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Sucking Machine
Matthias Wandel’s wasp sucking machine… He writes –

This machine was the fulfillment of a childhood fantasy!

Growing up in the country, wasps nests and the possibility of getting stung were a frequent nuisance. I have no sympathy for yellow jackets that do not produce honey, and sting!

In the summer of 1996, opportunity presented itself. Near a picnic table where some of us at work were always having lunch, there was a wasp nest in a crevice in the building. Wasps were frequently bothering us, but we could not even see the nest, just a gap in the concrete that they used for their entrance.

Now of course, I could have just used a shopvac, but you don’t want to leave one of those running for hours on end, and then you can’t see your catch, and how the hell is one supposed to empty it?

I happened to have this incredibly powerful blower that I bought at a surplus store thinking I might use it for a pipe organ, but never used. Given this opportunity, and the blower, I decided to build a dedicated ‘wasp sucking machine’.

The blower and 1/3 hp motor came as one unit, connected together with a flatbelt. I know, the shopvacs are supposed to have 5 horsepower, but they don’t suck much harder than this unit, and they just don’t last. The box has a glass lid so you can see the status of the catch, and only bug screen for a ‘filter’ so there isn’t much to resist the flow of air. A piece of metal or cardboard can be slid in a gap where the hose connects to seal off the box, and the box just sits on top of the intake spout for the blower, so it can easily be removed from the machine for purposes of showing off one’s catch.

Phillip Torrone

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.

9 Responses to Wasp sucking machine

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  1. Once you’ve caught them and showed them off, then what do you do? Kill them, I suppose, but how?

  2. Windham Graves on said:

    freezing is the most humane method.

  3. I use a similar setup to catch bugs at night. You just place a strong light near the opening and like magic, the bugs disappear! Once captured, they make great chicken feed!

  4. Rex Kipper on said:

    “Growing up in the country, wasps nests and the possibility of getting stung were a frequent nuisance. I have no sympathy for yellow jackets that do not produce honey, and sting!”

    Perhaps the most pathetically idiotic statement I’ve seen for a while. Wasps have an important role in the food chain and are a natural form of pest control. I’d like to shove that pipe up the maker’s ass and switch that gadget to ‘blow’.

  5. Shut up Rex Kipper, you sound like a dink.

  6. Rex Kipper has a point. Those sound like the words of a 5-year-old.

    > I have no sympathy for yellow jackets that do not produce honey, and sting!


    Or a Homer.

  7. Anonymous Coward on said:

    Actually, wasps are usurping the position of bees in the food chain. They are an obtrusive species that was introduced by accident. Wasps and Yellow Jackets destroy bee hives and don’t produce honey. If you can destroy them to give the bees more of a fighting chance, so much the better.

  8. Anonymous on said:

    This seems like serious overkill (on the project, not the wasps). I knew someone that just used a shop vac to remove all the bees from a hive that had grown between the walls of his house. They were getting in and out through a small gap in a window, so he just wedged the pipe next the hole and turned it on. He had read that almost all the bees will leave and return to the hive within the day, so he figured he’d get all of them, and it seemed to work since he never had a problem again. Every now and then he’d spray some bee killer spray down the pipe and it would suck it into the holding chamber. At the end of the day we carefully opened it and there was about a six inch layer of dead bees. He caulked the hole, and the problem was solved.

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