Since our last post we've had some feedback from a couple of people who have had success in using sweet almond oil to separate the bees from the honey. Here's how they went about it.
Rather than leaving the box on top of the hive as we did, they took the box away some distance from the hive. The box was placed on a base and the oil spotted tea towel was laid across the top of the frames at an angle, leaving a corner open for the bees to escape from.
Success using the above method ranged from having a handful of bees in the box after several hours, to having a reasonable number still in there. There was also variation in results with one person finding that it worked really well the first time they tried it and not so well the next. Most people had only tried this method once or twice - it'd be interesting to hear how well it works when people have tried using it a few times.
Either way, we think the bee escape board method is a proven winner and we'll probably stick to using that. Here's a picture of the bee escape board we used this time - stayed tuned for more details!