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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Mahoning/Columbiana County OH
    Posts
    29

    Default How far apart should I put my traps.

    I'm building everything I'm able. One of the first things I made was three nuc size swarm traps. I started to do a little beelining last fall to get ready for my first season as a beekeeper but it got cold before I could track them down. I observed their flight paths from my feeding station enough to know that I have at least three colonies within working distance of my back yard. Being the eternal optimist, I'm going to assume that they will all swarm in my direction early in the spring so I can get a head start on filling as many hives as I can build. (I'm also holding my breath that the U.S. government will start working together with each other and other nations to achieve world peace by July.)

    I've read some of the other threads and stuff from other resources. I've got lemongrass essential oil and 20 opinions on how to use it and whether I need to. I've read that the traps should be placed anywhere from the top of a car to 10 feet in the air in a tree. I'm probably going to go with strapping them to a tree about 6 feet off the ground. As I said I've read several opinions and I decided to go with a height that won't require me to buy a bigger ladder. That and I don't want to tie up my car for that long. My question is, should I put all three in the same general area? I've got about 200 acres to work with plus another 6 acres in another location. The 200 acres is where I did my beelining.

    I spoke to a high school friend of mine who's now the county bee inspector and member of my local beekeepers association. He said that to his knowledge there isn't anyone keeping bees close enough to me for the bees I observed to be anything but feral hives. The six acres is about half wooded mostly oak and maple where I know of at least two small apiaries within a couple miles of me. I may still have time to build more traps although I'm hoping to have at least 10 complete hives built before spring. (I was given a colony in October that had occupied a five gallon bucket, I have someone who's going to let me try a trapout in an historical building in the spring, and a lead on a possible cutout that's in an abandoned building and bothers workers who work next door to it.) Sorry, I'm rambling on.

    My question is, does anyone have any insight on how far apart I should place the traps? I'm new so my theory that they don't build next door to each other in the wild is strictly an uneducated guess.

    I decided to take up beekeeping in August and I've already forgotten more than I thought I'd ever know about beekeeping. No worries though, it'll sink in eventually.
    We get one life. I'm using all of mine.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tulsa OK. USA
    Posts
    846

    Default Re: How far apart should I put my traps.

    Anyone living nearby? If so ask them if they see swarms in the spring, a swarm often lands within a short distance from the parent hive and then moves on to their new home. My sister lives in Arizona and every spring a swarm lands in a tree in her front yard and she calls a local keeper to come pick it up. The keeper found the feral hive 100 yrds from her house, this year he is set to place a trap in her yard. If you find a feral hive you may want to set more than one trap or be ready to set a replacement trap as a real strong hive may throw two or more swarms each year and if you catch a swarm there might be others from the same hive a few days or a couple of weeks later. Jim
    Stop and smell the flowers, 50,000 ladies can't be wrong
    Bsweetapiary@aol.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Pickaway/Fairfield Cty, OH
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: How far apart should I put my traps.

    Quote Originally Posted by djdhays View Post
    My question is, should I put all three in the same general area? I've got about 200 acres to work with plus another 6 acres in another location. My question is, does anyone have any insight on how far apart I should place the traps? I'm new so my theory that they don't build next door to each other in the wild is strictly an uneducated guess.
    They say that placing swarm traps is like fishing. So, spread them out unless you know of a honey hole!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Mahoning/Columbiana County OH
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: How far apart should I put my traps.

    Thanks for the insight. I'm beginning to think that I am going to be limited by my ability to build equipment fast enough. Thanks to you guys and you tube I'm learning about splits, queen rearing, swarms. I got my first colony about 7 months before I thought I would and now I'm learning that I could, in theory, be a professional beekeeper in just a couple years! I could retire from my job! I could be rich! As long as I never get stung this is going to work out better than I'd ever imagined. I'm joking of course. I've already been stung once. I don't really care for it but I at least I know it won't drive me away from the hobby. I wasn't joking about the thank you though. Most of my neighbors are family and they would have told me by now if they'd seen swarms. I'll ask my other neighbors though. If it is truly like fishing, I might as well burn my traps because I won't catch anything.
    We get one life. I'm using all of mine.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Barry, TX USA
    Posts
    861

    Default Re: How far apart should I put my traps.

    "I'm beginning to think that I am going to be limited by my ability to build equipment fast enough"

    You can build quite a few Coates style swarm trap nucs in an afternoon. Coming up with frames for them quickly might be a challenge. You can place them without frames and place frames in them later if you want to be sure not to miss some swarms. Getting them in a hive would be more challenging for you but also would be a good experience for a new beek.

    "they would have told me by now if they'd seen swarms"

    From my experience I can tell you that non-beekeepers are not attuned to looking for bees. I can be outside with others and notice all kinds of bee activity and those around me will be astonished that they didn't see it.

    Good luck with your swarm trapping endeavors. I think it's the best way for a hobbyist to get more bees.
    When you stop learning you're dead.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Mahoning/Columbiana County OH
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: How far apart should I put my traps.

    When I said they'd tell me if they saw swarms before I only meant that as much as I've been talking about bees, they would have pointed it out. You're right though, they wouldn't have noticed probably unless the swarm was moving. I saw one moving to a tree in our childhood home when I was about 13. They're very hard to miss when they're flying.

