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Thread: Swarm trap size

  1. #1
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    Dec 2010
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    Okanagan, BC, Canada
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    Default Swarm trap size

    Will a 5 Frame Nuc Trap work? With 5 Deep frames that is. And a entrance of 2" W x 1/2" H . I was thinking it would be cool as it has a nice double purpose or will no bees want to go in to it?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    If you bait it with lemongrass essential oil a five frame deep nuc works fine. If you don't, then I'd go with at least a ten frame deep and some old comb.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    A hole with a disc entrance is easiest to close and move securely.




  4. #4
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    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    1 1/4 in hole with can lid
    1.jpg
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    Or just a 1 1/4" hole, some #8 hardware cloth, and a few thumbtacks works.

  6. #6
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    Campbell River, BC, CA
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    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    For those of us that dont have a woodshop of any type, or the resources to build boxes, I'm wondering what the more experienced swarm catchers think about using the cheap cardboard nuc boxes as a swarm trap ? At just a few bucks apiece, they seem to be an inexpensive way to set out a trap, but I'm wondering if it's a waste of effort because the bees will avoid the cardboard for some reason ?

    We have access to a location that is well known to be a prolific source of swarms. Friends of ours in town, own a house, that has had a colony of bees in the eaves for at least the last 20 years, and the previous owner (currently our neighbor) has told of countless times they had local beeks come to fetch swarms in that yard. That particular yard has a history of a couple swarms a year, for most of the last 20 years, which we have confirmed with current and former owners of the property. We dont have a lot of surplus comb (this was our first year with bees), but I've been considering a couple cardboard nuc boxes with a frame of comb, and some lgo for that location this spring. I dont have the tools / space / time / inclination to build boxes, so my choices are, buy more woodenware for the traps, or, buy the cardboard nuc boxes.

    The concepts I keep pondering, and really dont know what the issues are boil down to these:-

    1) Is a 5 frame box big enough, or should it be 10 frames ?
    2) Is there a good reason (other than re-useability) to go for wood over cardboard for a trap ?
    3) Is it worthwhile to set out both sizes ?

    I really dont know if the colony in the eaves has really been there all of this time, or, if it's just a spot found annually by swarms. But, talking to current and former owners, we do know that spot has had a colony of bees every summer for the last 20 years. The owners do not want the bees removed, they feel it's part of what makes that old house unique. Historically, there is no shortage of swarms in the area.

    So, I'd like to set trap(s) there, and, try maximize the chances of catching any swarms coming from the bees in that eave. I'd appreciate input from those of you with more experience in this area.

    Thanks.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    2) Is there a good reason (other than re-useability) to go for wood over cardboard for a trap ?
    If you do buy a wood nuc, you will be able to use it.
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  8. #8
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    Nov 2011
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    Winhall, VT
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    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    Many have had success with 5 frame deep nucs. As Michael says the lemongrass oil seems to help greatly.

    I just completed 4 new traps that are a bit larger than a standard deep. They are 41 liter capacity boxes modified to hold frames with ventilation hole in bottom and a 1.25" entrance hole. Here's one of em . . .

    swarm trap.jpg

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    >>using the cheap cardboard nuc boxes as a swarm trap ?
    Cardboard boxes work:


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    The cardboard boxes I've used, even though waxed, don't hold up for extended periods of time under the elements. A few days is fine, a few weeks may be pushing it (at least in my experience).

    If you can't build boxes, just use standard equipment. A five frame nuc box if you have it, if not a deep or medium hive body.

  11. #11
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    Jan 2012
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    Liberty, Indiana, USA
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    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    Cg3: Those lids are awesome! One more way for me to repurpose more trash. Thanks.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    I have come to the conclusion that five frame nucs though a convenient size for trapping, are too small. Larger swarms might be discouraged, and swarms that fill them up need immediate attention if on all drawn comb. Any future ones I build will be eight frame width.

  13. #13
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    Liberty, Indiana, USA
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    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    Size:
    I have been using 2 sizes. Some are 8 frame boxes and some are 10. The 10's are old ratty deeps that smell like bees. The 8 frame boxes I made from scraps and don't smell like bees. I don't know if it was the size or the smell (most probably smell), but the 10 frame boxes have perform about 4:1 for me.
    2011-05-31 Swarm at the House 36.JPG
    This is of 2 loaded traps on the garden sink that didn't get a chance to get hung up that day. The one on the right (10 frame) caught this swarm. The one on the left (8-frame) picked up a swarm 3 days later. (so much for them needing to be 10' off the ground.)

    Especially early in the swarm season having a larger trap may be of value. I had some large primary swarms. Last year I used 5 frames in all of the traps. Some of the primary swarms that I caught filled all 5 and stuck 5-6 more combs from the ceiling (Within 4-7 days). Many swarms through June filled all 5 and added 2-3 more.
    Copy of 2011-06-04 26 COPY.JPG
    This is the largest swarm from last summer. Note the wax all over the front of the box AND the tree. Swarms like this one are why I don't use ladders.

    I use a 1" hole size in most of the traps.

    Question: Has anyone here experimented with nadiring for their second box when hiving swarms?

  14. #14
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    Dec 2010
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    Okanagan, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    Heres what i did tonight in about an hour. Now i need to paint and Make some frames for it. Would you put frames in that are empty with plastic or wax foundation? or leave the box with just frames and no foundation at all for them to feel like its a big hollow??


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    >1) Is a 5 frame box big enough, or should it be 10 frames ?

    With lemongrass oil for lure, 5 is. Without lemongrass oil they will prefer the larger one.

    >2) Is there a good reason (other than re-useability) to go for wood over cardboard for a trap ?

    Cardboard, eve wax coated, does not weather well. Wood is a better investment. The bees won't care.

    >3) Is it worthwhile to set out both sizes ?

    I use old boxes. What I have is the most worthwhile... otherwise I would buy whatever size box I use for my brood (in my case that's an eight frame medium) and use that.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    odfrank, I can't believe you said "Any future ones I build will be eight frame width".

    I'm glad to see you've come over to the eight frame camp instead of playing around with those silly little Nuc boxes.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  17. #17

    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    I catch more swarms in a 10 frame deep then I do nucs. Baited with drawn comb, LGO and a 3/4 inch hole.

  18. #18
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    Liberty, Indiana, USA
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    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    Actually after sleeping on it I wonder if a 5 frame nuke box will be fine, for attracting a swarm suited to a home that size. I wonder if somehow they know how many bees are in the swarm and if it factors in to the scouts decisions. Usually right after they essue they converge into a single "glob". Who knows...
    Whether that's the reason or not, I made 12 more 10-frame traps for next summer. They did that much better, I don't care why.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    There's no "one size fits all" swarm traps. That's why I use a combination of different sizes and let the bees decide. I was joking about the nuc boxes. They make great swarm traps.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Swarm trap size

    Anyone have some good cut sheet on the 8 frame swarm boxes. I could just add to the width 3 frames size and go from there Probably will suck a bit more on recovery tho. I will put them in the to do pile. So if i have no extra drawn out comb just put in 5 frames with foundation( I use plastic) And some Lemon grass oil in a ziplock with some paper towel and wait???

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