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an escape board can simplify harvest substantially. bees aren't generally motivated to leave all their lovely honey behind just because a beekeeper wants it. individual combs can be removed and the bees brushed off, but that's a lot of work and perturbs the bees. whole boxes can be smoked, but smokey honey isn't really desirable. an escape board lets the bees leave from the top boxes to be harvested, but they can't find their way back in. once most of them are out, remove the boxes for harvest and replace the top cloth, quilt, and roof.