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Trapping Bees Is Sweet Business
Benny Kirby has been trapping bees commercially for more than 22 years, mostly out of homes and businesses. He charges according to distance from home and difficulty reaching the bee hole. He has charged as much as $550, but most jobs run from $250 to $300. And, of course, he gets to keep the bees.
  Last year he ended up with 40 gal. of honey from 15 hives that he maintains using bees he's trapped for customers.
  "I took five swarms of bees out of one local home," says Kirby. "You can then move the bees anywhere you want and set them up in a hive as long as it is over three miles from where they were."
  Kirby tells of one house where a painter had covered up all the exit holes. Bees had been in residence for decades. When it got hot, honey started running out of the walls.
  "Bees are able to keep honey at a certain temperature so when the bees weren't there, the wax melted, and it started running," says Kirby.
  Trapping the bees prevents fresh nectar from being brought in to feed the queen. She stops laying eggs, and the bees that emerge eat the honey from the combs.
  "Once the bees stop coming out, you know the honey is gone," says Kirby. "I once took 22 lbs. of bees out of an apartment house in one 24-hr. period."
  Kirby uses two types of traps. One is passive, and the other is active. The passive trap is simply a box with wire screening for sides. The ends are made from plastic boxes. He cut a door in one end and attached a funnel to the other end, then pop riveted them to the screening.
  Kirby nails a 2 by 6-in. or 2 by 8-in. board with a hole in it over the hole where the bees enter the house or building. The board helps block and direct the bees. It also provides a place to hang the trap. As the bees exit through the board's hole, they enter the funnel end of the bee trap. A flap over the end of the funnel lets them enter the trap, but prevents them from exiting.
  "It works like a minnow trap," says Kirby.
  If electricity is handy, he will use his active trap that is powered by an old Eureka vacuum. Kirby cut away everything but the blower, which he attached to an airtight box. A hose coming out of the box attaches to the bee exit to suck bees out.
  "To keep the bees in the box, I cut the fingers off a rubber glove and attached it to the end of the hose in the box," says Kirby. "As long as the vacuum is running, the fingers stand out and the bees crawl through. When I shut it off the glove collapses, and the bees can't get out."
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Benny Kirby, 1101 Scenic Lake Ct., Antioch, Tenn. 37013 (ph 615 360-8051).

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2005 - Volume #29, Issue #2