Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
They say there are no stupid questions so let me pull that litmus paper out on this one: Is there some reason I should not use my beebrush to brush bees away on brood frames to get a better visualization during inspection? I've seen online that other people shake the bees down into the box. I'm uncomfortable doing that as my hives are still so new, and I don't have strong confidence in spotting the queen or knowing whether she is on a frame or not. I'd prefer to use my brush to move bees aside, I just want to make sure that wont damage uncapped larvae/egg cells. Thanks everyone!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
958 Posts
Yes you can get bees off with the bee brush, or goose, Turkey feathers. I like to spot the queen, remover her, then shake them off in to box. Bees generally don't like bee brushes much. A large feather that is stiff works best. Shaking bees off to me works best, and they are eager to get back into hive. Less chance in my opinion to damage anything. If ya wear a veil or bee jacket, shouldn't have any problem. Spotting queens gets easier over time, just scan the frame, and you will train your eye over time. If ya look over every bee on the frame, ya may never find her. Scan fast, and rotate frame over. Your eye will spot her faster that way. A pass or 2 over the frame works most of the time. Also, a packed frame is hard to spot just don't rush, it will come to you. Rich...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,313 Posts
They say there are no stupid questions so let me pull that litmus paper out on this one: Is there some reason I should not use my beebrush to brush bees away on brood frames to get a better visualization during inspection? I've seen online that other people shake the bees down into the box. I'm uncomfortable doing that as my hives are still so new, and I don't have strong confidence in spotting the queen or knowing whether she is on a frame or not. I'd prefer to use my brush to move bees aside, I just want to make sure that wont damage uncapped larvae/egg cells. Thanks everyone!!
When I first read your post I thought you were talking about removing the bees from the comb - then I read it again, and you appear to be asking about just getting a better view of part of the comb ? (hence the embolden words above)

If it's the latter - then the easiest method of moving bees away from the area of interest is to simply touch them gently with a finger - they'll then obligingly move away to one side - for a very short time - but that might be enough for your purposes.

With some colonies I can gently blow on a comb for them to move away, but with others that will cause an uproar - so this is not recommended unless you know that particular colony's behaviour (and are aware of what you might have been eating recently !).

I used to use a pukka bee-brush, but gradually began to notice that some bees would become entangled in it and started attacking the bristles. By chance one day I mislaid that brush and began using a new 2" paint-brush which has firmer bristles than the bee-brush had - and the bees seemed much happier with me using this, and so that's what I've continued to use.
LJ
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,363 Posts
Hi Black Dog, if you accidentally brushed the queen she could be damaged, to me, brushing brood combs is too risky.

Learn to shake bees off a comb. To do it, remove a comb or two, perhaps from the edge of the box, then using your hive tool push the frames apart at the middle of the box to make a gap at least one frame wide. Then take out the next frame so the gap is now 2 frames wide, hold the frame in the middle of the gap and give it a good downwards shake. Important that the frame is held low enough into the box that no bees end up outside the hive, they all get shaken into the box. And that the frame does not touch the frame on either side, so that no bees or the queen are damaged.

It is not necessary to get all the bees off the frame, you will still get a good view if you just get most of them off.

Little Johns comment about the brush making the bees angry is a good one. If using a brush it is unavoidable it will collect alarm and sting pheremone, and bees will start attacking it, the more you use it the angrier they get. I gave up on bee brushes years ago.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,055 Posts
Blowing on the frame gives you a rather small and short window but usually you only need to verify eggs and healthy brood. If you are inspecting for started cells or suspicion of EFB, etc., you need to clean the field of view better. I pull a frame and hold it by one ear with other end on top of other frames and smoke the bees down off the comb.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,926 Posts
Anybody try to take a frame of young brood for grafting without brushing off all the nurse bees? How about harvesting your queen cells on the 10 th day, sure when brushing frames I always try to make sure that there is no queen on the frames. When searching for swarm cells sometimes the frames in the lowest brood box are so full of bees that you cannot see any part of the frame and If I have already found the queen I will shake off excess bees to look for swarm cells. You got to do what you got to do, just do it gently.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,260 Posts
.... began using a new 2" paint-brush which has firmer bristles than the bee-brush had - and the bees seemed much happier with me using this, and so that's what I've continued to use.
LJ
Actually, synthetic paint brush works well, better than fine natural fibers (and still much more gentle than the fingers).
Synthetic fibers are thick and smooth, and bees do not get tangled in them, hence do not get irritated.
Brushes cut at an angle are pretty convenient too.
The most worthless and cheap synthetic paint brushes (for painting) actually pretty good around bees.

I think the real issue is that during the old times there were NO synthetic paint brushes to compare to.

To clear the entire frame - shake them off and be done.
 

·
Registered
5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
Joined
·
1,997 Posts
For me, the brush could roll / damage the queen, I shake. However be aware shaking frames with queen cells in not advised, they are fragile when partially developed. If you are cutting them out no worries, as damage before squish is not different to just squish,, if you wish to use them I would not shake. I do brush around the rim before placing the lid or next box but that is about it. I find also once honey is in the boxes the brush gets sticky fast, with honey and brood parts.
GG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
746 Posts
Best way to create a little space on a frame is just to gently pat the nurse bees with an open palm. They'll scatter to the side and let you see the comb. Easiest to do this if you're not wearing thick leather gloves but rather bare hands or using thin nitrile gloves.

Best bee brush hands down is a turkey feather. I use them to clean bees off frames when harvesting.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,016 Posts
I do prefer "pounding bees" to brushing them, but if you are going to brush then you need to do it with a sharp flick. Do NOT try to brush them gently. This will only make them hold on tighter and get angry. Removing bees is all about surprise. But I do not remove bees to examine brood. I just blow (if I'm wearing a veil). Most bees will move aside. Some will hit your veil... those you don't want to blow on anymore...
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top