How Does a Fume Board Work?

How Does a Fume Board Work?

The first time I tried to harvest honey, I used a bee brush to remove bees from the honey frames after I removed the honey supers. I brushed and brushed the bees off, shook the frames, and got most of them off, but it was a long time spent clearing bees. 

The next time, my husband used his leaf blower to try to blow the bees away, and another time we tried putting the honey super in the back of our truck while we drove around. 

Then, we learned about a Fume Board. It’s a game changer, and it makes harvesting honey SO much easier.

The first time I tried to harvest honey, I used a bee brush to remove bees from the honey frames after I removed the honey supers. I brushed and brushed the bees off, shook the frames, and got most of them off, but it was a long time spent clearing bees. 

The next time, my husband used his leaf blower to try to blow the bees away, and another time we tried putting the honey super in the back of our truck while we drove around. 

Then, we learned about a Fume Board. It’s a game changer, and it makes harvesting honey SO much easier.

What Is A Fume Board?

The fume board is the most efficient method we’ve found to remove bees from honey supers, and it is one of the most essential beekeeping supplies for a beekeeper who is ready to harvest honey.

Fume boards are made with a wooden frame that will fit both 8 frame and 10 frame hives, with black aluminum sheeting on top and an absorbent flannel or felt material inside. It is a top that you put on a honey super from which you’d like to remove bees.

Best used on warm sunny days and on hives that are in direct sunlight, the black metal sheeting absorbs heat and spreads fumes from a bee repellent like Fischer’s Bee Quick or Honey Bandit Spray

Bees will move down and away from the box in approximately 3-6 minutes, leaving supers bee free.

What Is A Fume Board?

The fume board is the most efficient method we’ve found to remove bees from honey supers, and it is one of the most essential beekeeping supplies for a beekeeper who is ready to harvest honey.

Fume boards are made with a wooden frame that will fit both 8 frame and 10 frame hives, with black aluminum sheeting on top and an absorbent flannel or felt material inside. It is a top that you put on a honey super from which you’d like to remove bees.

Best used on warm sunny days and on hives that are in direct sunlight, the black metal sheeting absorbs heat and spreads fumes from a bee repellent like Fischer’s Bee Quick or Honey Bandit Spray

Bees will move down and away from the box in approximately 3-6 minutes, leaving supers bee free.

Bees do not like the way the fumes from the bee-repellent smell, and that’s why they’ll move down or out of the hive. 

The repellent fumes will not harm the bees or the honey. If you accidentally spray too much repellent, you may see lots of bees leaving the hive.

They will come back. Just spray less when you use it the next time. Also, do not leave the fume board on the supers for too long. Bees might begin to exit the bee hive if you do.

Bees do not like the way the fumes from the bee-repellent smell, and that’s why they’ll move down or out of the hive. 

The repellent fumes will not harm the bees or the honey. If you accidentally spray too much repellent, you may see lots of bees leaving the hive.

They will come back. Just spray less when you use it the next time. Also, do not leave the fume board on the supers for too long. Bees might begin to exit the bee hive if you do.

After using the fume board once, you’ll re-spray if the fumes have dissipated, then use the fume board again on another super. If you have two fume boards, you can remove supers even faster. 

Backyard beekeepers probably won’t need more than two fume boards, while commercial beekeepers with hundreds of hives will need many more.

After using the fume board once, you’ll re-spray if the fumes have dissipated, then use the fume board again on another super. If you have two fume boards, you can remove supers even faster. 

Backyard beekeepers probably won’t need more than two fume boards, while commercial beekeepers with hundreds of hives will need many more.

How To Use A Fume Board

1.Determine which supers you would like to remove for harvest. If a box has some brood chambers inside, the fume board will not work to remove bees. You will need to move the frames with brood to another box before using the Bee Quick or another repellant.

2. Sit the fume board out in direct sun to heat it up. While the fume board absorbs the heat of the sun, you can smoke the entrance of the hive and the top of the super you plan to remove. (Remove the inner cover and telescoping cover.)

3. When the metal top of the fume board is hot, evenly spray your repellant (Bee Quick or Honey Bandit) on to the felt underside of the board.

4. Cover the honey super with the fume board. You can place it square onto the top whether it is an 8 frame or 10 frame box. The Universal Fume Board is designed to fit both.

How To Use A Fume Board

1.Determine which supers you would like to remove for harvest. If a box has some brood chambers inside, the fume board will not work to remove bees. You will need to move the frames with brood to another box before using the Bee Quick or another repellant.

2. Sit the fume board out in direct sun to heat it up. While the fume board absorbs the heat of the sun, you can smoke the entrance of the hive and the top of the super you plan to remove. (Remove the inner cover and telescoping cover.)

3. When the metal top of the fume board is hot, evenly spray your repellant (Bee Quick or Honey Bandit) on to the felt underside of the board.

