Until a few years ago I used Bee-go on my fume boards to harvest honey supers. Some people say it smells like vomit, but it never bothered me. I guess over the years I got use to it. The only complaint I had is that the fumes would sometimes burn my eyes. It’s a very effective product, but has become difficult to find. Three years ago I switched to Honey Robber. Even though it has the same active ingredient (butyric anhydride) as Bee-go it doesn’t work as well. In searching for alternative products I came across Honey Bandit with its claim to work better than Honey Robber so I purchased a bottle and decided to put it to the test.
It was the first Saturday in September and the final day I would be pulling honey supers for the season. It was a sunny day with temperatures climbing into the 80s. I decided to run this test on the first bee yard I would visit which had about fifty hives. I identified two pallets to began my test. I prepared four fume boards with Honey Robber and four with Honey Bandit. As I unpacked the Honey Bandit and began to apply it to the fume boards I noticed a much more pleasant smell about it. The best way to describe it is a strong artificial candy smell. Not wanting to give away their trade secrets, the active ingredient in Honey Bandit is not listed. The only issue I had was the spray nozzle didn’t work well. I prefer the dribble system on the Honey Robber bottle.
I placed the four fume boards with Honey Robber on the hives of the first pallet and the boards with the Honey Bandit on the hives of the second pallet. I waited the recommended five minutes and checked all eight hives to discover all eight supers were ready to pull off. Once I completed these eight hives I then moved the Honey Robber fume boards to pallet three and the Honey Bandit boards to pallet four. I repeated the process until the bee yard was complete.
I came to the conclusion, in my one bee yard experiment, that both products performed with the same effectiveness. The up side with using Honey Bandit is the pleasant smell and knowing that its made from food grade ingredients. The down side is that it cost about $7.00 more per quart than Honey Robber.
If you are concerned about price then stay with Honey Robber. It’s been a proven product for many years. I am interested in switching to Honey Bandit, but I want to do a little more testing next summer before making the switch. The real test for these products is how well they work on a day with cloudy and cool conditions.