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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    3,130

    Default Advise on luring a swarm

    I have built my first hive, total cost 40ish dollars, But am trying to do this on no budget. I was scrounging materials for the first hive and finally gave in and bought the 1X12's, wire cloth and a good quality primer and paint. So I think I was about 50% successful. I am now on the look out for materials for my second hive.
    In the mean time I am not going to get very far at all without bees. My first plan is to lure bees to my hive. Any suggestions on how to make a hive more appealing? I have seen lemmon grass oil mentioned. I have also read quite a bit on lure boxes or nuc hives. using cobs of brood, smashing up old queens in alcohol etc. Remember I don't have bees, I also don't have a nuc hive. I do have a top bar with a follow board that allows me to reduce the effective space of the hive. I don't have a lot of hope in finding a swarm but no reason not to maximize my chances. I can't get bees til next spring anyway and most of the bees will be swarming around here by then. Never know I might get lucky and have one move in. then I have something to work with to populate my other hives and makes improving a matter of the cost of a queen rather than a whole nuc or package.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,554

    Default Re: Advise on luring a swarm

    The most helpful thing is lemongrass essential oil.

    The next most helpful thing is some QMP (you can buy bee boost from Mann Lake. I have used it but usually use retired queens in a jar of alcohol to get mine).

    The next most helpful thing is old brood comb.

    Then it's like fishing. If you pick the right spot with the right bait (listed above) you will probably get one, but you won't know it's the right location until you do...

    I would build the bait hive and buy some bees...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    7,047

    Default Re: Advise on luring a swarm

    MB is right again! When you want to "fish" for swarms they are not forthcoming. When you are short on hives there will be swarms everywhere with no where for you to put them
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Pembroke Pines, Florida
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Advise on luring a swarm

    All,

    What is the correct procedure / ratio to use Lemongrass essential oil? For a bait hive, Do I just drop a few drops inside the hive? Or dilute with water to a set ratio and put into a small sprayer to treat the inside of the bait hive?

    Also, Is this the same for Peppermist oil for masking scents?

    RJ

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Marin County, California USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Advise on luring a swarm

    As far as building hives goes, it is FAR cheaper to buy them than to build them. I built 2 hives using new wood that I bought from Home Depot and it cost about $40. You can buy unassembled hives from Humble Abodes for about $10. and even w/ the shipping it will cost you less time and $$. Also you can get swarm lures on ebay from bjornbee that smell like lemongrass oil and worked for me. check out this vid on you tube on how to build a swarm trap for (almost) free. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvmZG2tuELY GOOD LUCK, o

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Bergen, Norway
    Posts
    248

    Default Re: Advise on luring a swarm

    Checked the humlbe abode, and could not find any hive at $10. Closest thing was one hive-body or a nuc-box. Please link to the amazing 10$ hive.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    collbran, co
    Posts
    549

    Default Re: Advise on luring a swarm

    place some sugar water inside....to attract some bees

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Marin County, California USA
    Posts
    29

    Default luring a swarm

    hey D,
    I meant deep box.
    http://humbleabodesinc.com/index.php...&products_id=3
    if you use this to HUMBLE ABODE INC you will see that the 9 1/2 budget boxes are $9.35.
    sorry you thought you would find a hive for $10.
    o
    Last edited by otto; 10-05-2011 at 11:15 PM. Reason: wrong word

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,554

    Default Re: luring a swarm

    >What is the correct procedure / ratio to use Lemongrass essential oil? For a bait hive, Do I just drop a few drops inside the hive?

    Yes. If you have an eye dropper put about two or three drops. If you don't, then dip a q-tip in it.

    The QMP I either dip the other in in Queen Juice (queens in alcohol) or a quarter of a Bee Boost strip (see Mann Lake).
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Bergen, Norway
    Posts
    248

    Default Re: luring a swarm

    Quote Originally Posted by otto View Post
    sorry you thought you would find a hive for $10.
    o
    I did not really expect to find a $10 hive. But when I read you first post, I read it a a whole hive, not a hive body/box.

    From what I can see, a complete hive would cost from about $60 and up +freight, while Daniel made it at $40 himself -including paint as I read it.

    Anyways, Pallets can be a good and cheap source for material. Especially If you can get single use pallets that have been used with heavy items, as they have nice and thick planks. Check with machine-shops and thelike.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,130

    Default Re: luring a swarm

    Thanks for the info on the hives. I also get about a $60 total for a hive and still no frames which would add maybe $10 per box. That is still a very good price on a longstroth hive.
    I manage a warehouse so pallets are easy to get. I didn't go that way on my first hive because I wanted to make it a little nice and not take chances on what is okay and what is not. In short I don't want to make "Good enough" decisions until I have more experience. I have not been able to locate anyone locally yet that keeps bees or I am sure a lot of this would be a lot easier.

