Navigate / search

Confusion about escape boards

Since I wrote about triangle escape boards, I’ve had some questions about which side is up. It works like this: the round hole faces up and the screened triangles face down. You put the board above the brood chamber and below the supers you want to empty.

A typical colony, then, may look as follows:

  • outer cover
  • inner cover
  • honey super
  • honey super
  • escape board
  • brood box
  • brood box
  • slatted rack
  • screened bottom

At night, the bees leave the honey supers and go down into the brood box to stay with the cluster. It is easy for them to go through the big hole, but the next morning, they have difficulty finding their way through the maze of triangles to get back to the honey supers.

If after 24-48 hours your honey supers are still full of bees, one of four things is probably amiss:

  • You have left an upper entrance open above the escape board–perhaps in your inner cover. In this case, the bees simply exit through the front door and come in through the upper entrance.
  • You have the escape board in upside down.
  • You have a queen in your honey supers. If the queen is in the honey supers the cluster will form around her.
  • Your brood boxes are so populous there is nowhere for the bees to go. In this case, put a box of empty frames above the brood box (but below the escape board) so there is plenty of room for all the bees.
    This side faces up. Photo by the author.
    This side faces down. Photo by the author.

Comments

Rich
Reply

It’s like a check valve for bees.

Phillip
Reply

Hmm… I wonder what would happen if I installed an escape board upside-down and couldn’t check it for a few days. Which I think I kinda might have done. I suppose they’ll live, ah?

Rusty
Reply

That’s funny. They’ll live if they don’t get too cold. I suppose they’re not hungry, though, with all that honey to eat. Every time I put on an escape board, I have to stop and think about it. Easy to get it wrong.

Marian hone
Reply

Hi! I am a newbie beekeeper. I have only two hives and one is on its second year. It is in 2 deeps and 1 medium for brood with 2 mediums for supers. I took off the excluder and now I don’t know where queen is. I need to extract honey supers. I was planning on using triangle bee escape to get most of the bees out of the way. If I put it on and check the next day (it is summer in NJ) if still a lot if bees on top would it be a good sign the queen is up there with them?

Rusty
Reply

Marian,

It could mean the queen is up there, or it could mean it was warm enough that the bees up there didn’t feel the need to cluster at night. Warm or humid nights can reduce the efficiency of the escape board.

Leave a comment

name*

email* (not published)

website