A fume board is a nifty little device. Using a non harmful stink repellent it is placed on top of a beehive and drives the bees down to the bottom of the hive. There are a few different products that can be used to stink the bees out the door. I thought I could save a few bucks and use some scrap wood, metal, and cloth to make a fume board in my workshop. We tried this board for the first time in our 2020 spring honey harvestJump to Instructions
Products to use on a fume board
We used Bee Go® which contains Butyric anhydride, a derivative of butter and cheese, but likely chemically synthesized. It smells like vomit because surprise; vomit contains butyric acid. Don’t get this stuff on your bee suit and don’t let it spill in a vehicle. Always transport it in a sealed plastic bag. This stuff works fast and well. The bees will tend to beard up on the outside of the hive entrance. It is difficult to know what the bees are thinking but they do not get agitated when leaving the hive. They remain calm and over an hour or so work their way back into the hive and carry on their day.
Honey robber has the same rough ingredients as Bee Go, so although I have never used it, I can assume it works the same and these two products are interchangeable. Really any product that uses Butyric Anhydride will likely work the same.
Honey-B-Gone is made with natural oils that bees just don’t like. This smells like almonds and apparently works just as good.
Make Your Own
While fume boards don’t cost that much, usually around $15-20, they are also very easy to make for a few dollars with some basic woodworking skills. The plans below assume that you are using 1/2″ plywood or solid board. If you want to use a different thickness you will have to adjust the measurements. Because you won’t be leaving the fume board out in the elements, there is no problem using plywood.
The completed fume boardPrint Instructions
DIY Fume Board Instruction
- Table Saw/Mitre Saw/Handsaw
- Hammer or Brad Nailer
- Wood Glue
- Staple Gun
- Tin Snips
- 1 1/2" at least 75" long x 2" wide plywood Planks will work as well but plywood is cheaper
- 1 19 3/4 x 16 1/4" Felt or thick cloth I used an old bedsheet
- 1 19 3/4 x 16 1/4" Piece of tin longer will work as well and you can bend it over the sides.
- 8 1 1/2" Nails or brads
- 20 1" Nails To go through the tin lid
- Start by cutting your frame. Your width can be anywhere from 1-3" wide but need to be 19 3/4" x 16 1/4" long.
- Your first two pieces should be 19 3/4" long
- Your other two peices of wood (assuming 1/2" plywood) will be 15 1/4" long.
- Butt joints will work for this build becuase it doesn't need to be too structually sound.
- Glue the contact points on the butt joints and put two nails or brad nails in each joint
- Stretch the felt or cloth over the top of the frame. Using your staple gun starting with the corners and working your way to the middle of the frame boards.
- Trim off any excess felt or cloth
- Completed felt stage
- Cut your tin to the size of the frame. If you wish you can fold the tin over the edges but it is not necessary.
- Put at least 5 nails in the top of the lid to hold the tin in place. You may want to use a center punch or drill your holes first to make it easier to go through the tin.
- Paint the lid black with ordinary house paint or a spray can. Any black paint will work. It needs to be black so that it heats up in the sun and warms the bee stink formula.
- Completed Fume board