Brushing bees off honey frames I’m about to pilfer isn’t fun for anyone. The bees get testy, I get buzzed, and by the time I’ve cleared bees off all the frames in a box, everyone’s beyond foul in mood. Waiter, make that a double!
That’s why I simply adore the bee escape, aka “clearer board”. What is a bee escape, you ask? It’s essentially a one-way valve that allows bees to leave but doesn’t let ’em back in. Perfect for clearing a box of honey with minimal stress to me and the bees.
So how do you use it? Oh do allow me, darlings.
How to use a Bee Escape or Clearer Board
- Buy a few bee escapes (either Porter style or triangle style). Insert the bee escapes in the hole in an inner cover or just buy one already constructed.
- The day before you want to harvest honey, put the bee escape board beneath the box of honey to harvest. (Between the box to harvest and the box(es) to leave.)
- Leave overnight. In places like Albuquerque with cool evening temps, the bees will descend into the brood boxes to keep brood warm.
- The next morning, none of the bees will be able to pass up into the honey super thanks to the ingenious bee escape.
- It’s honey day! Come back to your hive and pull off the honey super. Be sure to smoke the box in case there are a few remaining bees.
- Remove the honey super, remove the bee escape and close up your hive.
- In humid climes where evening temps don’t drop, you may have a larger number of remaining bees. Be sure to smoke or brush off the bees. Or, try using the Triangle escape. If that doesn’t work, go hard-core with the Vortex Escape.
- If you’re using the old-skool Porter escape (which works just fine in Albuquerque), consider adding 2-3 escapes per board. This clears the box more quickly.