Pulling Honey with Fume Boards

I have heard several different terms over the years such as “jerking honey” and “robbing the honey”. Call it what you will, pulling honey is the most labor intensive work you will do as a beekeeper. I know that some natural beekeepers are against the use of fume boards, but they are one of the most time effective methods of removing the bees from the honey super.

For generations our family always used the standard fume board, which relies on the sun to heat up, forcing the fumes down into the honey super.  We called them Bee-Go pads.  Since then I have switched to Honey Robber and the smell is much more tolerable.  These types of fume boards are very effective when the temperature is hot and the sun is shining directly on top of the boards.

Sun Fume Board

Sun Fume Board

The summer after I finished high school, I spent four weeks in South Dakota working with a commercial beekeeper.  While there I was introduce to a new type of fume board that uses the wind to push the Honey Robber fumes down into the super.  It is made from a shallow super, burlap, plywood and a four inch PVC pipe.

Wind Fume Board Bottom

Bottom of fume board has a piece of burlap secured with a 1/2 in thick wood border.

Wind Fume Board Top

Top of fume board has a 1/2 inch piece of plywood with a 4 inch hole cutout.

Wind Fume Board with Pipe

Wind fume board on top of hive

These boards work great as long as there is a breeze, even when it’s cloudy an cool or in the shade.  Just position it so the wind blows directly down the pipe.  To check which way the wind is traveling I look at the direction the smoke from the bee smoker is blowing.

It is also important to smoke the top of the honey super before putting on the fume boards.  I have observed that some of the bees will become paralyzed or drunk if they are too close to the fume board and won’t leave the super.  When using the wind fume boards, I have found it effective to puff the smoke into the pipe.

Other items I take to pull honey are honey trays and a tarp.  The honey trays help keep the truck bed clean and allow me to move the stacks of supers into my warehouse with a dolly.  I always put a tarp on top of the stacks of supers when tying the truck.  This helps keep the honey dry if it rains, as well as, preventing the bees from robbing the truck when I visit multiple yards in the same day.

Honey Tray

Honey Tray

Honey Supers on Truck

94 honey supers pulled in one afternoon.


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