Do-It-Yourself Escape Boards

June 2019 Introduction: I’ve been using these homemade escape boards since 2014 and they work. They would probably work better if I used “#8 hardware cloth” (the standard mesh used by beekeepers for most things requiring ventilation), but #8 hardware cloth seems to be an American invention; whenever I ask for it in hardware stores, nobody knows what I’m talking about. Then I try to explain what it is and what I want it for and they usually look at me like I’m talking in tongues. So I don’t even bother trying anymore. I just buy regular metallic screen mesh (the plastic stuff disintegrates quickly).

Escape boards are used to separate the bees from the honey, kind of a necessary step before harvesting honey. So… I went ahead and made myself some escape boards, also known as clearer boards and possibly known as bee escapes. Here’s a shot of the first one I made:

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And it only took me three and a half hours. I didn’t have a model to copy or plans to follow. I sort of smacked them together on the spot using nothing but my brain and some pitiful carpentry skills. The next three boards took about 30 minutes each and the final collection looked like this:

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I won’t post a video or any plans that show how I made the escape boards yet because I want to make sure they work first and I’d rather fine tune the process before I say, “Hey kids, follow me!” This post is just a preview of what’s to come.

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I’m still looking for a new place to live / keep my bees. Until I find that place, I’m afraid the best I can manage are photos like these and some short general beekeeping videos once in a while.

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All these photos provide a rough sketch of the process of making the escapes boards. At least three or four names exist for every single thing in beekeeping, so don’t sue me if I choose “Quebec style” in reference to this particular escape board design.

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Drill a big hole in the centre of a piece of plywood; hammer on little pieces of wood to make a triangular maze; staple some screen over it; nail a rim around the sides of the plywood on each side — and you’re done.

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I had access to a table saw and a drill, but I’m all about bringing things down to earth and making them accessible to everyone, not just people who can afford fancy power tools.

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For more information on escape boards and what they are and how to use them, I recommend checking out Honey Bee Suite, or check out my video that demonstrates the process.

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