Necessity is the mother of invention.
And what a mother it can be.
I try to keep the compound safe for myself and others. I am watchful for hazards and remediate them as quickly as possible. I was sizing up this big arborvitae that needed some trimming when I noticed a yellow-jacket hive beneath the lower branches.
As I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog, (Bumbles) I dislike flying, stinging insects. Judging by the location of the nest, I could easily see myself getting stung (perhaps multiple times) while mindlessly cutting the grass. Or worse, one of my children or grandchildren suffering the same.
Yikes. No bueno.
I began with standard eradication methods – soaking the entrance hole with a couple of gallons of water-based insecticide. After a few days I could see that wasn’t having the desired effect. Not enough bees were contacting the poison and the leaf litter was sponging up the deadly liquid before it reached the core of the nest.
How could I ambush (bushwhack) the little bastards on their entrance/exit without standing there all damn day?
Enter The Bee Zoofer. (patent pending).
The Bee Zoofer is a shop vacuum set strategically at the entrance to the bee hive. As each individual bee either exits and tries to take flight, or hovers in for a landing, it gets caught in the suction and…zzz-ZZOOOF! gets sucked into the vacuum. Neat, clean and effortless. The captured bees are bounced around violently inside the vacuum drum, which I believe kills them quickly. To be sure, however, I leave the vacuum alone for a few days before emptying it out, just to be certain.
The most difficult part of deploying the Bee Zoofer is the proper placement of the business end. You need to place the nozzle right beside the entrance hole. That can be a touchy proposition with the rapid comings and goings of an active hive. Once in place, however, you just press the ‘ON’ button and walk away. Of course, it is entertaining enough to watch, for a little while.
Initially, I left the Bee Zoofer running for about 3 hours. Activity in and around the nest certainly slowed down, but the next day it was back to pre-Zoofer levels. I then ran the Zoofer for two sessions of 2 hours each (to allow the shop vac to cool down). Again, activity slowed to nill.
My aim was to reduce the population of bees until the hive could no longer support itself and collapse. Surely any bees that were left are coming back to an empty nest. I could picture their reaction –
‘Hey…WHERE THE HELL IS EVERYBODY??’
But that wasn’t the case. Either the hive was much larger than I thought, or bee reproduction was ramped up to meet demand. So I turned on the Bee Zoofer and procured a long pole and proceeded to poke at the nest from afar. This produced the desired effect of an attack, which also put many more bees into the suction flow. (Full disclosure – I got stung once, on my arm. Aparantly one of the little bastards avoided getting sucked in and went on a large, circular hunt that ended with me. That is what you get from farking with a bee hive).