4. Cover the honey super with the fume board. You can place it square onto the top whether it is an 8 frame or 10 frame box. The Universal Fume Board is designed to fit both.

5. Wait about five minutes, then check to be sure the bees have moved out of the box. Pick up the box and move it to a location away from the bees in order to harvest it. I use a wheelbarrow and cover the box with an extra Telescoping Cover while I transport it to keep bees from robbing it.

PRO-TIP from Foxhound Bee Company owner, Adam Hickman: When you place the fume board on top of the honey super, sit it on there just a little bit crooked, so that two corners are slightly exposed. This will give the bees a way to get out of the top as well.

5. Wait about five minutes, then check to be sure the bees have moved out of the box. Pick up the box and move it to a location away from the bees in order to harvest it. I use a wheelbarrow and cover the box with an extra Telescoping Cover while I transport it to keep bees from robbing it.

PRO-TIP from Foxhound Bee Company owner, Adam Hickman: When you place the fume board on top of the honey super, sit it on there just a little bit crooked, so that two corners are slightly exposed. This will give the bees a way to get out of the top as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a fume board work?

How does a fume board work?

A fume board works by spreading fumes in a honey super that the beekeeper wants to remove for harvesting. The heat of the sun creates the fumes by heating up a bee repellent that the beekeeper sprays inside the fume board.

A fume board works by spreading fumes in a honey super that the beekeeper wants to remove for harvesting. The heat of the sun creates the fumes by heating up a bee repellent that the beekeeper sprays inside the fume board.

What can I use on a fume board?

What can I use on a fume board?

We recommendBee Quick, an organic bee repellent, orHoney Bandit, a synthetic bee repellent Both of these have a somewhat pleasant smell to the beekeeper. Other bee repellents are: Bee-Go, Honey-B-Gone, and Honey Robber. Some of these are made withButyric Acid, which has an unpleasant smell for the beekeeper.

We recommendBee Quick, an organic bee repellent, orHoney Bandit, a synthetic bee repellent Both of these have a somewhat pleasant smell to the beekeeper. Other bee repellents are: Bee-Go, Honey-B-Gone, and Honey Robber. Some of these are made withButyric Acid, which has an unpleasant smell for the beekeeper.

Why would I want bee free supers?

Why would I want bee free supers?

It will be much easier and less stressful to harvest honey from your frames if there are not lots of bees flying around.

It will be much easier and less stressful to harvest honey from your frames if there are not lots of bees flying around.

How would a commercial beekeeper use fume boards differently than backyard beekeepers?

While a backyard beekeeper may need only one board or two fume boards, a commercial beekeeper may need many more, which could enable them to pull honey boxes very efficiently. 

A commercial beekeeper will probably have many people working together while a backyard beekeeper may have only a few.

How do bee escape boards work?

A bee escape is similar to a fume board in that it helps bees move out of honey boxes. They can come in many shapes like a Porter Bee Escape and a Plastic Round 16 Way Bee Escape

They are designed to be a one-way door for the bees to leave a honey box. They do not work as quickly as a fume board.

What if it is not warm and sunny when I need to remove a honey super?

If it is not a warm and sunny day when you harvest, you could use a bee escape (see previous question) or you could try using a heat gun or torch on the fume board to warm it enough that it will fumigate the honey boxes, clearing bees.

How would a commercial beekeeper use fume boards differently than backyard beekeepers?

While a backyard beekeeper may need only one board or two fume boards, a commercial beekeeper may need many more, which could enable them to pull honey boxes very efficiently. 

A commercial beekeeper will probably have many people working together while a backyard beekeeper may have only a few.

How do bee escape boards work?

A bee escape is similar to a fume board in that it helps bees move out of honey boxes. They can come in many shapes like a Porter Bee Escape and a Plastic Round 16 Way Bee Escape

They are designed to be a one-way door for the bees to leave a honey box. They do not work as quickly as a fume board.

What if it is not warm and sunny when I need to remove a honey super?

If it is not a warm and sunny day when you harvest, you could use a bee escape (see previous question) or you could try using a heat gun or torch on the fume board to warm it enough that it will fumigate the honey boxes, clearing bees.

Amy Seiber
Amy Seiber
Amy Seiber started helping out at Foxhound Bee Company in 2021. She has had bees since 2013, but she has actively kept bees since around 2016. (There is a difference!). Amy is currently working to become an Alabama Master Beekeeper. In addition to being a beekeeper, Amy is an art teacher, artist, mother to Eleanor and Emerson Cutcliffe, and an overalls enthusiast.
Amy Seiber started helping out at Foxhound Bee Company in 2021. She has had bees since 2013, but she has actively kept bees since around 2016. (There is a difference!). Amy is currently working to become an Alabama Master Beekeeper. In addition to being a beekeeper, Amy is an art teacher, artist, mother to Eleanor and Emerson Cutcliffe, and an overalls enthusiast.
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