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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Middlebury, Vermont
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    2,135

    Question Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    I'm interested in your approach to baiting a swarm box.


    Lemongrass oil or synthetic nasonov? How much? How often? In the box? On the entrance?
    Comb? One or two? Or a box full?

    I'm trying to hone my techniques. I tend to put 10 frame boxes in trees or on sheds/barns. I use lemongrass oil or synthetic or both. Usually a few drops in the box before hanging, and then a little wipe or so on the entrance every week or so. I usually only put one or two frames with comb on them - maybe an additional empty frame or two - trying to keep the box as open inside as possible.

    You?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
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    1,888

    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    2 or 3 old brood comb frames, several drops of lemon grass oil on top, no gaurantees for sure. the big thing is are there swarms available?, some places yes some not really.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Whitla Ab. Canada
    Posts
    683

    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    I'm beginning to think LGO is a myth. All I've been using the last 2 years is old comb and my catch rates are about the same or a little better than when I baited them. Bees like to reuse old bee hives so I just try to recreate them with old comb, the funkier the better. I also use old deeps from commercial beeks that are discarded and that are almost black inside from propolis, dirt etc.
    But every sunday afternoon he is a dirt track demon
    In a '57 chevrolet- Jim Croce

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Middlebury, Vermont
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    2,135

    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    I find the LGO or Synthetic nasonov is really useful for helping bees to actually locate the trap. After that, it's dimensions, location, sun comb, etc. But having that strong smell to get scout bees to find it, I think makes a lot of sense.

    I also wonder if LGO actually repels some of the other insects, as it's often found in natural insect repellants. I have watched yellow jackets reach the entrance of a swarm box, and make an immediate retreat; never going in.

    Adam

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Honey Brook, PA, USA
    Posts
    180

    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    I'm interested in your approach to baiting a swarm box.


    Lemongrass oil or synthetic nasonov? How much? How often? In the box? On the entrance?
    Comb? One or two? Or a box full?

    I'm trying to hone my techniques. I tend to put 10 frame boxes in trees or on sheds/barns. I use lemongrass oil or synthetic or both. Usually a few drops in the box before hanging, and then a little wipe or so on the entrance every week or so. I usually only put one or two frames with comb on them - maybe an additional empty frame or two - trying to keep the box as open inside as possible.

    You?
    Interesting thread, besides methodology, I'd also like to hear success rate.

    I have 6 traps, all of different design and construction. Except for the "basket" trap all are 40 Liters or more in volume. I'm a first year "everything" so had no brood comb or used hive bodies. I plan on being a top bar beek.

    The traps' materials:

    1 plastic
    1 basket (~18 L)
    2 wood (constructed from pallets, mainly)
    2 cardboard boxes

    Cardboard boxes and wood are painted w/ latex, one of the cardboard boxes is coated w/ paraffin and some beeswax. Entrance holes vary from 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter w/ nail across to keep out birds. I have rubbed or painted beeswax on the inside. (in some cases I have put wax strips to suggest comb placement).

    Using LGO. Considering trying Swarm commander next year.

    A number of my traps are hung from ropes. Considering converting those to be attached by board and nail.



    Success rate? 0 (zilch).

    But most of the areas I haven't seen any bees either.

    Of 3 places I have seen bees, in one I have a new trap up (one of the wooden ones). Am moving the other wooden one to the third place I have seen bees (and just got permission to put up a trap). The second place (I saw bees) was the waxed cardboard. The box has held up well, but the "board" I used to hang it by, did not. I have fixed the problem and am putting that box up with fresh LGO.

    Note that the cardboard box that had paint alone (two coats) has not held up well.

    I recently communicated to someone who used cardboard successfully, and they wrapped the box w/ saran wrap.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Almond, NY, USA
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    I built 3 new, 40 liter plywood swarm traps, each with 8 new medium frames (with waxed plastic foundation which I rolled extra wax on) in them.

    The tops of the frames & entrance area were Q-tip swabbed with LGO when the traps were hung. Each entrance area was re-swabbed with LGO every 2 weeks and the Q-tip shoved inside the trap after each swabbing.

