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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Delta, Utah
    Posts
    494

    Default The secret to fume boards

    Every year I have problems with this and this year is starting out the same. My fume boards don't move the bees out. It's probably my technique but I've tried a million different ways and none work - consistantly.

    Here's what I do: Pop the lid, put a couple puffs of smoke, or not, put the fume board on crooked to let the bees on top fly out, then straighten it after a minute or so. I do this with 6 to 10 boards at a time depending on how many workers. Anyway, it doesn't seem to matter how hot it is, how long I leave it on or anything. 90% of the time I have lots of bees left in the super (I would guess anywhere from 300 to 1000). Yesterday it clouded up in the afternoon and they started working better after that - go figure.

    Considerations: I use Bee Go that's a few years old (does it go bad?)
    Got my boards from Mann Lake (never used anything else.)
    I thought shallow supers would help, it hasn't.
    Bees usually go to the bottom of the super and just hang out there.
    Many times the super if full of "wet" bees that refuse to descend.

    Any suggestions? I know I'm doing something wrong just haven't figured it out yet. I carry a blower to finish the job the fume boards don't. Thanx

    -Rob Bliss
    -Rob Bliss
    Bliss Honey and bee supplies

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default Re: The secret to fume boards

    Rob everything you describe is just how I do it, with deeps no less. The only thing I can see is that maybe "a few puffs" isn't enough. The bees need to get their heads turned around and started moving down before the boards are put on. If bees are too thick or clustered in the super they get drunk on beego and you have klingons, who will never move after that. Get them off the top bars and moving down. I'm sure you know that they won't leave open honey or brood without a struggle. Also never break the super off first, the exposed honey makes them stick. When working alone I use a couple dozen boards and it comes off as fast as I can jerk & stack.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,497

    Default Re: The secret to fume boards

    Rob,

    I have heard that if exposed to light "Bee Go" will go bad eventually so if you have stored it outside it could be that it's not at strength.

    Other then that it could also be you are not applying enough onto the felt to really put out the scent. Try increasing the amount a bit and see if that helps.

    Last, many times when we are in a hurry all the bees don't get out of the super and we end up just thumping the super against the top edge of the hive or the edge of the flatbed. This gets rid of the last of the bees and they head back to their hive with no problems. Using a blower just seems to be labor intensive and time consuming, especially if you are harvesting lots of supers.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,696

    Default Re: The secret to fume boards

    is there a possible chance there is brood in the honey supers? The will not leave the brood no matter what. We had that problem last year, but not the year before. Reason...we thought we did not need queen excluders and the queen moved up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,328

    Default Re: The secret to fume boards

    Quote Originally Posted by pahvantpiper View Post
    put the fume board on crooked to let the bees on top fly out, then straighten it after a minute or so.

    Yesterday it clouded up in the afternoon and they started working better after that - go figure.
    I think you're closing the board too quickly. Leave it crooked for longer...especially when you've just added repellant, or it's hot and sunny. Get the top super to clear, and then close it on the second.

    Experiment with how little repellant you can use, and how long you can leave the fume board crooked.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: The secret to fume boards

    The Mann Lake plastic louver style works great along the coast.
    If I left them on longer than about 5 minutes the bees would boil out the entrance.

    I painted the wooden frame black.
    But,
    I was using buteric acid!
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Delta, Utah
    Posts
    494

    Default Re: The secret to fume boards

    I appreciate all the great tips. I think Tom figured it out for me: "Also never break the super off first" I usually do this to see if it's heavy enough to pull. One of those quirky things I got in a habbit of doing. I'll be pullin' again next week and will give it another shot. Thank you.
    -Rob Bliss
    Bliss Honey and bee supplies

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,167

    Default Re: The secret to fume boards

    Quote Originally Posted by pahvantpiper View Post
    . I'll be pullin' again next week .
    WOW, pullin' honey already! good for you. The only thing I will be pullin' is the syrup tank out.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Dousman,Wi.U.S.A.
    Posts
    209

    Default Re: The secret to fume boards

    I've used Bee go with some good and some mixed results. Really think a lot also depends on the tempature when its being used. Warmer is better. I bought some used equipment last year, included were several of Dadant's one way bee escapes. Tried them last year and they really work great. Installed them between brood and honey supers several days before I pulled the honey. The honey supers were virtually empty of bees. They are a bit pricey but I did buy several more for use this year. Try one and I think you'll be sold on them.

