View Full Version : SWARM TRAP hole size\location?

01-18-2007, 08:33 PM
I'm making swarm traps out of some old deeps. My question is what size hole should I drill and where should I drill the hole, near the bottom, middle, or top? Also, how often should I replenish lemon grass oil swarm lure? Thanks!

[ January 18, 2007, 09:35 PM: Message edited by: betrbekepn ]

Michael Bush
01-19-2007, 05:05 AM
In my experience the bees don't care much where the hole is. I put about a 1" hole in mine. That's not a scientifically arrived at number. But it seems to work fine. Mine are in the middle of the front on the swarm traps. I'd say once a month would be wise. I'm lazy and I never get around to replenishing it.

01-19-2007, 05:20 PM
I think it is Joe Waggle (Pcolar, here) who staples on a bottom but leaves the front edge loose. Then he can wedge the bottom down a bit for the entrance. Once a swarm is in, remove the wedge and the bottom is sealed for transport...

sounds simple to me.

jim b
01-19-2007, 11:59 PM
wayacoyote -
Thanks for that, and thanks to Joe!!

I think that's one heck of a good idea!

Can't hardly wait to give it a try!


01-20-2007, 06:34 AM
There has been some actual studies on the subject of swarm traps. I'll reference "SWARMING -biology, Control, and Collecting" ISBN 0-936028-09-2 Chapter 7, page 39, written by Roger Morse

In studies using different setup criteria, they have found that the optimal swarm trap has shown the bees prefer the following...

Entrance position - Bee prefer bait hives with entrances near the bottom three to one over those with entrances in other spots.

Entrance areas - bees prefer nests with smaller entrances. Holes that area 1-1/2 in diameter are adequate. The shape of the entrance is not important.

The point should be made that bees will use many swarm traps and options. Given a choice, they do have preferences. This book details in studies that there are ways to build a better trap, and thus inprove your chances of success.

One very important point is that bees do not like traps that allow light in from the top.

The book is very good and covers items such as placement, volume, heigth, and other details. The book gives a very good overview of swarming triggers, controls, etc. Well worth reading.

01-21-2007, 07:15 PM
What is the difference between a swarm trap and a hive body? (Sorry for the stupid question, but I don't really understand what a swarm trap is.)

Michael Bush
01-21-2007, 07:51 PM
A swarm trap is anything (including an old hive body or a cardboard box etc.) that is put in a tree with some swarm lure and old comb hoping to catch a swarm. A hive body is a part of your hive, in your apiary, usually with bees in it already.

01-22-2007, 11:21 AM
Why can't you just use a hive body with an entrance reducer? And save yourself the trouble of moving them into one later?

01-22-2007, 11:37 AM
>Why can't you just use a hive body with an entrance reducer?

it just costs more
I think it's worth it


01-22-2007, 06:41 PM
Also think about ease of use. Bees like the swarm trap placed 10-15 feet off the ground. Trying to climb down with a hive body, bottom board and top is alot harder than climbing down with a 5 frame nuc box. The bees seem to accept 4 or 5 frame boxes well for me.

01-22-2007, 06:56 PM
Cornell (I assume Dyce) did a study on this several years ago and ABJ did a subsequent article that was exceptional. KBee's height is the correct/preferred height (according to the study). Although the study also said bees prefer the approximate internal space of a hive body for swarm acceptance I also have had success with 5 frame nucs. I've used full deeps but tacked a plywood top and bottom on and drilled the hole in the front. If you use a nuc box you'll need to check it often as swarms will fill the space quickly.

Perhaps somenone remebers when or has the ABJ article. I check Cornell and see what I can find. Swarm season just around the corner!

[ January 22, 2007, 09:21 PM: Message edited by: Joel ]

01-24-2007, 11:56 AM
I would like to try to catch some swarms as well. I plan on using Deeps, because thats all I have at the moment. I have two questions though.

*When do swarms start up in my neck of the woods (Twin Cities, MN)?
*I dont have any comb, lost it all to bears. Anything else I could use?

Thanks everyone,

Brent Bean
01-24-2007, 02:03 PM
A study I read also said that they prefer cavities around 5 cubic liters which is about the same size as a deep super, also entrances that face south are also more attractive. I convert five gallon plastic buckets into swarm traps, by attaching a block of wood and some plastic starter strip foundation coated in bees wax with a swarm lure or lemon grass oil. The buckets are cheaper than Nucs or hive bodies and they are a lot easier than lugging a box up the ladder and even better when lugging one down thatÂ’s full of bees and sometimes drawn comb. I got the idea off this forum.
When you see pollen coming in or drones swarming can occur.

[ January 24, 2007, 03:07 PM: Message edited by: Brent Bean ]

01-24-2007, 02:16 PM
"When do swarms start up in my neck of the woods (Twin Cities, MN)?"

My mentor says the first day you need the AC on in the car BEE watching for swarms.

ian m davison
01-24-2007, 04:35 PM
Hi all

I find old brood boxes ideal and picked up a lot of them in poor condition very cheap specificaly for the job. They are also about the right volume a swarm is looking for.

As already mentioned above get them of the floor, flat roofs and on top of sheds make ideal locations. Use friends garage roofs and get a good few spread around. Locations with another beek in the area always prove productive!!!!!!!!!!

A simple piece of ply screwed on top makes a secure roof and another piece with a batton around forms the floor. Cut a 1-2inch slot to form a entrance(bees want a narrow entrance that they can defend) Screw the floor to the body.
When a swarm enters just take a piece of foam block the entrance and carry away.

In order to atract the scouts load the box with some old comb. You can use attractants like lemon grass or commercial lures or both, but old comb beats them hands down. It also does not need replacing and is free.

Regards Ian