    Two were in a treeline overlooking a 12 acre hayfield and small swarms finally moved in 3 days ago, after no interest in them for 6 weeks.

    The third is in a suburban backyard had some heavy scouting in & out of it 2-1/2 weeks ago, but high winds with cooler temperatures & rain came the next day and the weather lasted 3-4 days. A swarm hasn't move into that one yet & I re-swabbed the entrance area yesterday.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Middlebury, Vermont
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    2,135

    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    My father and I have caught 7 swarms so far this season. I have caught at least one each year for several years now. I usually have 5 to 8 swarm boxes out, and I probably get an average of about 30% success with them. If I catch one, I make sure to move the swarm and get teh box up again asap, as you often get another. I have already got two this year in the same spot, 10 days apart.

    I would not use foundation myself at all. Even if I didn't have comb. Bees don't recognize foundation as anything useful, unless you sort of impose it on them, and they just don't have room to build much unless they use it. When you've already got the captive bees, it's different. When you're hoping the bees choose your box on their own, then I think you've got to give them what they would use naturally - that is space. So I put in combs and only a few empty wired frames, so that they can perceive the empty volume of space.

    If I didn't have comb, I might ask a beekeeper if they have some - even a chunk of it.

    Adam

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Grand Gorge,N.Y. USA
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    0615161633.jpg0615161634.jpgI use old deep 10 frame honey supers. Have caught 4 swarms this year. I set 6 boxes out .All were caught within the last 2 weeks. One box had 1 frame of old brood comb and 9 empty frames. 1 box had 1 frame of old honey comb and 9 empty frames. I put the same box back up with 10 empty used honey frames and the next day another swarm moved in. The 4 th swarm moved into a box with a frame of foundation and 9 old empty frames. All the boxes were about 8 feet off of the ground, facing south to south east. I also put decaying sticks or blocks of firewood on top of the boxes, mostly to hold the aluminum tops on(plywood under the aluminum also),but also heard here that the wood helps. All boxes are baited with a squirt of Swarm Commander on the top of the furthest frame from the 1 1/4 entrance hole and a squirt at the entrance hole (refreshed weekly)IMG_1592.JPG
    Last edited by rg58612455; 06-20-2016 at 08:18 PM. Reason: added photo

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC
    Posts
    1,303

    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    When I get rid of old dark comb, I cut out the comb leaving about an inch at the top. I use them in bait hives. Wax moths don't seem to destroy it and when a swarm moves in, they will quickly draw out new straight comb in the rest of the frame.

    I also have the theory that bees are as attracted to propalis as they are to wax comb. So I melt propalis to the inside walls.
    Lawrence Heafner
    15 hives; 15 years; TF for 10; Zone 7B

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Middlebury, Vermont
    Posts
    2,135

    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    Nice. The wood-on-top thing is interesting. Stuff sounds crazy, but then again how much do we really know about how the bee sees the world, and what makes her decide what she decides?

    ...that's why I'm asking for your observations.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
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    2,388

    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    Why would anyone want to know my methods? So far I've managed to attract an epic crop or wax moths (last year) and a huge hornet (this year).

    To attract wax moths I use some old dark comb I've retired.

    To avoid attracting wax moths, I've used one piece of not so old comb and the rest foundationless frames, with a little home-made queen lure (clear rum and a couple of dead queens).

    The bees know the trap is there ... I've seen them check it out. But neither swarm this year has thought it a suitable home.

    Next year, I think I'll be trying Swarm Commander.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Honey Brook, PA, USA
    Posts
    180

    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    If I didn't have comb, I might ask a beekeeper if they have some - even a chunk of it.
    Yeah, I tried that with two beekeepers I knew personally. No luck.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    51,336

    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    I think LGO is hard to beat. Four drops is about right. More on the outside to get the smell "out there" is helpful. QMP is helpful. Old dark comb is helpful. The right size if helpful (about the volume of a ten frame deep). Used boxes are helpful. Limited ventilation (no SBB, small entrance) is virtually necessary.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Middlebury, Vermont
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    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    3 out of 4 swarms this year came to traps with a single 7/8" circular entrance. The 4th has a circular 1 1/4" hole.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    6 traps this year, caught 7 swarms so far. Built D Coates style nuc boxes, but made them 2x deep to get the right volume. They only hold 5 frames, which leaves the bottom half empty. I used a cordless dewalt circular saw(6" blade?) to "plunge cut" the entrances, about 4" wide x 3/8" tall. Used wife's makeup pads with LGO inside and a few drops on entrance. Placed a chunk of old brood comb from a house cutout in the bottom. I used new plastic frames with extra wax "painted" on.

