DIY Bee Vacuum

Capture a swarm of honeybees with this DIY nuc vacuum.

| March/April 2018

Five years ago, when my son and I took beekeeping classes, we purchased our first nuc of bees for $50. This year, hive nucs are going for $150. With a rapid increase in the number of beekeepers in the nation, demand has driven up the cost of all things necessary for this already pricey hobby — including the bees themselves.

If a person is willing and able to remove swarms though, bees are free for the taking. In fact, some folks will pay you to remove bees from inside their home or on their property. But if the bees have entered the ceiling joists through a bathroom vent, as one swarm we removed last spring had, you will need a “bee vacuum” to contain the bees before tearing out the drywall. And a bee vac is another piece of pricey equipment — unless you build your own.

The following bee vac uses a bucket vacuum we purchased new, a hive super we already had, and two more boxes I show how to build here.

To create the boxes that turn your hive super into a bee vac, follow these instructions.

Materials & Cut List


• 1 12-foot 1-by-8 pine board
• 1 4-by-8 sheet of 1⁄2-inch plywood
• 1 161⁄4-by-20 piece of 1⁄8-inch hardware cloth or metal window screen
• 1 shop vac or bucket vacuum with 5-gallon bucket
• 15-30 feet of 2-inch vacuum hose
• 1 10-frame beehive super, with frames and foundation
• 1 ratchet strap
• 1 tube of silicone caulking
• 16 feet of foam window/door insulation strip
• 1 bottle wood glue
• 1 box of 15⁄8-inch screws

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