Monday, April 7, 2014

Building a 50 Buck Bee Vac

I decided today to go ahead and put together a light weight Bee Vacuum I have been reading about. Supposedly with a new product that has come out you can make a bee vac so light weight you can actually haul the thing up into a tree with you.

I have seen reports that you can make these things for under 30 bucks but since Lowes didn't have any extra vacuum hose available I had to buy some pool hose that pretty much doubled my price tag. I also purchased a higher dollar bucket and lid for reasons I will explain later. Oh and I was out of construction adhesive so that added another five bucks on to my price as well.

The main item you will need is the box on the right in the above picture which is a wet/dry vac that sits on top of a five gallon bucket. This one cost me $21.00 at Lowes.

I purchased a higher dollar lid because I had planned on using the hole that came with it rather than attempting to cut through the plastic with a hole saw. It was worth the few extra bucks. I just pulled the soft plastic pour spout out and cut it off. I then put the two pvc/plastic fittings together through the hole. This is the intake hole that the five foot of plastic pipe will go into that the bees will get sucked into the five gallon bucket with.

This fitting is a seven inch piece of pvc pipe I drilled some small holes into that bees can't get sucked into. Using a cap and two smaller fittings I drilled a hole in the lid with a 7/8" paddle bit and inserted then screwed the fittings together. This will be the attachment the suction hose from the vacuum fits into.

This is what the lid of the five gallon "Bee catcher" bucket looks like when it is all together.

And this last picture is the entire thing after I built a light weight carrier out of scrap lumber. It is easily light enough I can pull it up and tie it to the end of my ladder if needed. The bees get sucked into the first bucket but then cannot continue on into the second bucket. This is why I bought a more expensive five gallon bucket for the "Bee Catcher" so I can see just how full the thing is getting.

I will need to play around with a damper opening so that I do not suck the bees up with such force that they get turned into insect purrie or hit the bottom so hard they splatter. I may end up also needing to fit a sock around the pvc pipe intake or something.

The total cost came in at about $45.00 but like I said I kinda added in some features that are not actually necessary.

I guess we will see if I need to actually put the thing through it's paces tomorrow.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!



  1. The boys on Duck Dynasty tried to suck bees off of a hive and it didn't work but then they didn't have your expertise.
    It does look like the bees would all get smashed but I haven't mess with one. Nothing flying here today, cold and rain.

    1. Sf - I am thinking about gluing a disc of foam on the bottom of the catcher bucket as well.

  2. Awesome...Try it out on some of those packing peanuts and see how it works.

    1. MB - After playing with it a bit this afternoon I think I am going to cut the tube coming from the vac itself and install a baffle of some kind tomorrow morning. Needs to be something I can open and close until I get the suction just right...

  3. Awesome! I admire people that can do things like that. I just lack the conceptual skills.

  4. Just a couple thoughts on the vacuum tube, and suction control.
    Use regular window screen, wrapped in a cylinder larger than the PVC to provide clearance to the suction holes. Some wooden discs cut to the screens OD, with a inner bore the same as the PVC suction tube, would maintain the proper stand off distance. Clear silicone could hold the disc to the PVC while staples would fasten the screening. It would keep the holes from plugging, and from having any of the girls from getting hurt.

    To regulate the vacuum:
    Cut a window in the side of a piece of PVC tubing; about 1/4 the diameter and the length of a coupler for that size. Next take a coupler for that size pipe and file the rib that limits the pipe insertion completely away. Then use a hack saw to cut the coupler length-wise. Slide the split coupler over the windowed PVC pipe then mount in-line between the Shop-Vac and the bee collection chamber. Adjust the split collar over the window in the tubing to adjust the suction.

    There you go- cheap and easy. Hope this helps.

    Whitehall, NY

    ps - It is just warming up enough for my brood to make their cleansing flights. They survived their first winter, and we had a doosy! Hoping for good things this season!!


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