This page is credited in full to Dave Cushman who created it. His voice is expressed in black colour text and any additions or comments in blue belong to myself. Credit: Dave Cushman’s website.
The Porter Bee Escape
Invented in USA in 1891 (presumably by a man named Porter).
Originally designed for clearing bees from supers that were to be extracted. (Extracting honey was still quite rare at that time.)
Available in both tinplate and plastic versions… This is very commonly used in the UK.
I, personally, have never understood it’s popularity as it requires a great deal of skill to use it successfully. The device is not very reliable and requires re-setting every time it is used.
The version illustrated is manufactured by Brian Pedley, B.J. Engineering, Worcester, England. It is a two piece white plastic injection moulding with phosphor bronze springs.
Porter Escape ?? ?The view left is of the top moulding, but is viewed from the underside.
The bracketed dimensions give the original imperial design parameters.
The bottom moulding is viewed from the top. The phosphor bronze springs are held in place by thermally fusing the pegs that position them.
It is ESSENTIAL that the spring gap is set so that the ends are accurately 3 mm apart and the springs are central between the top and bottom plates.? The general assembly view is shown as if looking at the top of the device.
Reset the springs every time you use it, even when new!… They do not come from the supplier pre-set.
Soak in methylated spirit to remove propolis or white spirit to soften wax deposits. Plastic ones may be soaked in a solution of washing soda (sodium carbonate) that has been activated by adding a few crystals of caustic soda (sodium hydroxide).
If I had the proverbial magic wand this is one of the items I would disappear from the UK beekeeping scene. I say this for two reasons. One is they frankly are a complete faff to get to work, and they work badly at best as drones can jam them not to mention the resetting required. But also because they ruin crown boards with the required holes.
I am very clear in my mind that a clearer board should have no working parts and there are plenty of designs on my site that do work well, and that a crown board should fulfil that function and a very important one it is to, to keep in the warmth that the bees prefer and make taking of the roof simple.