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Last couple years I only had a few boxes to harvest. So I went frame by frame and removed all the bees before bringing a cleared box in for crushing and straining. This year my recent inspections show that we have 12+ boxes I will have to clear the bees from before the processing can begin. I've got a few different bottles of Be Go, Be Gone, and some other concoctions that I don't want to use this year. I want the bees to leave the honeycomb some other way. I don't want to use the leaf blower either.

Can I take the capped honey off the hives a few days before the harvesting session? Will the bees on the comb eventually leave the comb and fly back to their hives? How can I harvest without fuming, brushing or blowing all the bees off the honeycomb?
 

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Holy cow. What a gold mine! I will read everything there and will report back if I need answers. Thanks, Rader Sidetrack.
 

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If it is solid capped honey and no brood the bees will leave but the problem might be is the queen in the box. I have an escape board but haven't had success with it yet. I am told it needs to be used while the flow is still going. Does anyone know why the bees would be hanging around the frames that are totally capped? What do they do?
Has anyone tried putting a box of empty drawn frames under the capped honey for a day to see if it limits the number of bees in the box of capped honey?
 

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HiveMind,

i built about a half dozen triangular bee escapes (also called vortex bee escapes) and worst case is in 24 hours or less all but a hand full of the bees are gone. Some say that they don't work but I've always had success with them.

Steve
 

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What about abandonment, where you pull honey supers just before dark and place them on end. The bees go back to the hive and you carry your mostly empty supers to the house. Tried this last year and it worked pretty well.
 

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Does someone have plans of escape boards they make that they can post?
 

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How it is possible to be a beekeeper with Internet access and not know about bee escape methods and the types available eludes me. These work extremely well. Someone please explain how this is possible.
As for removing the bees it is very, very very simple. Put a box 5' or 2' or 1' from the hive you are removing supers from. Take the honey super(s) off the hive, remove a frame at a time from the honey super(s) and shake the bees into the brood chamber/hive bodies. Put the frames of honey in the box mentioned earlier and repeat. So long as there is a nectar flow the bees will show very little interest in ripe honey. I've extracted during the day with the shop doors wide open during a flow and never had any problems with bees going nuts as they do if there is no nectar. Just yesterday I discovered a frame that I had left laying next to a hive. It was 1/2 honey and 1/2 drone comb and I was going to freeze it but forgot. It was there for two full days and has a few bees walking around on it and the honey wasn't touched as best as I could tell.
With no flow things I mentioned would be an unmanageable robbing nightmare. YMMV but harvesting honey before the flow starts to ebb makes extracting sooooo much easier IMO.
What's the aversion to using a blower? I also do not like the fume boards as they have never driven the bees down reliably AND they really stink to my nose. I've used only the almond smelling type and it is so sweet and over powering.
 

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if ur in a flow and want to use the escape, add an empty or drawn super under the one u are pulling so they can keep storing. otherwise they might back fill the brood chamber.
 

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How it is possible to be a beekeeper with Internet access and not know about bee escape methods and the types available eludes me.
Most people don't know everything when they first start. It takes years to approach that goal.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Are you familiar with escape boards? Lots of info here:

http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/clearerboards.html
I read most of the escape board designs at the link above. One of the vortex write-ups had a tip that recommended taking the honey supers off the hive and setting them on a platform a few feet behind the hive with the bee escape on the honey. It said within 48hrs almost all of the bees will be off of the honey and foraging back at the original hive location.

I like this idea. The downside is that it requires two trips to that yard. Currently my only yard is my back yard. But I've got other out yards I've lined up for when I need to expand. So I'm still interested in several of the other posts above this one. I was surprised to learn you can leave boxes of cured honey out in the open and don't have to worry about robbing as long as you're in the middle of a good flow.

I may forgo the escape board concept and just bring all the honey supers over to my wood shop. Leave the roll top door wide open all day for a couple of days (close & lock the roll top door at night to protect my harvest). Will the foragers just fly out, forage, and return to the hive? Sounds plausible. Anyone think this is a bad idea?
 

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One of the vortex write-ups had a tip that recommended taking the honey supers off the hive and setting them on a platform a few feet behind the hive with the bee escape on the honey.
Here is the problem, (same as not using an escape board) the bees in the super are not all foragers. The foragers bring the nectar to young bees that then put the honey in the cells. So two things happen. The young bees don't leave and when they do they orient to the supers instead of the original hive location.

I did get this method to work once and I think it worked because of the timing. Early evening I removed the top super after smoking it and brought it to the house. There was another full super below the one I took off. The very next morning it was empty and I move the super in the house.
 

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The young bees don't leave and when they do they orient to the supers instead of the original hive location.
:scratch: :s
If the bees 'don't leave' then how can they orient? :scratch:




The whole point of the escape board is to prevent the bees from getting back into the boxes protected by the escape board (exit only).
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ah thanks, Acebird and RaderSidetrack. I think I'm starting to get it now. The foragers are easy to remove. Just block them with an escape board. The young bees receiving nectar from foragers and curing honey will become foragers in about 2 weeks and leave as well. Then you'll have bee-free honey supers. This sounds like airtight logic.

But putting on an escape board after almost all honey is capped and waiting another 2 weeks feels too drawn out of a process.

RaderSidetrack, is this more or less close to what you do?
 

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The technique is outlined on the page I linked earlier ...

The technique is simple... A quantity of escape boards (at least one per colony) is taken to the apiary and they are positioned under the supers to be removed. Start at one end of the apiary and proceed to the other fitting boards as you go. When you have reached the last one... Return to the starting point and remove the supers (a blower or brush is useful here) The supers will not be entirely empty, but the majority of bees will have left.

http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/clearerboards.html
I don't have lots of hives, but they are all on my property, so two trips (or just waiting) is no issue for me.
 

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But putting on an escape board after almost all honey is capped and waiting another 2 weeks feels too drawn out of a process.
They will probably leave before two weeks to poop but they don't leave every day like the foragers do. At any rate removing supers from a hive should not be done during a dearth because it makes them targets for robbing. I would also recommend if you have more than one hive to do it one hive at a time.
 
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