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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    1,972

    Arrow How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    I'm wondering about your methods of keeping lure scent in the swarm trap.

    What kind of scent of lure do you use?

    How do you make it last? Or do you revisit often?

    I know about using comb, but what about slumgum, or something else that's not so common?

    What are your approaches to luring or "baiting" the swarm trap?

    Thanks,

    Adam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
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    44

    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    I have found the best results using one or two old but clean brood comb frames, no honey as that could start a robbing frenzy, and a few drops of lemon grass oil at the entrance of the swarm trap. Placed 3 meters (10 feet) off the ground in a cool shade of a tree. Works a treat especially across the road from somebody elses apiary. LOL

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    The best way I've found to preserve Lemon Grass Oil is to put 4 or 5 drops on a piece of paper towel, put the paper towel in a ziplock sandwich bag with several small holes on one side of the bag. Ziplock it and place it on the floor of the trap hole side up. It will last forever! You don't want to have to hoist your traps down every couple of weeks to freshen them up.

    Now some on this forum, (Odfrank, MB) will say, "You don't need to do that, just put a couple drops at the entrance and forget it" or "You just need to put a few drops on a Q-tip and place it in the hive and walk away".

    These old farts mean well but I think you owe it to yourself to bait your traps as efficiently and effectively as you can.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
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    4,653

    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    I love it when young farts waste their time and money and then brag about it. Fools and their money are soon parted. I'll save those paper towels and ziplocks for my lunch box, thanks.
    >I think you owe it to yourself to bait your traps as efficiently and effectively as you can.
    Charlie, when you have caught half as many as I do this year come over and give me some more sage advice.
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 02-04-2012 at 08:30 AM. Reason: quoting

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    San Francisco, CA
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    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    Wow, a little over two hours to respond. I knew it wouldn't take you long. You know I'm just foolin about.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    If I could just find a glass eye dropper, I'd just drop four drops somewhere in the bait hive. The only ones I seem to be able to find are plastic and they melt in EO. So I use a Q-tip, and tip one end in the Lemongrass Essential Oil and the other end in the "Queen Juice" and drop it in the hive. Perfect measurement every time. It lasts a season.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
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    4,653

    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    I am working on a new Craigslist add: "WANTED - Site to place honeybee swarm traps in your backyard or on your rooftop. Must be in the Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco. preferably near Golden Gate Park west of 19th avenue. Will trade for one quart of raw honey. Call JollyOllie at 1800 555-1212"
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 02-04-2012 at 08:31 AM. Reason: again

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    San Francisco, CA
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    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    1,972

    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    As with anything bee-related, geographic region plays into swarm trapping as well. There has to be bees around for a swarm trap to work. Looking around at what's online, one gets the sense that some areas are both warm enough and saturated enough with bee populations, that you could pretty much line a few shoe boxes up on your doorstep with a drop of lemongrass oil in each and get swarms.

    The number of colonies in the area have to affect the success rate of your trap, and my home area is not very well-saturated with honeybee colonies.

    So I guess the details are more important in some areas than in others.

    One thing that people talk a lot about is box size. Tom Seeley's work is often quoted, suggesting a 40L cavity size, but I think his work was centered in New York and Maine. I wonder if region affects the cavity size bees search out. I wonder if bees in harder wintering areas require larger cavities to store in, and will favor those. Haven't been able to find that out.

    I'm working with a bunch of old, 8-frame deep boxes at the moment. I have a bunch of dried out slumgum from the remains of a wax melt, and have had it sealed in plastic with several drops of lemon oil in it. I thought I'd drop a handful of that stuff in each hive with some comb. Then I'm going to take them into the Annapolis Valley during the Spring. The valley is a major fruit-growing area and there's a much higher concentration of bees down that way.

    Haven't yet figured where exactly to put them...

    Adam

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    San Francisco, CA
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    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    I wouldn't worry to much about what to use and where to use it. All good advice given but bees will come. Even sometimes when your not
    looking for them. This was taken in L.A. by the Backwards Beekeeping Club.

    Heater Hive.jpg
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Australia, NSW
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    .
    .
    Wow! An upright wax melter!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    1,727

    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    Ahhhh, spring is coming. And OD and Charlie are still at it! Life is good.

