The Ceracell Great Escape
Advantages of Using a Bee Escape/Clearer Board
It is important to remove the bees from the honey supers before you transport the supers to your extraction room. For commercial operators, it is actually a requirement to have zero bees in the extraction room for food purity reasons. For hobbyists, it is important to minimise the annoyance of having bees flying around your ears while you are trying to uncap comb and spin out the honey.
There are a number of ways of removing the bees from the honey supers before transportation.
One way is to blow the bees out of the honey supers. The advantage of this method is that you only need to visit the apiary once to get the honey supers. The disadvantages are that every box needs to be blown out, so there is more handling involved. You also need blowers, which can be expensive, and which need fuel and maintenance. You also end up filling the apiary with flying angry bees! There is inevitably a race to get the supers on a truck or trailer, and then wrapped, before the bees get back in. It is physically demanding work.
Another way is to use fumes or a fume board. The advantage again is that you only need to visit the apiary once. However, in New Zealand at least, this practice has virtually stopped, because the main chemical used is a precursor chemical for a number of illegal street drugs. There are very strict controls on its sale, and hence is difficult to obtain. Plus it really does smell bad!
The other way which is used by many beekeepers and almost all hobbyists is to use a bee escape/clearer board. The disadvantage is that you have to visit the apiary twice—once to put the board on the hive, and then a second time to remove the honey supers. The great advantage is that the apiary is not filled with angry bees, and the supers can be removed and wrapped with less of a panic.
Assembly and Use Instructions
- Remove the cones from the sprue by twisting or cutting them off.
- Turn your Great Escape® board upside down (all the writing on the board is on the bottom).
- Push the rectangular end of the cones into the rectangular holes until the little clips click into place.
- Repeat step 3 until all ten holes have a cone clipped into place.
That’s it! You are ready to use your Great Escape® to clear the bees from your honey supers.
When using your Great Escape®, make sure you consider the following tips and put your Great Escape® under the lowest level honey super you plan to remove. It is often advantageous to leave one honey super that is likely to be only partially filled or capped on top of the brood boxes, so put your Great Escape on top of this box and under the rest of the capped honey filled supers above. And make sure you put the board on right-side up! Remember the writing on the board is on the bottom, and the cones must be pointing to the bottom as well.
You should have 99.9% of all the bees out of the honey supers in less than 48 hours. All the best, and enjoy your beekeeping and that liquid gold.
Tips For Maximising the Success of Your Great Escape®
To have the greatest chance of successfully getting your bees out of the honey supers quickly, it is essential to understand bee behaviour.
When a honey flow is on, the bees are performing a number of specific functions. The oldest bees in the hive are out foraging, and bringing in nectar. Back at the hive, middle aged bees are acting as the store keepers and honey processors. These store keeper bees, greet the foraging bees at the hive entrance, and take their load of nectar. They then carry the nectar up to the honey supers and deposit it in wax cells. On the way they add stomach enzymes to cause the nectar sugars to start to change. With the nectar in the cells, they fan their wings to create air circulation to evaporate the excess water from the nectar. In quite short order these two things turn the high moisture nectar into low moisture honey. Once the honey gets below about 18% moisture, the honey is capped.
Meanwhile, the store keeper bees after depositing their load of nectar in a cell, return to the hive entrance to get another load. And so there is a continual circulation of bees up and down the hive in a mad rush to get as much nectar as possible stored and turned into honey. It is this circulation of bees that we exploit with our bee escape/clearer board to remove the bees from the honey supers.
To effectively remove the bees from the honey supers quickly (less than 48 hours) there needs to be a honey flow in progress. Without a honey flow, there is no need for the circulation of bees up and down the hive. So timing is critical, and having a bee escape/clearer board that has multiple avenues of escape for the bees and ensures they cannot easily return is extremely important.
This is where the Ceracell Great Escape® out performs all of its rivals. There is huge pheromone transfer with the whole board being an open bee-proof grid. This lets the bees know exactly which direction to go. It has ten cone escapes with the cones set in a deep wide channel and pointing at an ideal exit angle to minimise the possibility of any bees returning to the honey supers. There is depth underneath the escape giving the large number of escaping bees room to exit. In short, if timed to catch the end of a honey flow, you will clear your honey supers in 24 to 48 hours. It works!
© 2018 Ceracell Beekeeping Supplies (NZ) Ltd, Ceracell Pty Ltd, Ceracell USA LLC