Do any of you use a bee blower to vacate bees from the supers? What are the problems? What hints or suggestions do you have? What works better?
I do. I bought a variable speed leaf blower for about 80 bucks in my first year, and it still serves me well. I use a fume board and a little Bee-Gone for 5-10 min, and then blow the rest out. Ususaly they have all moved down to the bottom, and are hanging in clumps on the bottom ege of the super. ( I built a rectangle wooden stand to use when doing all this. )
The Bees, find their way back, and I dont notice any significant damage or injury.
The bees will pile on the lawn, but after less than an hour, they re-orient and get back to work. If the weather turns sour, and theres bees in the grass, I'll place an empty super over them with a lid and inner cover. They'r always gone by the next morning.
You can invest a hell of a lot of money on an actual Bee Blower, with stands and hoses to do many supers at a time but those little suckers are ingenious at hiding in cells, behind burr comb, for up to 20 min when your blowing a stack of 4.
I have used a commercially made bee blower and a leaf blower in the past. I don't use them anymore (very rarely when I need to pull honey in inclement weather) as I found they were too slow for me with 300+ hives. The regular bee blower worked better I thought as it produced a bigger volume of air, although a leaf blower would work fine for a smaller number of supers. I used a stand to set the super on and blowed the bees down toward the entrance. I have also heard of setting the super on end and blowing them from the bottom. I run 8 frames in honey supers, which really helps blow them out as you need to get the nozzle in between the frames to blow them out. I would go through the super twice as some bees will go into a cell in order to avoid the moving air and it is amazing how tenacious some are at hanging on or hiding behind burr comb. If you use 9 frames in your honey supers you may find that you need to remove a frame to give yourself enough space to get the nozzle in between the frames. Deeps are also much harder to blow the bees out of. Another thing I didn't like about a blower is that a tremendous number of bees wind up in the air and robbing can really be a problem. I generally only use fume boards now.