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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I had 150 hives in the 60s and 70s, discontinued for a number of years and acquiring the interest again, but we used benzaldehyde to drive the bees out of honey supers before bringing them home for extracting. Is this chemical still used? If so, where can it be purchased? If not, what is used today to drive the honeybees out versus just brushing the bees of the frames.

Thanks
lute1812
 

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I used Benzaldehyde for years too. Used to buy it in Canada, buying their stock after Canada banned it. At the time it was still legal in the US. I think it still is. Don't know who sells it. I use BeeGo now. While the smell gets pretty foul, especially if you use too much, I think it's a safer product. I remember talking to John Craighead…former co-owner of FW Jones and Son Ltd. As benz. evaporates it leaves crystals behind. These grow into small stalactites and break off falling down into the super. Not good. That's why he and the panel recommended ending using benz. BeeGo doesn't leave crystals behind.

I also know someone who uses carbolic acid. Claims it works better than BeeGo and leaves no smell, but the sun has to be shining to heat up the fume board.
 

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We used to use carbolic and "benny" back in the day. Carbolic would quit on you I'd it was cool or cloudy at all. benzaldehyde smelled pretty good (we used to call it cherry juice) but would stun bees if it was sunny or very hot. The crystallization Mike talks about is what really turned me off about it. If it got in the air by any means you would immediately feel it in your lungs....not good. Beego (or honey robber or the like) appropriately handled is really your best option. Haven't heard of Benzaldehyde being used in years, I assume it is no longer legal.
 

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Benzaldehyde is a major component of almond oil, so that is one source. When exposed to air, benzaldehyde (a liquid) converts to benzoic acid (a solid), which is likely what those stalactites were.

Benzaldehyde can be used to make a variety of recreational substances so its use is controlled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks. I also liked the cherry smell and doing some internet searches I couldn't find anything, but this was common usage in the 60s and 70s, so I'll have to go with Beego.
 

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> Is this chemical still used? If so, where can it be purchased?

Benzaldehyde smells just like Bee Quick and the several knockoffs of it. It also smells like artificial almond extract. It also smells like maraschino cherries. I think you'll find all of the main bee suppliers have some version of it.
 

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I used BeeGo and tried Carbolic Acid and Benzaldehyde and all work well back in the day.
Garden blower is what I use now. Carbolic Acid and Benzaldehyde are made with Benzene a known Cancer causing agent.
During Civil War, surgeons used Carbolic Acid(Phenol) for antiseptic. I used to load the pure stuff in trucks and Tank Cars and we had to wear chemical suits as a pie pan coverage on your torso caused death by soaking in through skin. A few drops on exposed skin would burn like hell. But, that's the main ingredient in Aspirins and plywood glues. Chemistry is majic to me!! how you can make something good out of something so bad.
No way any more or how or even as a last resort would I use any chems to drive the bees out.
Brush and blower is my preferred way.
 

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>But, that's the main ingredient in Aspirins...

I'm not sure I'd call it an "ingredient". Aspirin has a benzene ring, as does phenol (carbolic acid) and benzaldehyde, but they are all different molocules (different ingredients) and all have different active portions of the molocule attached to the ring. I can't post pictures of them easily but there are some good pictures where ou can see their similarities, as you have pointed out, here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asprin
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salicylic_acid
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbolic_acid
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzaldehyde
 

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Too complicated for me and how something good comes out of something bad is chemistry or magic!!
But, no I would not use them to harvest honey at all. Leaf blower back pack carried is awful handy and with the right nozzle it does a job calming and getting the bees out of supers. Or if you just have a few hives a good shake will work also but can play havoc on full frames of honey.
 
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