bee vacuum success!

A couple of weeks ago I tried to coax a swarm into an empty hive about 20 feet up on the back side of a movie set facade in Ventura.
The bees did not move into the hive but instead used the underside of the box as a nice extension to hang their comb on.
Today I went back, this time with a scissor lift and extracted the bees with my nifty new bee vacuum. The bees are now happily adjusting to their new home in my backyard apiary 🙂
The bee vacuum is based on the genius design by Rob Overton of and took me about 3 hours to make. The vacuum is powered by Kim’s shopvac with a valve to regulate the pressure so that you don’t hurt the bees by whizzing down the tube and into the hive too fast.
Thanks for all the help from Glen, Ban, Ernie and Scott and also to Matt for taking the pictures and cleaning all the honey off the lift when we were done 🙂
Here are some more photos of the extraction…


  1. Is there a plan on the net somewhere to make this bee vac? Thanks!

  2. How do you make the valve for the shop vac to turn down the volume and not hurt the bees?

  3. You rock! We need to talk about a good location in my yard for an apiary.

  4. I think you are the official A Rocha poster child – great work!

  5. I am in awe. That’s so cool. Do all of your hives have separate queens? How does that work?

  6. You’re like a super hero! Albeit in a very poor costume.