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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
In preparation for the Spring harvest I researched and decided I liked the Abandonment method best for clearing honey supers. I just got done going through my hives and pulled 4 boxes off of 3 hives. I set the boxes on the ground next to the hive it used to be on. Now I'm inside watching the Sun set and I'm starting to worry.

I don't have a fence around my beehives. I did break a small section of honeycomb exposing honey so I could remove that frame to make sure it was capped. I'm worried all the various wild animals that traipse through my apiary at night will find these boxes and destroy them to eat the honey. I feel like I'm going to wake up tomorrow and some skunk or raccoon or something will have knocked over every box and clawed everything up eating honey. Or worse, attract a bear. I've got these boxes turned on end so the bees will evacuate and return to their hive. All that honey is exposed to the whole woods unprotected. What should I do?

Put them in the shed after dark? Wait till the morning and stop worrying?
 

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Don't be surprised to find robbing in your honey supers especially if your flow has slowed.

What other methods did you explore and what made you choose this one?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
l wanted passive clearing of supers. No chemicals/essential oils/leaf blowers.

I just got done taking the supers off the ground and setting them on top of their hives. Set on end so all frames are exposed. I'm less worried now. We shall see what happens.

Advice still appreciated.
 

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Get them into a protected area! Like...ASAP! The bees should have abandoned the supers by now. You will have a MESS in the morning! Ants...critters...bees robbing it back....

I am not a fan of aggressive extractions either.

Get those frames protected, or you will lose that harvest! I do not pull entire supers...I have empty boxes close by on an angle, and put the honey frames in them with space! I shake the majority of bees off, then place in the empty box. Maybe 7 frames per 10 frame box. The bees abandon it quickly. The harvest is in my kitchen, bee free, within 20 minutes of pulling.

Please, do NOT leave them out overnight! Disaster in the making!
 

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I've never tried that method, but if I did I wouldn't leave them out overnight for critters. Not to mention causing a robbing frenzy during light hours. I wonder if with temps as they are if the bees would leave even at dusk. They may just camp out. I am curious to know if all the bees left. You should go look now and let us know. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just went and looked. Intended to move them. But the bees are camping out. Its probably 78F outside. I know 100% there is no brood in these boxes. So they aren't staying because of brood. Sun is down now. And the bees did not abandon.

The supers are on end on top of the hives. I run top entrance. Are these bees not leaving because they aren't distant enough from their hives?
 

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HiveMind,
I have no experience with the Abandonment method, so can offer no meaningful opinion, short of I would share all your concerns and worries about leaving them out. However, I am curious, what's unappealing to you about the use of a product such as bee quick and a fume board?
 

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during a good flow, the bees will leave the boxes in hours. I will pull the boxes in the morning and pick them up in the evening.

if you only have a few hives, why not just shake them out? done and done
 

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I would recommend that next time you try shaking the bees from the frames with just 4 supers. They will crawl right back into the hive and you don't have your honey unprotectected and absorbing moisture from the atmosphere. 1 trip and you're done with no worries.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I shaked bees off in previous years. It's just so time consuming. Won't scale up like I want. Losing four capped boxes of honey would be a setback for sure though.

I tried a fume board last year and didn't get the cleared supers I was hoping for. I'm looking for a way that works and scales up.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It is forecast to get down to 73 tonight. Bees in Miami, I am not ignoring your wisdom. I may regret leaving these supers stacked on end on the hives. I will admit it if calamity occurs. I'm taking a calculated risk.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just checked the supers again. Bees still on them. Of course they are gravitating towards the top end of the on-end frames.
 

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how about leaving them on the hive for a day with an inner cover with a good old porter style bee escape and no top entrance. no critters, chemicals or robbing.
 

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I've used that method, but it never worked unless the temps got down into the 50's (pretty normal here). I lean the box against the hive entrance so that the bees can walk home even in the dark. I take the box off after sunset and pick it up before sunrise.
 

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I've found that placing a bee escape between the honey super I want to have cleared out and the next lower box will clear the box of bees within a day or so as they move down to go outside or other hive duties. I also prefer not to use fume boards or other chemical methods. I have had luck using the shake and brush methods but with more hives I find it easier to slip the escape and come back another day. Something to try maybe next time.
 

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I do not pull entire supers...I have empty boxes close by on an angle, and put the honey frames in them with space! I shake the majority of bees off, then place in the empty box.
This is the method I've used and found to work better than honey-b-gone (I also used no smoke so that the bees were not eager to gorge themselves with honey). I've never used a bee escape, but kenargo's method sounds promising!

The bees in the honey supers tend to be the young workers who have never left the hive, so they don't readily leave the supers.
 

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I've used that method, but it never worked unless the temps got down into the 50's (pretty normal here). I lean the box against the hive entrance so that the bees can walk home even in the dark. I take the box off after sunset and pick it up before sunrise.
Your location is in SC where the temperature is just too warm for this method to work; this method seems to work better in the northern climate. As others have pointed out, it is highly likely to attract robbing in the south even during the flow.

Best,
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for sharing your ideas and methods! I'm still listening and considering them.

Update: All 4 supers were still where I left them undisturbed. Bees were still on them. Numbers were down maybe 50% but there were still plenty of bees on the comb. I looked at each of the supers to see if there was any robbing going on. None so far.

I've read that as long as there is a flow on bees prefer nectar over cured honey. I'm hoping this means I won't have robbing today. Here's a photo of how I left the supers last evening:

Abandonment Method.jpg
 

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Fume board and Honey Bandit for me. Takes about 30 seconds to clear and no foul smell.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Fume board and Honey Bandit for me. Takes about 30 seconds to clear and no foul smell.
Honey Bandit looks very interesting. I didn't know about that product. 30 seconds to clear a whole super is awesome. In your experience does it clear 100% of the bees in a super? Or just the vast majority like most other products?
 
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