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Thread: TBH swarm lure

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Tulsa,OK
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    16

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    Hello,
    Has anyone tried using a TBH as a swarm lure?. Maybe half size of normal TBH?
    Gregg A.Ogden<br /><br />\"people willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both\" <br /> Benjamin Franklin

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    chatsworth, calif usa
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    Not sure if this is what you are asking but i have used swarm traps "baited" with lemongrass oil to attract swarms. These i then immediatly transferred into a five-bar top bar nuc, then later into their new permanent full-size top bar hive.
    I would assume that one could skip the first step and put lemongrass oil right into the top bar hive and have success, but i have not tried that.
    A full size hive would be too heavy for me to manage. I'd rather set up the hive in it's permanent location and take the bees to it. I can't keep the bees where i "trap" them.-j
    My Mom's other kids are smarter than me, but i'm not nearly as nice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Tulsa,OK
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    Thanks for the reply. Do you use one of the commercially available swarm traps? I was thinking of using a small TBH, then when the bees start drawing comb, transfering to regular TBH.
    Gregg A.Ogden
    Gregg A.Ogden<br /><br />\"people willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both\" <br /> Benjamin Franklin

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    El Dorado County, CA
    Posts
    605

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    im planning on cutting two of last years tbh in half and adding a knew back this spring. i will have four traps about the size of a deep super full of propalis. ill put them in trees 10' up
    away from existing colonies.
    all that is gold does not glitter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Tulsa,OK
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    Let us know how it works out.
    Gregg A.Ogden<br /><br />\"people willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both\" <br /> Benjamin Franklin

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    chatsworth, calif usa
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    I have not used commercial traps. I built boxes from scrap plywood, about the volume of a deep, different shapes. I also used cardboard boxes. The bees didn't seem to care too much about the container as long as it was large enough. The lemongrass oil seemed to be the key. Best of luck with the swarms, they are way too much fun.-j
    My Mom's other kids are smarter than me, but i'm not nearly as nice.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
    Posts
    230

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    Howdy folks. I’m originally from the States but I’ve been living and keeping bees down here in Honduras for the last 15 years. My current apiary has just trapezoidal-shaped TBHs. I just started it last year but the 30 hives in it all came from swarms, gotten mainly by using trap hives. All the swarm traps I use have the same shape and size as the permanent boxes but shorter, with only eight or nine top bars.

    You have to take into consideration that I’m working with the Africanized bees down here which means there’s lots of swarms. But tbh trap hives work like a charm for me. Last year I caught at least one swarm for every box I hung up. Some of the boxes caught swarms two times.

    One of the main things I like in a swarm trap is to keep them light. I don’t want to lug around and hang up a heavy box, especially considering the coffee farm where I have the apiary. It’s up in the mountains so everything goes up and down. I try to keep the wood parts a thin as possible without losing strength (I weight two hundred pounds but I can stand on them without worrying). The rectangular sides are covered with pieces of aluminum sheets I get from a printer’s shop. This helps to keep the weight down a lot. A small strip of wood runs along the top of the side with the aluminum sheet, between the two trapezoidal pieces. The bars rest on this. I cover the top bars with a piece of plastic sheeting and staple it on so the boxes stay dry inside (the swarms start flying down here at the end of the rainy season).

    The only disadvantage is comb breakage during transportation. There’s always several broken combs when I take one of these boxes from my house in the valley up to the apiary in the mountains. I hang them in the bed of the pickup so the rope can sort of absorb the jars from all the bumps in the road. I also ride in the back and keep a hand on them so they don’t start swinging around a lot. I usually have to open them up the same day they get to the apiary in order to fix the broken combs. Luckily though, I haven’t lost any hives because of this. A verticle support on the top bars might help a lot with this problem.

    Right on the farm, where I carry the trap hives by hand from the trees to the apiary, there isn’t any problem with comb breakage. I just need to be careful of not slipping on the steeper parts of the trails.

    To bait the boxes I first sprinkle wax on the inside of them. For the outside I make a strong lemon grass tea (It grows naturally down here) and paint or spray it on. If I’m making the rounds to check the boxes and I see one that still doesn’t have bees, I’ll squirt some more tea on it from a small spray bottle I’ll carry with me.

    This year I’m implementing some rectangular long hives that will use frames but with a wide top bar. I like the idea of having more of a closed system you get with the use of the top bar because it helps to control the Africanized bees. The normal Langstroth boxes have given me problems because they "open up" too much and the bees are harder to keep under control. But at the same time I want the frames so I can use an extractor and see if not destroying the combs might increase my honey production.

    I made several rectangular swarm traps with frames based on this same idea. Each box has seven frames. Three of the six traps I hung up about a month ago already have swarms. It looks like they will work just as well as the frameless trapezoidal boxes. The only problem is that they are considerably more heavy because more wood is used in making them (even though they also have two sides made from the same thin aluminum sheet.)

    These boxes are also really handy for making nucs. I also use one if I need to shake a swarm out of a tree.

    ---------------
    Tom

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Perkasie, PA
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    1,998

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    The adaptability of bees, there keepers, and the management of bees never ceases to amaze me. You wouldn't happen to have any postable photos, would you? Also, do you requeen your swarms, or just go with what you've got?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
    Posts
    230

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    I usually don't requeen my swarms, either with european queens or a new africanized queen.

    European queens aren't available in Honduras. I would have to go to Guatemala or El Salvador and then the price would be too high. Even if there would be european queens here, the price would still be high.

    For the most part the queen that comes with the swarm always seems to start out the hive just fine. The first year with her usually goes well. Requeening would be more necessary for the second year.


    I've got some photos of the swarm traps and the apiary. I just need more time to sit down and send them. Hopefully in the near future.

    Jim b mentioned using cardboard boxes for swarm traps. I've also tried this, baiting them the same way as my regular swarm traps. They worked just fine. It's a cheap enough trap hive but usually only good for one swarm. Because of the rain at the beginning of the swarming season I had to cover them with plastic to make them waterproof. Then the bees would usually start to chew away the cardboard, leaving just the plastic as the wall of the box. This would especially cause problems if it took more than two weeks for me to take them down from the tree.

    ---------------
    Tom

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
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    1,487

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    Tom thanks for sharing you are an inspiration!

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