Back in the Spring when I wanted to take the OSR honey off some hives I had a real problem getting the bees to vacate the supers. Up until now I’ve always used a crown board fitted with Porter bee escapes, but despite having cleaned and adjusted them the bees just weren’t interested in leaving the supers. I also tried a friend’s clearer board which used cones at the centre and each corner, but that didn’t work well either.
So, for taking this Summer’s harvest I decided I’d try some other designs of clearer out. I bought a few of the rhombus clearers from Thorne and made up a board to suit:
The board is a piece of 18″ square 12mm ply, with 25mm “walls” on the bottom to give the bees a bit more space underneath and 12mm on the top. The hole in the middle is 38mm, purely because I happened to have a hole saw that size.
These worked quite well, the only problem being one where the supers turned out not to be entirely bee-tight. I’ll certainly give them a go again next year. I’d only bought three rhombus escapes and needed four new boards, so I also took a look around Dave Cushman’s beekeeping equipment plans and decided to have a go at making a square vortex-style escape:
Again the main board is 12mm ply with 25mm walls below and 12mm above, and the “vortex” is made from 6mm ply spaced so that a standard hexagonal section pencil would just rotate in the gaps. The 6mm ply was nailed and glued to the base. Once in place, I cut down a piece of mesh to fit over the top and fixed it in place using a staple gun. Again the central hole is 38mm.
This turned out to work exceptionally well and I’m very impressed with it. I shall definitely make up some more for next year and give up on the crown board/Porter escape combination altogether.