Ways to Remove Bees from Supers
Let’s face it, one of the greatest parts of beekeeping is “Honey Extraction"! Having said that, it’s also a LOT of work! The first step in that process is to remove the bees from the honey supers! Fortunately, beekeepers have several choices!
No doubt the cheapest method of all: simply take an extra empty box with lid and a bee brush. As you brush bees off each frame, place that frame in the spare box, return the lid and move on to the next one! Before you know it, you have pulled all of your frames and it costs you basically nothing!
Utilizing a Bee Escape is probably one of the least used methods due to the time it takes to work. But don’t discount the process. If you’ve got the time (24 - 48 hours), it’s a very effective way to vacate the bees from your supers. Simply install and walk away. Basically, the bees can get out – but can’t get back in. To read more about this method from Bee Informed Partnership’s Dan Wyns CLICK HERE.
This method is “most common” for commercial, sideliner and hobby beekeepers. The reason? The speed of the process! Home-made versions have been used for years, but thanks to bee suppliers, a “solar” fume board holds the market. This fume board relies on sun generated heat to activate the odor emitted from products such as Honey Bandit (smells good) or Honey Robber (smells bad). Simply spray (apply) the product to the under side of the lid that is covered in felt, place on your hive (in the sun) and within 5 -10 minutes your bees have vacated the supers! Very fast… very easy!
BLOW THE BEES
Crazy as it sounds… one of the methods to remove bees from supers is by blowing them out with a leaf blower! It’s actually safe and rather quick! If you had to purchase the blower it would put this method in the most expensive category, but being that most of us already have one, it’s definitely an option. This method is done by removing the super, standing it on end and blowing the bees out of the box. As you complete a box, cover it with a lid and move on to the next! Enjoy the fun video from Bee Informed Partnership showing the blow method in “slo-mo”.
SMOKING THE BEES
Absolutely NOT a method! Yes, it will vacate the bees from the supers, but what you are left with is a “smoky” tang to your honey… and not the good kind.
Regardless the method you choose, be prepared for a straggler or two to make her way home with you. Not to worry though… these girls are so busy feasting on the honey, they have little interest in stinging you. As always – extracting your honey very soon after removing them will ensure fresh, pest free honey ready for you and your customers!