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Thread: Swarm lure

  1. #1
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    Lemongrass oil is an effective swarm lure but it dissipates quite quickly, and commercial swarm lures last longer but are more expensive.

    Since Honey B Healthy and homebrew recipes 'drives bees crazy' and can spur a robbing frenzy during poor nectar flows, it also makes a lure.

    It seems like impregnated wax might might be a longer lasting lure than straight lemongrass oil or HBH but a search turned nothing up.

    Has anyone tried mixing either of these with beeswax?


    JP

  2. #2
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    I have not. But I've seen bees move into one with lemograss oil for lure a year after putting the lemongrass oil in. I'm afraid heating enough to mix it with melted wax will lose the scent. Maybe just putting it on cold wax would let it soak into the wax. I don't know. But HBH is more water soluable so the oil will probably soak into the wax better.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
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    I placed lemongrass oil in beeswax and painted some around the inside entrances of my bait traps. It remained effective throughout swarm season, and I expect it to be effective next season also. Sun hits the trap and the beeswax softens releasing more lemongrass each day. The bees were in a frenzy around these traps. I also used a vial of my homemade lure in each trap.

  4. #4
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    JaiPea,

    Please explain "homebrew recipes 'drives bees crazy'". Do you use this as a lure ? If so, how is it applied?
    Is it boiled wort, or residue after fermentation ? Is it a honey based mead ?

    Thanks -- Fuzzy

  5. #5
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    The simplest "hombrew" lure is lemongrass oil. Next simplest is a jar of alcohol where you dispose of old queens and use the alcohol for lure. The more complex ones are usually equal parts (or some other variation of proportions) of: citral, geranoil and nerolic acid.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
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    Hi Fuzzy,

    > Please explain "homebrew recipes 'drives bees crazy'".
    > Do you use this as a lure ?
    > If so, how is it applied?

    There have been multiple threads about this homebrew, which is similar to Honey B Healthy. I believe the recipe was first posted by dragonfly:

    5 cups water
    2 1/2 pounds sugar
    15 drops spearmint essential oil
    15 drops lemongrass essential oil
    1/8-1/4 tsp lecithin granules dissolved in very hot water

    There has also been a version which specifies 2 1/2 cups of sugar. The recipe is very forgiving, as there are many variations of sugar water with these oils and all of them seem to work.

    The lecithin is an emulsifier to help the sugar and oil mix, but it is a pain to dissolve. Honey also acts as an emulsifier so you can substitute a cup of honey instead of water and mix the oils into that. Let it sit for a while and check to make sure there is no unabsorbed oil. The sugar is dissolved into heated water and after that cools you can mix in the honey/oil.

    The resultant brew is a concentrate, so it can (should?) be watered down several times over. There are many uses of homebrew/HBH, and in various threads on this board some members have used it straight (which may be why the bees went berserk). It can be carried around in a spray bottle to squirt over plastic frames, spray bees when combining hives, and douse the queen/cage when making introductions. When served diluted in a Boardman feeder it is supposed to encourage comb building (straight sugar water does that so the contribution of the oils is suspect in this case).

    Be careful not to treat this as a panacea, if you use it indiscriminately it can initiate a frenzy of robbing.

    JP

  7. #7
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    JaiPea,

    You say that the above recipe is a concentrate. I have been using it straight.

    How much of this concentrate do you use with water, or sugar water?

  8. #8
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    If you're using the HBH (or homebrew HBH) for swarm lure, I'd use it straight. If you're using it for other purposes (improving acceptance of plastic foundation, stimulating them to take feed, suppressing mite reproduction) then I'd water it down in syrup.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
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    >>Next simplest is a jar of alcohol where you dispose of old queens and use the alcohol for lure

    Has anyone had success using this type of lure alone? How many have tried this and had good sucess? Is there a minimum number of queens that need to be dropped in the alchohol?

    Dan
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  10. #10
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    I have a silly question. If the purpose of swarm lure is to simulate the same smell as the queen then why does the queen within the swarm want to enter the box? It seems like she would be fightened that there is another queen in the box and not want to enter.

  11. #11
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    >Has anyone had success using this type of lure alone?

    I know of quite a few beekeepers that do. I use it with the lemongrass oil.

    >Is there a minimum number of queens that need to be dropped in the alchohol?

    The more the merrier. But any will help.

    >I have a silly question. If the purpose of swarm lure is to simulate the same smell as the queen

    The purpose of a swarm lure isn't necessarily tp simulate a queen. The purpose of swarm lure is to draw the scout bees that are looking for a home. A queen smells like home. Nasonov pheromone smells like home. Old comb with Tarsal pheromone in them smells like home.

    >then why does the queen within the swarm want to enter the box?

    The queen follows the bees who follow the scouts who leave a pheromone trail of nasonov. The queen isn't leading the expedition. She's just in the core of it. Then when they land and regroup they look for the smell of the queen and the Nasonov.

    >It seems like she would be fightened that there is another queen in the box and not want to enter.

    It doesn't seem to work out that way.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
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    Ahhhh that makes sense. Thanks.

  13. #13
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    >If the purpose of swarm lure is to simulate the same smell as the queen then why does the queen within the swarm want to enter the box? It seems like she would be fightened that there is another queen in the box and not want to enter.<

    Maybe you have something here.

    Using the lemongrass bait, I got a swarm to come to the bait box but I had the darnest time getting the queen to stay.

  14. #14
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    Lemongrass oil only smells like a swarm (nasonov) not like a queen (QMP or Bee Boost or queen "juice").
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
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    Where can I find how to use a dead queen in alcohol as 'bait' for swarms?
    Thanks!!

    David

  16. #16
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    Drop them in a jar a alcohol when you are "retiring" old queens or you have some spares and are doing a combine at the end of the year. Use a few drops of the alcohol for swarm lure. That's all there is to it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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