Bee Go be gone. Cheesed off!

There is a chemical, Butyric anhydride, which is sold in America under the name Bee Go. They use it for clearing bees from supers so they can take the honey.  It stinks and, personally, I wouldn’t let it within 100 yards of any honey I was going to take. I do have some, but have almost run out and I can’t get any more as they aren’t allowed to ship it by plane and they seem to have forgotten how to ship things by ship.

The purpose for which I use it is for steering ungetatable swarms to where they can be reached; for persuading scouts that a desirable cavity for a new home isn’t desirable after all; and for shifting colonies out of tight places, such as between the double skins of a shed wall or between the rafters of a flat roof.  The technique is to put a few drops onto a bit of cotton wool or a sponge on the end of a stick and insert it in the appropriate place to herd the bees.  It’s very effective.

On one occasion, at Langton Herring, I was called to deal with a suspected swarm in the wall of a house.  Indeed there were bees flying from a hole at ladder-top height.  After observing them for a while, I concluded that the swarm wasn’t in the building – yet!  They were scout bees looking for a new home for a swarm.  Bee Go on a bit of sponge rapidly made up their minds to try somewhere else.

The householder was feeding his kids pasta in the garden and remarked upon the similarity in aroma of the Bee Go and the grated Parmesan cheese he was sprinkling on the pasta.  That gave me an idea that I tried yesterday.

I took a sample of grated Italian cheese of that type to the allotment shed and the transparent hive.  After making my daily measurements of temperature and mite-fall and also taking a photo through their entrance (shown below) I placed a good sprinkling of the cheese in the cap of its container and inserted it on the varroa tray so that it sat directly under the cluster at a distance of less than 2 inches.  I watched closely while slowly counting up to 100.  There was no visible reaction from the bees. Oh tut!  At least I tried.  Here the photo through their entrance.


About chrissladesbeeblog

I have been keeping bees since 1978 and currently have about a dozen hives. I am a member of the BBKA where for many years I represented Dorset at the Annual Delegates' Meeting. I am the co-author (with Dave MacFawn of of S. Carolina) of "Getting the Best from Your Bees" and am working on a book of my own poems : "Bee People".
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3 Responses to Bee Go be gone. Cheesed off!

  1. The Scientician says:

    The butyric acid in your cheese (if present) is not as volitile as butyric anhydride, which might explain the lack of reaction from your bees. If your cheese smells like vomit, then it has produced butyric acid. Both vomit and some fermented cheese contain butyric acid. Mousture should convert some butyric acid to butyric anhydride, so if you grate your cheese, and leave it in a moist place, you might be able to produce enough anhydride to repel the bees.

  2. Little John says:

    Female Ginkgo fruit contains large amounts of butyric acid. I wonder how well that might work as a substitute for bee go? Hmmmm, another test coming soon?

  3. You should try my product. It’s called Honey B Gone. I believe you will like it because it smells much better than the competitors and won’t stink you out of your home. you can find it at


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