    If I left the old comb leaning against the wall, the swarm started work there and drew comb along the wall. Quite a mess. Worked better to lay it flat on the bottom. They began working on the frames then instead. Still lose some comb on the move, as they tend to draw from the bottom of the frames about as fast as the frame itself if I don't move them for a week or so.
    Habitually learning...

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
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    1,888

    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bdfarmer555 View Post
    6 traps this year, caught 7 swarms so far. Built D Coates style nuc boxes, but made them 2x deep to get the right volume. They only hold 5 frames, which leaves the bottom half empty. I used a cordless dewalt circular saw(6" blade?) to "plunge cut" the entrances, about 4" wide x 3/8" tall. Used wife's makeup pads with LGO inside and a few drops on entrance. Placed a chunk of old brood comb from a house cutout in the bottom. I used new plastic frames with extra wax "painted" on.

    If I left the old comb leaning against the wall, the swarm started work there and drew comb along the wall. Quite a mess. Worked better to lay it flat on the bottom. They began working on the frames then instead. Still lose some comb on the move, as they tend to draw from the bottom of the frames about as fast as the frame itself if I don't move them for a week or so.
    interesting.. good insight

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Middlebury, Vermont
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    2,135

    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bdfarmer555 View Post
    ...Placed a chunk of old brood comb from a house cutout in the bottom....Worked better to lay it flat on the bottom. They...tend to draw from the bottom of the frames about as fast as the frame itself if I don't move them for a week or so.
    Interesting. Why wouldn't you just eliminate the plastic foundation, and just put some of the comb in an empty frame? I have one trap where I have some in a frame and a chunk flat, as you describe, and I have caught one swarm in that trap this year.

    The reason I ask is that I find the ease of transferring a swarm to a hive is made so much easier through getting the bees working on frames.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    Interesting. Why wouldn't you just eliminate the plastic foundation, and just put some of the comb in an empty frame? I have one trap where I have some in a frame and a chunk flat, as you describe, and I have caught one swarm in that trap this year.

    The reason I ask is that I find the ease of transferring a swarm to a hive is made so much easier through getting the bees working on frames.
    The reason I layed the chunk of comb in the bottom, was that #1: I have very few wooden frames, #2: the chunk was from a cutout and I don't trust comb from house cutouts, as most have probably had a couple shots of raid in their lives, but they still seem attractive to bees. #3: didn't have any comb I wanted to spare/risk moth or beetle damage. #4 figured they might smell it better closer to the entrance of the trap, as my traps hold 5 frames up in the top.

    It is much easier to transfer when they are working on the frames, I agree. It's one of the drawbacks to the traps I made. I used the cutout comb because I couldn't think of any other use for it, but hated to just throw it out. Didn't want to melt it either. Figured if it had been sprayed, bee exposure would be minimal since they'd be in the trap for a very short time, and wouldn't use it flat on the floor.
    Last edited by Bdfarmer555; 06-23-2016 at 07:50 PM. Reason: Added #4
    Habitually learning...

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    738

    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    I used an old brood comb that I cut into about 2x2 inch peices and spread between my traps. A few I rubberbanded in frames and a few I threw in the bottom of the trap. I figured anything was better then nothing and at some point you have to put the traps up and sometimes I do what is quickest. It is hard to rubber band a small 2x2 inch peice of comb.
    Got three swarms so no record.
    Cheers
    gww

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Covington county , Alabama
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Baiting a swarm trap - your methods.

    I used new 10 frame swarm traps , foundationless frames and swarm commander and caught 36 swarms in 38 traps this year .

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