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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Whitefield, Maine USA
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    6,624

    Question

    I'm looking for experiences- good and bad- that people have had with various designs of pollen traps. I'm not so interested in "to collect or not to collect" opinions since I've already decided to collect some pollen, but let `em rip if you want [img]smile.gif[/img]

    To get started, I've seen bottom-board type traps and the side-mounted box-type traps.. I'm inclined to go with the latter. Are there other varieties? Who makes the best?

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,115

    Post

    In all the years I've been beekeeping it has always been pretty much unanimous that the Sundance is the best. There are those who may argue it's too expensive, but I've never heard anything but good about its design and construction.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
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    3,361

    Post

    Front mount traps are too small and a real hassle to empty.(need to have a veil at least) I have had great success with bottom traps(we gather and sell several hundred pounds of pollen a year) although as they get older and you have "leaks" it gets difficult to keep the extra exit and egress closed. I've never used Sundance because we had purchased a number of traps prior to the interduction. You should easily recoup your investment the 1st. year as during the height of the season you will gather 1-2 lbs/ week and should get $10.00/lb. They are a good idea both for production and they help prevent the brood chamber from getting pollen bound.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
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    Post

    Some of those front mounted traps require a 3/4 inch frame between the hive bodies to mount the trap in. I suppose it's ok if you want some extra beewsax since the bees are going to fill in the space. Some of the bottom mounts (the OAC design) have a sliding screen that needs to be pulled out or pushed in to trap or not trap pollen. Often the bees are clustered in the area of the pollen removal screen and don't enjoy having it slid into or out of their cluster. The sundance trap design overcomes that shortcoming. (BTW, Lloyd I want to be paid as much as you're paying Jim)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Whitefield, Maine USA
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    Post

    Does the bottom-trap arrangment intefere with the use of an SBB? In my really short but intense introduction to beekeeping, I've gotten kind of partial to SBB's now that I've seen how much duff they collect.

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Ledyard, CT, USA
    Posts
    67

    Post

    Hi George,

    I got some sundance style traps from Charles Andros up in new hampshire a few years ago. They are basically like a sundance trap, but they do not have the inner thin plywood cover on the top of the pollen trap. This of course allows all the mites, debris and junk to fall through the screens of the Pollen trap, and out through your SBB as well. - However the pollen collected with these traps does have quite a bit more debris in it sucha as capping bits, bee heads & legs, and other assorted parts. With a real sundance trap (that has the trap cover intergated into it) the pollen is much cleaner. - When I bought these traps I also got a small "sifter" which was basicall a box that has small mesh hardware cloth on the bottom which I Use to sift the pollen through and it removes 90-95% of the debris. It's a little more labour to sift out the pollen, but once you get the hang of the extra step, it moves right along - I've got 4 of them and I use them regularly.

    If you are interested in them, you can reach charles by phone: (603) 756-9056

    happy bee-ing

    -todd
    - I would like *everyone* to be nice to baby crabs.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
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    Post

    Has anyone tried the "anatomic" plastic pollen trap that Betterbee sells?

    http://www.betterbee.com/products.asp?dept=543

    It's appealing for several reasons:

    1) It's cheap to begin with, and on sale even. This appeals to my pocketbook, which is in rough shape.

    2) It claims at least to be easier on the bees.

    3) It goes on the front entrance so doesn't interfere with the use of a SBB and you won't be getting all the usual hive debris falling into your trap.

    The major downside is it is made of plastic and I hate plastic stuff but I've got to give it a try. Just interested in other people's experiences. I'll relate mine after I've had a chance to see it in action.

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
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    Post

    For one thing, it's out in the weather like any other front mounted trap, so there is that to consider. The entrance does get crowded, too, when the sun is shining and the bees are flying. Something a bit more problematic with the one I bought awhile back is that sometimes quite a lot of bees get into the collection drawer. The openings on the "floor" over the drawer ought to be a bit smaller than they are. When it's crowded and the bees are frantic they will squeeze through those openings. I just took mine down off the shelf and put it on my tbh. When I went to collect its pollen, there were probably 30 or so bees in the drawer. Tonight, I just put a piece of quarter inch mesh between the "floor" and the collection drawer. The wires in the screen nicely overlapped the openings, so we'll see how that goes.

    It does gather the pollen though, moreso than some of the other traps.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
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    The 1/4 inch mesh between the trap's 'floor' and collection drawer did the trick, George. If you have a problem with bees getting into your collection drawer, that's something you might consider trying. After a few days training, though, I think the bees would likely stop getting into the drawer. As mentioned before the trap does strip pollen from both legs by its design, so you'd probably want to be sure to alternate collecting and not collecting with that plastic trap you ordered.

