There are many ways to move the bees off of the honey frames when harvesting honey. Here are some of the methods:
– Fume Board:This is my preferred method when I want to harvest honey from a super full of bees. If it’s just a frame or two then I would just shake and brush. Using a fume board and Fischer’s Bee-Quick is as easy as it gets. You don’t even need to buy a fume board. I’ve used a flat plywood cover and it works just as good, just make sure the Bee-Quick does not get onto the bees.
Lightly spray Fischer’s Bee Quick onto the entire fume board and place on top of the honey super you are harvesting. If there’s a ton of bees you can always put an empty super below it first so the bees can move into an empty box instead of crowding in the next box that’s probably already full of bees. On sunny days the vaporization of the Bee Quick will be faster but what I found that if your hive is in the shade, spray the fume board and leave it in the sun for a few minutes to heat up before placing it on top of the super. Also, you can put your bottle of Be-Quick in the sun to warm it up before spraying. I do this when I use Bee-Quick in bee removals to be more effective.
After placing the fume board on top, wait for about 8-15 minutes. You can check to see if the bees have vacated or not. Do not leave it on for too long or you can cause the colony to swarm! After you’ve noticed most bees have left the honey super, remove fume board and remove super, then it’s honey harvest time.
I used to ask my coworker who lives in Fresno to buy Fischer’s Bee Quick for me from Dadant. But lucky us, Mann Lake now sells Bee Quick. Just noticed it in the new Spring 2012 Mann Lake catalog that arrived last week. And it’s free shipping everytime for me since I order $100+ . A gallon will last you for MANY years (maybe too many!). I recommend buying the small 8 oz bottle.
Mann Lake Fischer’s Bee-Quick: http://www.mannlakeltd.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=page59#DC-155
Note: Mann Lake also sells Honey Robber but that’s supposed to be toxic! Bee Quick is supposed to be a natural non-toxic chemical.
– Bee Escape: Purchase an inner cover with a rectangular cut out in the center. Snap on the bee escape making sure its on the right direction where it allows bees to leave the honey super but not return. Place inner cover with bee escape between the honey super you want to harvest and the next box 24 hours prior to honey harvesting. By the time you go to harvest your honey most of the bees should have vacated. Brush the remaining bees off.
– Triangle Bee Escape: Same method as above but supposed to be much more effective.
– Bee Blower and Shake & Brush: Ok, these two methods I do not recommend unless it’s just a couple of frames. Blowing the bees off, shaking & brushing the bees, will not make the bees happy. If your neighbors are nearby, this could be an issue. You will have pissy bees for a few days if you use these methods.