiary@gmail.com https://www.facebook.com/piratehatapiary

Offline superbee

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Re: Bee vac mortality
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2016, 11:58:29 am »
For large public removals  I use a small cordless vac that has low power and a huge filter for wet bees.  All other bees go into the bee vac. 

As soon as I get home I open the cordless on top of the hive and let them dry out in the sun the next day.  Careful as the cordless vac can get hot.  If it gets too full I dump them out into a nuc on site.  Since they are wet they don't fly.

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Bee vac mortality
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2016, 01:57:53 pm »
I just used my original bee vac to remove a small cluster of bees from the peak of a steep roof, on Sunday night. It was at least 25' off the ground and the hose was probably 35' long. It was a small vacuum and with that much hose I had to keep the relief port completely closed. I did not get home until after dark so I left them in the screened box over night and let them out after I got home from work the next evening. I was concerned about the suction level inside the box because of the long hose. Not one bee died in that box.
I suspect it may be the speed that they travel down the tubes, hitting the hose sections and hit the back of the box that may cause the damage.
Jim

Offline KeyLargoBees

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Re: Bee vac mortality
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2016, 07:41:27 am »
yah Ive had good luck before with virtually no mortality so this recent one was a puzzler. in washing out the hose it was a mess on the inside so I am sure it was the honey glop and then the fact that I couldn't direct release but rather had to wait 5 hours before releasing in the evening when I got home. Live and learn.....hive is doing fine just set back by the loss of population.
Jeff Wingate

Changes in Latitudes...Changes in Attitudes....are Florida Keys bees more laid back than the rest of the country...only time will tell!!!
piratehatapiary@gmail.com https://www.facebook.com/piratehatapiary

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Bee vac mortality
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2016, 12:41:54 pm »
yah Ive had good luck before with virtually no mortality so this recent one was a puzzler. in washing out the hose it was a mess on the inside so I am sure it was the honey glop and then the fact that I couldn't direct release but rather had to wait 5 hours before releasing in the evening when I got home. Live and learn.....hive is doing fine just set back by the loss of population.

Jeff,
I suspect the problem was not they honey but the heat.
I shook a very large swarm onto the ground next to a nuc box with just one, one and a quarter inch opening. I used smoke on the outside to get the rest in the box. It took a while to get them in and then I put a screen on it and drove straight home, 30 minute drive. I immediately dumped them into a full medium hive. Half of them were dead. With that many bees in a tight space being moved around on the road, they overheated (I felt the heat when I dumped them). There may have also been a lack of oxygen.
I immediately built swarm boxes with top and bottom screens that I can close or leave open.
Jim

Offline KeyLargoBees

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Re: Bee vac mortality
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2016, 09:09:15 am »
I don't know about that Jim... it was a warm day but the temps were only in the low 80's and the box was sitting in the shade up off the ground and it was very breezy....the vac box was removed from the vac body as soon as I powered off the vac too...is screened on both sides with #8 hardware cloth so there is a ton of ventilation. I guess they may have clustered and overheated but it wasn't like they were sitting in the sun in a closed box or anything. In any event the set up I am using now is a homemade job and transfer of the bees from the vac box to the hive is not easy and puts a ton of bees in the air. I have been looking at a Colorado Bee Vac as a step up for the removal efforts and if I had been using that I could have immediately set the vacced bees on the hive body and avoided the wait......so  this last event may be the impetus I need to upgrade ;-)
Jeff Wingate

Changes in Latitudes...Changes in Attitudes....are Florida Keys bees more laid back than the rest of the country...only time will tell!!!
piratehatapiary@gmail.com https://www.facebook.com/piratehatapiary

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Bee vac mortality
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2016, 12:24:07 pm »
I don't know about that Jim... it was a warm day but the temps were only in the low 80's and the box was sitting in the shade up off the ground and it was very breezy....the vac box was removed from the vac body as soon as I powered off the vac too...is screened on both sides with #8 hardware cloth so there is a ton of ventilation. I guess they may have clustered and overheated but it wasn't like they were sitting in the sun in a closed box or anything. In any event the set up I am using now is a homemade job and transfer of the bees from the vac box to the hive is not easy and puts a ton of bees in the air. I have been looking at a Colorado Bee Vac as a step up for the removal efforts and if I had been using that I could have immediately set the vacced bees on the hive body and avoided the wait......so  this last event may be the impetus I need to upgrade ;-)
Jeff,
What you did was the same thing that I do. Leave the vacuum on until I am ready to remove the cage from the vacuum. With that much screening, heat should not bee the problem unless there were so many bees that it was really full. I have 2 cages made up so that I can remove one when it is about 1/2 full.
I have lost half of a very large swarm in the Colorado type Bee Vac that I attributed to to much vacuum. It could have had too many bees in it. I took the top off as soon as I turned off the vacuum and they still died.
It always hurts to kill that many bees.
Jim