Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

Using a blower to clear bees

Does anyone here uses a blower to clear bees? I have a blower like the one below and was wondering how safe it is to use to clear bees from the Flow frames so I can harvest off the hive.

I did some research and the first video on google was this burly guy using a petrol leaf blower to clear bees from his super. Surely this is unethical and a crude way risking the killing of bees…?

The blower I have has three settings and I can further control the speed through the trigger. I love my bees and don’t want to hurt them.

Advice appreciated.

images

@Peter48 uses one, beats using your own breath…

2 Likes

Hi Z, I have one but don’t like using it. Yes it does blow the bees away but I’m sure they don’t like it. Whether it injures any bees I can’t tell, but I think it any bees are blown away and hit something hard, it can’t be good for the bees. Collateral damage which I think can be avoided. Always blow the bees up in the air.

I found that bees will soon find the frames that I cleared so you have to keep them in a sealed box, and ideally you do it away from the hive.

1 Like

You can develop a knack for shaking bees off frames. I wouldn’t waste my time with a blower.

1 Like

I have been using my battery powered blower and find you can gently clear the bees off frame quickly. Sure the bees won’t like it happening, they would rather stay on the frame. Using a brush it seems the bees just want to get back on the frame but using a blower the bees loose interest in that idea. Blowing the bees off a frame doesn’t harm them in any way, it merely clears them off the frame. It is up to the bee keeper to use the blower properly and it done right it won’t harm the bees and will be a time effective way of clearing frames.
Cheers

2 Likes

OK thanks all. I already have one in the shed and I might just give it a go. Thanks for all the tips.

I normally shake the bees off, but there’s always the last 5%,and I never liked the brush.

1 Like

My hand blower is an Ozito and found the best results is using it with none of the nozzles fitted and about 20/30 cm’s from the frame. It seems a gentle breeze with make the bees fly off, even bees working in cells they will come out to find what the draft is about over their back-side.
Using a brush to clear a frame, well, my brush is in my bee junk box. :smile:
Cheers

I’ve got one of those and will occasionally use it but it certainly puts a lot of bees in the air. You maybe better off using a clearer board in an urban environment.

1 Like

A clearing board is the better option if you want to empty a box of frames of bees. I use mine after adding a box of stickies under it so the bees will still have work to do and to prevent over crowding of the hive.
A good tip Adam.
Cheers

With that last 5% of bees I hold the frame with one hand, then bump the top of the frame with the other hand (with gloves on) to dislodge the rest of the bees. If you stand the frames up somewhere for 30 minutes, you’ll find very few bees left on the frames anyway. They are easy to shake/bump off onto the ground near the entrance.

PS. I thought this video might show my method, however that part is sped up. I’ll have to find a different video.


cheers
1 Like

In parts of the world where honeyflows justify total super removal instead of individual frame removal, and where the beekeeper has more than a few hives, a bee blower is an indispensable piece of equipment.

These leaf blowers are becoming very inexpensive and operate so well compared to previous models. And the correct specifications are important…i.e. cfm (cubic feet/minute) and air velocity. Using anything less than the output labeled on the blower photo below will result in sacrificing effectiveness…cost $245.00 on sale at HomeDepot.

With regards to damage to the bee workforce, that can be eliminated by blowing them on to a grassy surface not far from the hive entrance. When dealing with a full super of bees, it’s very easy when first starting to blow (from the underside of the frames) to have bees inadvertently blow back towards you and then falling on the grass where you are standing…it’s easy to crush them underfoot if you are not careful.

If your supers don’t have metal frame spacers installed, the process becomes more difficult because the frames slop around in the super when you stand them on end to be blown out. This leaning of one frame on another also may crush bees.

In my case, the bee blower allows the process of honey removal to proceed quickly…so the honey is gone before the natural aggressive instinct of the hive or total apiary is triggered. This is so important to keep your bees passive all season and so improves the enjoyment of beekeeping.

My preference is to use an electric powered leaf blower but the high-end model I recently tried couldn’t compare to the blower shown in the photo above.

1 Like

Nice video Jeff. 1.5hrs to manually extract 20Kg is not bad. It definitely takes me more than that to extract 20kg from the flow frames, but it is less messy, and most of it is just waiting for the slow draining process.

Hi Olly, thanks. After doing the same thing for over 30 years, the mess is basically non existent. Then there is the peace of mind factor which I probably took for granted until just over 5 years ago.

That video 5 years ago was to show that putting on a bee suit, lighting a smoker, removing frames, removing bees off frames, heavy lifting, de-capping the frames, extracting the honey, replacing the frames, cleaning up the mess, etc wasn’t all that much of a chore or a big deal.

1 Like

I see that powerful leaf blowers are now more commonly used in industrial bee keeping, but my concern still remains regarding the welfare of the bees themselves.

Cheers Jeff for that - I missed your updated post and the video you posted. My next hive will probably be a standard one and it’s great to get an insight on how you work.

1 Like

The one I use is a battery powered dust blower, the battery gives me about 3 days use. I guess some logical care is needed in using it like not blowing the bees into a brick wall but blowing them into the air doesn’t harm them in any way. The bees fly back to the hive entrance and not back onto the frame as happens using a brush.
For me it is fastest way for clearing the bees of a frame of honey, if it wasn’t it would be in my ‘bee gear junk boxes’.
Cheers

Thanks Pete, that is very similar to the one I have, and am much less reluctant to use that than a massive leaf blower. Next weekend I’ll give it a go… if the virus won’t get me by then.

1 Like