How to Make a Bee Escape
Many home gardeners learn basic beekeeping skills in an attempt to help the native bee population and reap the benefits of pollination and honey. In late spring to early summer, beehive supers fill with honey and are ready for collection. To avoid hurting the bees or getting stung, it is best to get as many bees as possible out of the supers. A bee escape – a maze that lets bees exit the hive without reentering – can clear the supers in about 24 hours.
Cut a piece of plywood with a handsaw so the dimensions equal the width and length of your bee super. Saw a 2-inch diameter hole through the center of the plywood board, using a keyhole saw.
Saw the four 1 by 4 pine pieces to make 2-inch wide edges for the plywood board. Two boards should equal the length of the plywood board minus 2 inches, and the other two boards should equal the width of the plywood board minus 2 inches.
Place the four 1 by 4 inch pine pieces around the edges of the plywood board to make a border. Drill starter holes in the edging at 3-inch intervals and screw the edging in place with wood screws.
Place the remaining six pine boards on a flat surface with the narrow side facing up. Saw both ends of each board at a 45 degree angle, using a hand saw and protractor.
Take the three shorter boards and arrange them into an equilateral triangle around the hole in your plywood board, on the same side of the board as the edging. Leave 1/2 inch of space between the boards at each of the three angles to give enough space for bees to crawl through. Attach the boards in place with wood glue or staples.
Take the longer boards and arrange them into an equilateral triangle around the first triangle you made. As with the first triangle, leave a 1/2 inch gap between the boards at each angle. Glue or screw the larger triangle in place around the first triangle to make a concentric triangle arrangement. Leave about 1/2 inch of space between the two triangles. You have now created a bee “maze” around the exit hole.
Cut a triangle of mesh large enough to cover the maze using wire cutters. Staple the window screen to the top edges of the outer triangle to hold it in place.
Slide the bee escape under your honey super, triangle-side down.
- 1/2 inch thick plywood
- Keyhole saw
- 4 pieces of pine board, 1 by 2 inches
- Wood screws
- 3 pieces of pine board, 1 by 10 by 1/2 inches
- 3 pieces of pine board, 1 by 8 by 1/2 inches
- Wood glue
- Mesh window screen
- Wire cutters
- Stapler and staples