I started this little project because we came into possession of an expanded polystyrene box and lid of a suitable size, about 60cm x 35cm x 25cm.

You will require such a box, with a close fitting lid and walls thick enough to allow fittings to be added, in this case about 3cm thick. A wooden box of a similar size would be fine and may be easier to work if you have some basic woodworking skills and tools.

Access to a domestic vacuum cleaner with a hose, I used our ash vacuum, but something like a Henry would be fine.

A length of tube of a similar diameter to the vacuum cleaner tube. I have bought a 2m length of 5cm OD clear plastic tube from a local supplier. This has 2 benefits, the interior diameter is smooth, which I hope, will minimise bee damage and clear, so you can see the bees on their progress down the tube.

The main disadvantage is that the tube I bought is very stiff so is difficult to manhandle. It would be possible to use another vacuum cleaner hose which would be more flexible but will, I'm sure, cause more trauma to the bees.

 Click to EnlargeClick to EnlargeClick to Enlarge 

To connect the tubes to the box I visited a local hardware store with the tube dimensions and sorted through the plastic plumbing fittings until I found something that would suit the size of the tubes and allow me to clamp then through the wall of the box. See Photo 1, 4 and 5

At one end of the box I cut a hole in the middle of the short edge that would take the plumbing fitting and glued it in place. This will be where the bees enter the box.

At the other end of the box I cut a hole on the long edge as close to the box end and base as possible, this is the hole for the vacuum tube fitting to be fixed into. This is where the vacuum cleaner tube is attached to the box to supply the suction. See Photo 2.

From a piece of 4 or 5mm MDF I cut a piece the width of the box interior that would go from the top of the opening to the bottom at an angle of about 45 deg. This should be close fitting and clear the internal part of the plumbing fitting used to attach the suction hose. See Photo 3.

 Click to Enlarge Click to EnlargeIn the middle of the MDF sheet I cut a rectangular hole about half the total area of the sheet. From a local motor factor i.e. Halfords, I bought a sheet of expanded aluminium mesh as used for car body repair and cut a piece about 3 - 4cm larger than the cut out on the MDF sheet and stuck this in place over the cut out. This is to provide a barrier to keep the bees in the box and not get sucked into the vacuum cleaner. See Photo 3.

I attached the MDF sheet into the box using Duct tape to provide a bee proof join. See Photo 3.


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  • Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancies
    22 September 2022
    The National Bee Unit currently has a Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancies advertised in:
    • Wales: Whole country, but particularly north and Ceredigion.
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    If you are interested in applying for these jobs, full details can be found on Civil Service Jobs

    If you have any questions regarding the position, please contact the Regional Bee Inspector for the region.
  • Credible sighting of a single Asian hornet near Chelmsford, Essex
    26 August 2022
    National Bee Unit inspectors are carrying out enhanced surveillance near Chelmsford, in response to a compelling report of Asian hornet (Vespa velutina).

    Further information regarding the yellow-legged Asian hornet can be found on Defra's Asian Hornet sightings page and on BeeBase’s Asian hornet page. For media enquiries, please contact the Defra Press Office: 0330 0416560

    We ask beekeepers to remain vigilant, record monitoring trap locations on BeeBase by logging in and updating their my apiaries page, report suspected sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for iPhone and Android, or the online reporting form.

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