    For now I am going to put a few drops of the lemon grass essential oils in the hive with a little sugar water and let the hive set. It is starting to get to late for this year. It turned rainy and cold yesterday. Knowing our weather it will get warm again but I don't know how active bees will get. I will save the QMP for the spring when the chances of catching a swarm are greater.

    I am also thinking of making a couple of wood nuc hives and use them as swarm traps. I don;t think the cardboard trap that is meant to only last a couple of days will work. We have bees here but not tons of them (dessert). I may be a while catching a swarm. I work for a University and I asked the grounds manager the other day if they ever had swarms in irrigation boxes etc. He said he had never heard of one. They did have bees in one of the building earlier this year but I think they poisoned them. I asked him to let me know if they have bee problems again I would like to capture the hive. So at least I have one contact out there. The University is like a small city so the chances of coming up with at least one hive next spring are pretty good as long as I can get the word spread. I have tried to capture one hive from a roof. But not wanting to tear up the persons home I was not able to get it. No gear, no bee vac, no hive to put them in and no real idea of what to do other than look for the queen. I didn't know I should just start cutting out there comb etc. Sure wish I had a site like this back then. It would have at least given me a decent chance of capturing it. As it was that hive was killed and they tore the ceiling apart to remove the wasted honey. Maybe I can become the Universities bee removal person. They are very eco consious but need things done when they need them done sort of thing. If I can show them bee can be removed without danger to the public. I should have a good chance at getting any hives they find.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,984

    Default Re: luring a swarm

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    with a little sugar water
    Sugar water and honey attracts ants which discourage swarms. Dry, empty black combs attracts bees. Honey attracts ants, pollen attracts moths and SHB.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,554

    Default Re: luring a swarm

    >place some sugar water inside....to attract some bees

    It may attract foragers, but you want to attract scouts who are looking for a home. The downsides odfrank covered above.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,715

    Default Re: luring a swarm

    Also remember swarms normally only happen for a short time period. It is normally for a month or so right before the main flow for your area. You can also try your local 911 call center and see if they have a swarm list to add your name to.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Martin, Tn
    Posts
    75

    Default Re: luring a swarm

    Another thing that no one has mentioned, if you are adventurous you could try bee lining. esentially you capture a few bees and put them into a special box. you can find plans for the box online. You let one bee free at a time and watch it until its out of sight. walk to where you lost sight of the 1st bee and release another one. continue until you find the colony. For more details just google bee lining. college actually do it and compete w/ each other to see who can use the fewest bees.
    Jason Young

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Pickaway/Fairfield Cty, OH
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: luring a swarm

    I caught my first swarm this year using lemongrass EO. I put a few drops of the oil on an absorbent pad (I cut a piece of one of those puppy pee pads) and put that pad into a zip lock baggie. Then I stabbed the baggie with my cappings scratcher to put some tiny holes in there to release the oil slowly. I put that baggie into a nuc box I built and I caught a swarm less than a week later, but it was during prime swarm season around here (May/June). I maintained the bait hive the rest of the year in the same location and caught no more.

    I must say it felt good to put out an empty box and have bees move in! I'll be putting out a bait hive or two from now on!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: luring a swarm

    If you read "Honeybee Democracy" by Dr. Seeley you will learn all you ever wanted to about swarms and then some. Basically a 40 liter box with some lemongrass oil and some old comb with a 1.25" inch entrance hole with a nail across it about 2" from the bottom edge. I am building a bunch of these for fun this winter out of scrap 1/2" plywood that I get for free.

    40 liters is about L14" X W13" XH14".

    I am modifying this size to be able to hang some frames (about 3) with comb on it so I am making one side longer by a few inches and taking it off the other side. The depth will remain about 14" to give the swarming bees the feeling of room below the frames that hang above the entrance. Time will tell.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Re: luring a swarm

    Quote Originally Posted by Keth Comollo View Post

    40 liters is about L14" X W13" XH14".
    Uh, I may be way off base but I think 40 liters is something like 10-1/2 gallons...I don't think that's going to fit in a 14x13x14 container. ???

    Ed

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Advise on luring a swarm

    A box shape that has dimensions 14 inches by 14 inches by 13 inches has a volume of:

    Volume
    = 0.041754 cubic meters
    = 41754 cubic centimeters
    = 0.054612 cubic yards
    = 1.4745 cubic feet
    = 2548 cubic inches
    = 11.03 U.S. gallons
    = 41.754 liters
    * calculations accurate to 5 decimal places of precision

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