The most recent meeting was at Shadiya’s charming permaculture venue on Sunday. A report on this will appear soon. Meanwhile, I was asked to clarify my reference to a “trap-out box” we’d made to harvest honey from top bar combs…
The purpose is to remove the bees from combs, as gently as possible. They can leave the box through the red cones, which act as one-way doors. The black box is large enough to hold entire combs, which are shaken to remove most bees then placed in the box. The theory is that within a few hours, any remaining bees leave the combs and fly towards the light (the one-way cones).
Gino suggested it might be simpler to build a divider with one-way doors, place it in the hive and put the combs to be harvested behind it – then return and remove them from the hive the next day. Yes, that might work too, though I’ve yet to come across a truly bee-tight divider.
Lacking significant honey to harvest this year, I have been unable to test this contraption yet.
Here’s a close-up of a cone. It’s called a Canadian Cone Escape and they come in packs of ten from Thornes. It’s simply glued over a hole drilled in the box.
I have harvested a few combs. They were initially placed in the trap-out box with about 50 bees on each comb. By evening this was down to about 15 per comb. Early next morning, before the hives were up and about, I opened it and found none had left overnight and the survivors were huddled for warmth, making it easy to remove them.
So verdict is, this was a success. I think if I’d used the bait hive or a modified divider in another hive, there would have been complications: leaking honey would have leaked down through the mesh floors, whereas here it was retained in the box. I didn’t harvest that, I fed it back to the hive; it would have made an awful mess and attracted ants, etc if it pooled under a hive.