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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Behavior around swarm traps

    I put a trap in an area where I had seen bee activity before. Single used deep with three well used frames of comb. Today, I saw a lot of bees coming in and entering the box. Not regular hive activity, but either investigative, or local bees harvesting some tidbits. No honey in the frames. Can you differentiate between the two behaviors? What would I look for if there is an observable difference? Seems like the bees are checking things out but might just be trying to locate the "goodies".
    Thoughts
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Behavior around swarm traps

    You could watch how they take off...if they're arriving "light" with no pollen on their legs, and leaving "heavy" or laden with pollen, they're thieves...otherwise there's a decent chance they're scouts.

    OR...you could wait a couple three days, check on 'em again & if you see normal hive activity, they were scouts...lol

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: Behavior around swarm traps

    LOL gotcha, I don't think there is anything in the combs though. Didn't see them with pollen baskets laden with anything. Fingers crossed Three days??

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Behavior around swarm traps

    If they are bringing in stores then they may have a queen. When you see a swarm trap with a colony that has moved in the activity is quite busy. You will learn to differentiate between a colony and just scouts soon enough!
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Orinda, California, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Behavior around swarm traps

    You can put your ear up to the side of the box and if you hear one or two lonely bees buzzing in there they are scouts. If there is a low hum there are thousands of bees in there and that have moved in!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,803

    Default Re: Behavior around swarm traps

    Scouts fly around in circles and go in and out the entrance. Some are checking the cracks between box and lid. Wrestling and fighting is a good sign. Killing each other is an even better sign.Lots of bees camping out overnight is a good sign. Scouting can go on for weeks before a swarm arrives. I have seen all of these signs and still had a swarm fail to appear.Once they are established the flight is straight in and out. Pollen entering means the queen is laying.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: Behavior around swarm traps

    Odfrank,
    Sounds like they scouting vs stealing. Interesting, I noticed the wrestling and fighting. Any thoughts on what that's about? Maybe they are arguing over what color the new curtains will be LOL Would a second box nearby increase chances? I'll put a second one up anyway for any after swarms. This and raising Queens are hands down two of the most fascinating/fun things in beekeeping.
    The bees in the swarm I got last year,(different location) were all the same color and markings. The bees scouting this box are mixed. Their are dark bees with these. I guess that means they were somebodies bees at one time. Could we still call the survivors? I guess there is no real way to know.
    Thanks

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Behavior around swarm traps

    Dark bees, often, are feral survivors, as they really haven't been imported in any significant numbers for over a hundred years. That said, I've been informed that Russel Apiaries sells them now.
    Anywise, my guess about the fighting thing is that bees from @ least 2 different "mother hives" are scouting it & arguing over who gets to swarm into that location...so the other box might be a grand idea

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Orinda, California, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Behavior around swarm traps

    I noticed activity really ramps up on a warm still day with bees buzzing around all the cracks and seams on the trap. I think when the lemongrass oil heats up they go bonkers!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: Behavior around swarm traps

    I watched the trap for a while this morning. Lots of activity. I had to leave at noon. There was 20 some bees around, in and out most of the time. This box is on top of a building in the woods at a park where I work part time. My daughter and her friend were at the playground with the friends' daughter. My daughter calls me about three oclock and tells me a swarm of bees came out of a bush by the playground, flew over and headed into the woods. I coaxed her into going and looking at the box. She said there were bees around but the box but the swarm was flying around in the trees. Hard to say but I'm hopeful. I'll find out tomorrow.
    I put a second box about 75 feet away from the other. The bees were checking it out within the hour. Amazing

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