    For my part since mine is on a newly established tbh and the bees are doing everything from scratch, I won't be bothering them very much with the trap.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
    Posts
    2,069

    Post

    I've used front mounted and homemade pollen traps. Both worked but none compared to the Sundance pollen trap.

    I will only buy Sundance unless something better comes along. (Which IMHO would be tough to beat)

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

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
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    Post

    I just took delivery of a couple of those Betterbee "anatomic" pollen traps. They sit on the bottom board and hang from 2 hooks that you screw into the front of the hive. The bee screen that scrapes the pollen off the bee's legs is full width and swings up out of the way if you want to disable collection. A small rock, a piece of wood, etc., will hold it open.

    Anways, they look OK. They were cheap- $12.95 each I think. I haven't installed them yet, it's raining here for a few days and I wasn't planning on collecting pollen until later in the summer anyways.

    I'll let you know how they perform.

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Anchorage, Alaska
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    Likely, you will have to close off the drone escapes for a day or two until the bees get trained to go through the trap. I have to each time I use it for a new hive. Also, as mentioned before sometimes those bees of mine go through the floor and into the drawer. I think you'll be surprised how much pollen they collect.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
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    Post

    Thanks Dick- I've been keeping in mind your concern voiced earlier about the bottom screen, and your solution.

    I dunno if they've redesigned the bottom screen in these traps... they don't *look* like they'd let a bee through, but then again, I've seen bees get through the tiniest holes before.

    I *hope* I am surprised by the quantity of pollen.. I've already got a few people that want a few pounds of it.

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Catonsville, MD. USA
    Posts
    251

    Cool

    My vote is for the Sundance. I have tried several before and definitely the Sundance takes the cake hands-down. A major advantage is how clean the pollen is coming out of the trap. LITTLE or NO CLEANING required. A major time saver!
    John Seets
    ...When seconds count, 911 is just minutes away....

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
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    Post

    The trap George Fergusson talks about is front mounted. Also little or no cleaning required.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    92

    Post

    I installed two Betterbee pollen traps about two weeks ago. On one, I collect about 1 tablespoon per day, and on the other, about double that.

    I leave the trap operational all the time, since enough bees get through the drone holes and the spaces between the trap and the hive walls (I tied the trap to the hive with string intead of hanging the trap from the two screws provided, resulting in a loose fit) to allow what I think is sufficient pollen to be delivered into the hive. I would say that about half the bees use the trap entrance, while the other half use the drone holes and the gaps to exit/enter the hive.

    The first time the trap was installed, the bees were in total confusion, but witin an hour, they were squeezing their little tushes past the cutouts, or finding alternate ways into and out of the hive. Bees that have the largest pollen sacs invariably lose both sacs passing through the trap. Sometimes they get stuck, and may take over five minutes to squeeze through. However, I have yet to see a dead bee stuck in a cutout. Once, when a bee was hopelessly stuck because the pollen sacs would not release, another bee came to the rescue and chewed on one of the pollen sacs for several minutes until it got small enough for the trapped bee's legs to pass through.

    I would recommend installing the traps at night to minimize the initial confusion.

    The tray collects pollen with very little debris. An occassional bee gets into the trap, but usually survive the day when I collect the pollen each evening.

    I haven't tried the Sundance trap, but for the money, the Betterbee trap is a good investment.

    BTW, I use the pollen for personal consumption. Since it is quite bitter, I ordered gel caps, so that I can fill them with pollen and just swallow them. To store the pollen, I let it air dry for a day, then freeze it.
    Oyster<br />Concord, CA <br />San Francisco Bay Area

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Worthington, Pennsylvania USA
    Posts
    1,848

    Post

    I have one of those plastic betterbee traps and in years of use it works--gotta use a veil to empy in the evening though and when you want to bypass it use one of those spring type clothes pins to snap on the flap, that works for me. To make it work on multiple hives just go to hardware and buy more sets of those screw in hooks, then you can move the pollen trap to different hives each day instead of taking it off or blocking it.
    "Younz" have a great day, I will.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    92

    Post

    power napper,

    I also empty the pollen trays at night, and few, if any, bees are out on the trap at that time. Even for the few that are there, it only takes one second to remove the tray, and I'm, outta there even before the bees can react. I never bother to put on any bee attire. I then empty the tray indoors, and take it immediately back to the hive, and in three seconds or less, it is re-installed. The design is simplicity itself.

    I need to install the screws one evening after I block the entrance, so I can move the traps around as needed. Installing the trap on the screws provided will probably result in most of the gaps being closed because of the tighter fit than my string method of attachment, which will prevent most bees that are now bypassing the cutouts, from doing that. Since I prefer to leave the trap operational 24/7 instead of lifting the "door" every other night as recommended, I'll prop the trap open a bit from the hive wall to continue giving the bees an alternate way to enter the hive.
    Oyster<br />Concord, CA <br />San Francisco Bay Area

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