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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Stone City, Iowa
    Posts
    215

    Default The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    I would like to tell my method of harvesting honey for those that may be interested. Not practical for large operations, but works for me. I place a empty super with lid next to the hive. Smoke the hive lightly. Break a leafy small branch off a nearby tree or bush. Open the hive and start removing capped frames, using the branch to brush the bees off the frame at the front of the hive. Once all bees are off, pop into empty box, cover back up with lid. Continue as above until done with that hive. Remove empty super from hive when done, or if robbing just a few frames, replace with empty or drawn frames when you are done (Don't do what I did once - "Ooops! forgot frames! I'll just close them up without, and come back later." Then forget.) If you are replacing with undrawn frames place to the outside of any started frames, don't alternate or you will end up with huge fat capped frames and either undrawn or really skinny capped frames.

    For some reason the branch upsets the bees a lot less than shaking them off, or brushing them off with a brush. I don't have any problems unless I drop a frame or something similar, even then if I back off momentarily they will usually calm back down. I have tried all three multiple times at the same hives to check if I was crazy or not, but it seems to be universal. Don't know why, but I just go with it.

    JC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Marietta, OH
    Posts
    154

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    I will try this next month

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Cumberland Va.
    Posts
    1,043

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    I use the branch method, only mine is called the Spring Gobbler wing feather method.G

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,203

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    I guess I've used the "goose feather" method, the "chicken wing" method, the "hand full of grass" method, the "bee brush" method, the "branch" method and the "pounding bees" method... The "pounding bees" method works best if you have old solid brood comb. Any of the brushing methods work better if not. None of the brushing methods work well unless you learn to be decisive and get a good flicking motion going...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    tacoma, wa. usa
    Posts
    157

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I guess I've used the "goose feather" method, the "chicken wing" method, the "hand full of grass" method, the "bee brush" method, the "branch" method and the "pounding bees" method... The "pounding bees" method works best if you have old solid brood comb. Any of the brushing methods work better if not. None of the brushing methods work well unless you learn to be decisive and get a good flicking motion going...
    ...and flick "up" not down...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Bowie, Maryland
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    An extra piece that can come handy for a single person operation - make a foot pedal operated lid, sort of like a square trash can. Foot lever on the side and hinges for the lid.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Stone City, Iowa
    Posts
    215

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    Michael, you're right, it is a decisive flick, not a slow brush. I think they hate being rolled. I run foundationless now, probably why shaking them off doesn't work for me, I am too hesitant, because I am afraid of damaging the comb. And gjt? I love it! Have to build me one! Got plans?

    JC

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Saint Clair, Pa USA
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    I use the 5 gal. shop vac method. I reverse the hose so it blows out. Take the super and stand it on it's side and just blow the bees out. It takes about 10 min. to get them all out and it doesn't seem to hurt them. Grab the super and walk away, they don't follow. My hives are close to a power source so this works for me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,194

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    Commonly done w/ goldenrod years ago.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Cumberland Va.
    Posts
    1,043

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    Quote Originally Posted by green2btree View Post
    Michael, you're right, it is a decisive flick, not a slow brush. I think they hate being rolled. I run foundationless now, probably why shaking them off doesn't work for me, I am too hesitant, because I am afraid of damaging the comb. And gjt? I love it! Have to build me one! Got plans?

    JC
    X2, learned the flick by mistake, now its a staple. Trying to be gentle often times seems rougher than being decisive. G

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,545

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    Anybody try a shoe polisher?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,203

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    >Trying to be gentle often times seems rougher than being decisive

    When trying to get bees off of combs, being gentle is always rougher than being decisive.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,545

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    Quote Originally Posted by biggraham610 View Post
    X2, learned the flick by mistake, now its a staple.
    Can someone point out a link to utube on how to do this flick?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,194

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Anybody try a shoe polisher?
    Huh?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,545

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Huh?
    It is like a rotary brush driven by a motor.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,194

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    Thought maybe that was what you were talking about. Can't imagine anything going wrong there, can you? Imagine the extension cord or battery pack.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,545

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    I was just trying to think of something that would have a constant upward flick.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,182

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    As a public service, here is a photo of a variety of shoe buffer/polishers ....

    photo credit
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,194

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    May I suggest thinking about something w/ practical application? Something that anyone could do when harvesting honey?

    Graham, u r so helpful.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,182

    Default Re: The "Branch" method of harvesting honey

    If you want to use a 'plug-in' appliance, how about one of these instead?

    photo credit
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

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