    The traps, like you said, I can slap together pretty quickly. I do build my own frames and hives. That's what takes a lot of time. I use finger joints on the boxes in the hopes that they'll last as long as I do. If this venture ever makes a profit I will go to commercial frames. So far I've made 60 deep frames and the pride of doing it myself is starting to fade. I may very well be kicking myself later this year if my homemade spacing tool isn't adequate. (frames that don't space themselves are much quicker and easier to make.) I'm going to experiment a little, provided I get enough bees to experiment with. Some of the frames will have thin strips along the top bar with a coating of bees wax and some will have a starter strip of wax foundation, which another club member suggested. All but 10 have four horizontal strands of 20# monofilament fishing line for support. (those 10 have 50# because that's what I had when I started.)
    We get one life. I'm using all of mine.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    642

    Default Re: How far apart should I put my traps.

    "I'm beginning to think that I am going to be limited by my ability to build equipment fast enough"

    That was my exact problem last year and it like to kill me keeping up building equipment, I was prepaired for 5 hives and ended up capturing 27. This year by April 1st I will have 40 new hives built, plus 20 five frame nucs, and 30 three frame mating nucs. I'm affraid of losing my real job if I don't keep my part time job under control.

    Don

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Barry, TX USA
    Posts
    861

    Default Re: How far apart should I put my traps.

    I need to keep my off farm job to support my livestock habit! Sometimes it's hard to manage it all but you'll find the limits and make some margin for yourself and your own sanity.
    When you stop learning you're dead.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Mahoning/Columbiana County OH
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: How far apart should I put my traps.

    I was hoping to have 20 ready but I've been working a lot of 12 hour days. I might make 10. On the up side, if I keep working 12 hours a day, I'm sure I'll be able to convince the boss to let me spend some money to buy the equipment I need. One hour of overtime will buy more than I can build in 3 hours in the shop. (I don't make a huge amount of money, I'm just really slow in the shop.)
    We get one life. I'm using all of mine.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Barry, TX USA
    Posts
    861

    Default Re: How far apart should I put my traps.

    I've got about 20 of them. A few of them are still out there - need to round them up. Plan to build some more this weekend. Going to build a few 8 or 10 frame traps that will be side by side with 5 frame traps to hopefully affirm Dr. Seeley's research. I hate to contradict PHDs. Big family project - everyone is pitching in. I'm going to give CharlieB and Odfrank a run for their money this year. Gonna start a thread where we post a pics of a successful trapping unless someone beats me to it. Since I'm the south and winter has been nonexistant this year I have a chance to post the first one. Swarm season is just around the corner. It's on. Good luck.
    When you stop learning you're dead.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Mahoning/Columbiana County OH
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: How far apart should I put my traps.

    Winter has been pretty mild here too but I think we've still got several corners to get around. I expect that since I've been looking forward to it for so long, we'll probably have two feet of snow in late April and it won't get above 50 again until late May. Pretty pessimistic for an optimist. Still not hanging the traps just yet.
    We get one life. I'm using all of mine.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Liberty, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    167

    Default Re: How far apart should I put my traps.

    I agree with "spread em' out" put one or two on your place and a couple in other locations.
    Jason Bruns
    LetMBee.com YouTube

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Athens, greece
    Posts
    134

    Default Re: How far apart should I put my traps.

    I am wondering, how much close to a swarm trap, must a scout bee fly, so that can understand that there is a home there?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Liberty, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    167

    Default Re: How far apart should I put my traps.

    Drakos: I don't know how far scouts will fly, but I have read as far as 2 miles. How authors arrive at a figure like that I do not know. I would just put your trap in a suspected areas and see what happens. Last year was my first season trapping. It has changed my beekeeping life. I have said it 5 times on similar posts, this is like fishing. You will find good spots and bad ones. Look for patterns then replicate, replicate, replicate. Make one or two extra traps. When one is occupied remove it and put another one up. I caught three last summer out of one tree each two or three weeks apart. Don't over think it, and good luck.
    Jason Bruns
    LetMBee.com YouTube

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Athens, greece
    Posts
    134

    Default Re: How far apart should I put my traps.

    Thank you for the reply, but I think I was not clear enough. You see It is not my mother language.
    I mean, in what distance from a trap must a bee fly, what is the bigest distance that a bee can <<smell>> the trap and go for it.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,988

    Default Re: How far apart should I put my traps.

    I believe you are asking... From what distance can a honey bee be lured to a trap by the smell of the lure/trap?

    I do not know. Good question. I will wait for experienced answer.

    Best wishes,
    Ed

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Athens, greece
    Posts
    134

    Default Re: How far apart should I put my traps.

    Thanks, exactly that!!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: How far apart should I put my traps.

    Dr Seely in his book said that swarming bees will travel great distances to find a new home. Something like 7 miles if I recall correctly. Best results were around 1-2 miles.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,988

    Default Re: How far apart should I put my traps.

    Yes, I agree with what you say about scouts traveling long distances. I think the bees "smelling" the lure is at a shorter distance as they probe the forest edges and the perimeters of buildings. I would think that a lot of the bee's search is visual...looking for that dark "hole" or "crack" and then investigating it closer. The smell may draw them in and it may also convince them that "this is the place".



    Ed

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