  10. #10

    Default Re: The secret to fume boards

    Karl

    you must have new equipment... most commercial beeks can non use escapes with all the busted corners that let in robbers. Plus who has time to go back to a bee yard with thousands of more super to pull....

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Ohio
    Posts
    859

    Reminder Re: The secret to fume boards

    Are you kidding! I flip all my honey supers around about a week ahead of time and give them two empties below the full supers. That way they clean up all the mess and finish capping. Went I go back most of the bees are working in the two boxes I gave them. Ofcoarse I only run about 800 hives and use a blower. It takes me an hour to pull a little over a ton of honey by myself.
    I watch my dad use a fume board once and I still can't forget that smell. Just like a cat box.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Burke, SD, USA
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: The secret to fume boards

    We do it similar to this. We go around and under-super everything, and then two weeks or so later go back and pull using fume boards. By then all the burr and brace comb is cleaned up and makes pulling less sticky. I also think it helps them jump into the new supers by having a nearly full one on top.

    It is a lot of work this way but by having two guys working them it goes pretty smoothly. One lifts off the full box while the other places the empty underneath and then switch jobs halfway through the yard. We do 1500-1800 colonies this way with just two of us.
    Last edited by Bizzybee; 06-27-2009 at 12:54 PM. Reason: Unnecessary quoting

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Delta, Utah
    Posts
    494

    Default Holy cow!!!

    Yup, not cracking the super before pulling was the answer - thanx Tom! I pulled 'till 9:00PM last night - the sun had already gone behind the mountains and it was cooling down and the fume boards just kept right on working. It took a little longer but they still worked great. Only a few bees left in each super when pulling. I pulled almost 100 supers by myself in a few hours yesterday in three yards (and that was with some frame moving to make sure every super was full). Can't wait to see how much we can do with 2 or 3 of us on a full day. Anyway, I feel a mile stone has been reached. Thanx again for all the great advice.

    -Rob
    P.S. I am no longer slow! (read below)
    -Rob Bliss
    Bliss Honey and bee supplies

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Independence,KY,USA
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Holy cow!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by pahvantpiper View Post
    Yup, not cracking the super before pulling was the answer - .............
    What does "cracking the super mean"? Thanks.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default Re: The secret to fume boards

    Breaking it free from the box below. Doing so breaks burr comb, exposes honey, causes bees to "stick".

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Pittsburg, [Willamson County] Illinois, USA
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: The secret to fume boards

    A beekeeper friend ran 700 hives. He would break the seal & put a wedge, like a narrow cap board, between the supper & hives, long enough to let the bees clean up the burr comb. He said this keep them from dripping all over the yard & helped move the bees down when useing carbolic acid , which we can't use now. Don't know if this works with newer methods.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Lancaster CA
    Posts
    410

    Default Re: The secret to fume boards

    Spilt supering is definatly the way to go if the bees are not a hundred miles from home. Another tool I used was a 6 5/8 box with 1/16 in felt sandwiched between 2 pices of 1/8 in hardware cloth and a 1 inch rim attached to the bottom. The top of this box has a 6 in diameter hole cut in it and a 6in kd elbow on top of that. The lid has hinges and the elbow is stored inside for transport. To use this tool, put bee go on the felt and point the elbow into the prevailing breeze. This tool especially does the trick if your day turns cool. I would pull the fume board and use this tool for final cleanout. Bees will leave when this device is used instantly. A little extra breeze from a bee blower accelerates the action. As for blowers, I like a 2kw Honda generator and a Toro electric lawn blower.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Burke, SD, USA
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: The secret to fume boards

    Quote Originally Posted by jjgbee View Post
    Spilt supering is definatly the way to go if the bees are not a hundred miles from home. Another tool I used was a 6 5/8 box with 1/16 in felt sandwiched between 2 pices of 1/8 in hardware cloth and a 1 inch rim attached to the bottom. The top of this box has a 6 in diameter hole cut in it and a 6in kd elbow on top of that. The lid has hinges and the elbow is stored inside for transport. To use this tool, put bee go on the felt and point the elbow into the prevailing breeze. This tool especially does the trick if your day turns cool. I would pull the fume board and use this tool for final cleanout. Bees will leave when this device is used instantly. A little extra breeze from a bee blower accelerates the action. As for blowers, I like a 2kw Honda generator and a Toro electric lawn blower.
    Because of the constant wind in SD we use these about half the time pulling honey. We call them Turbo fume pads because they work so fast. I know of another beekeeper in my area that with a 3 man crew pulled an entire semi-load of honey in one day with these.

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