    Gypsi
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Barry, TX USA
    Posts
    862

    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    One thing that people talk a lot about is box size. Tom Seeley's work is often quoted, suggesting a 40L cavity size, but I think his work was centered in New York and Maine. I wonder if region affects the cavity size bees search out. I wonder if bees in harder wintering areas require larger cavities to store in, and will favor those. Haven't been able to find that out.
    I don't mean to denigrate or quesiton Tom Seely's work but I've caught several swarms in 5 frame nucs that are half his optimum size. I've also cut out bees that didn't read his work either. I did read his book and enjoyed it thoroughly. I find that all of my livestock have not read the work of the reigning experts. Sometimes good enough is perfect.
    When you stop learning you're dead.

  14. #14
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    May 2011
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    San Francisco, CA
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    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    Quote Originally Posted by beyondthesidewalks View Post
    Sometimes good enough is perfect.
    Well said and to prove your point, here's another one in a buried power meter box. We have an epidemic of illiterate bees.

    Power meter box.jpg
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Barry, TX USA
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    862

    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    I guess I have to admit that I stole "Good enough is perfect." from Joel Salatin. It was in one of his early books, can't remember which one. They're all good if you like his way of looking at farming.
    When you stop learning you're dead.

  16. #16
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    May 2011
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    San Francisco, CA
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    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    That's ok, I'm stealing all the photo's in my post on this thread from Backwards Beekeepers so what's the diff?
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    Seeley's experiments show what bees find optimum -- when they have options where all else is equal. When they are given options of a box the size of a 5 frame nuc, and a box the size of a ten frame deep which are both dry, have an acceptable entrance, etc then they'll choose the bigger box. Seeley's work doesn't say they won't choose a space 15L in size - it does say that they'd rather have one 40L if they can find it.

    Just because people catch swarms in 5 frame nucs or mailboxes doesn't mean that bees like those the best - but it does prove that they will happily move into those spaces when they can't find a better solution fast enough. And it is also likely that the 5 frame nuc with comb and/or lemongrass oil fulfills enough of their requirements in other regards. As you say, "good enough is perfect" - and as options out in the regular world go, a five frame nuc box, with a nice entrance size, dry interior, drawn comb etc probably looks pretty perfect most of the time.

    It comes down to odds in many ways. When you create a swarm trap, you're stacking the odds in favor of the bees finding and choosing your box. Seeley's work simply helps us by giving us a selection of ways to stack the deck. If 5 frame boxes work in your area, it's crazy not to use them. They're smaller, less material, easier to handle...

    But Seeley's work does suggest that if Odfrank has his 5 frame nuc box out on his picnic table, and his neighbor has a 10 frame out on his picnic table, the bees will choose the neighbors box.

    But how often do they have both to choose from?


    Adam

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,605

    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    """But Seeley's work does suggest that if Odfrank has his 5 frame nuc box out on his picnic table, and his neighbor has a 10 frame out on his picnic table, the bees will choose the neighbors box.""""


    That would be an interesting experiment for someone looking for a project for a Master BeeKeeper Certification or college credit. Place 10 frame deeps, and 5 frame Nucs, side by side, in several locations . See which one they choose. Obviously, would not be perfect, (one might have better comb, no holes, more holes, etc.) but, would be a good study.

    Regardless what the study concludes, and what Adam Foster Collins said above, I am betting on Odfrank rather than his neighbor. Odfrank can catch swarms in a fruit jar. (HA!!!!) cchoganjr

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    1,727

    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    Ok, just because I can, I'm adding a baited last year's deep next to my baited nuc on the lot, where my bees were last year, and about 10 feet from where I caught a swarm last year.

    We shall see. (Brick house trapout goes up tomorrow - so the comb available for regular swarm trapping is limited to 1 frame each box. I do have empty deep frames now.)

    Maybe I can beat both OD and Charlie's records, who knows? I have a lot of locations to choose from, and I KNOW where the bees are, because they drink out of my customer's ponds...

    Gypsi
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
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    4,653

    Default Re: How do you "bait" your swarm traps?

    Charlie would make a lot more honey if he used the right size valve box.


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