Bee on my privet

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Swarm Traps

There are several commercially available swarm traps. There are also plans online. I just built a couple of five frame nucleus hives so I decided to bait them.
 From what I understand, trapping a swarm is the purest of luck. However, they seem to swarm in the same place year after year. At the bee club meeting last night, one of the big apiary owners says he has captured seven swarms at the same church this year. The church has had bees in the walls several times. I suppose that is a good lure. He also noted that he has two nucs set up. One at the north end of the church facing north and one on the south end facing south. Both nucs have attracted bees but he says he has had the bees in the north facing hive leave after a short time. He now has both hive entrances facing south. In each nuc he placed one frame of old comb and four empty frames. For a scent lure he is using a few drops of lemon grass oil placed on the top of the frames. Hopefully he will report on his success next meeting.
 I have had a couple of five frame nucs out hoping to trap a swarm. In my Nucs there were five frames of wax coated plastic foundation and some wax from my active colony with a little honey mixed in. So far, I have attracted ants.
 Today, I decided to mimic his setup as closely as possible. I visited the health food store and purchased lemon grass oil. I then pulled all the frames out of the hives except one each. I took a sheet of foundation and cut it in one inch strips. I then fitted the strips into the tops of the frames and painted the bare ends with heated bees wax I harvested from my active hive (remember the burr comb sticking to my screened inner cover?). I then moved the stand and hives to the south side of the shed so they will face south. I think I am going to put a roof over the stand. The tops are just painted quarter inch plywood and are beginning to delaminate in the rain.
 Now they are reassembled and ready to attract bees by the thousands. Hopefully the pictures will help illustrate what I have done.
Wax painted on the bottom of the starter strip
Starter strip in place. You can see the full foundation frame under this one.
My traps aka my nucs.
    Inside the hive. An old queen box in the back to help with pheromone lure.

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