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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Paw Paw, SW Lower Michigan
    Posts
    119

    Default Catching a swarm with an empty hive

    Has anyone had any luck catching swarms with an empty hive? I'm anticpating my only hive to swarm at some point next year and was wondering if I placed an empty hive next door to my existing hive what chance will the swarm move into the empty hive? Is there something I could bait the empty hive with that would increase my chances?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    East Peoria, IL
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: Catching a swarm with an empty hive

    why wouldn't you just split it before it swarms that way your're sure not to lose the swarm?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,086

    Default Re: Catching a swarm with an empty hive

    There is always a chance that the swarm would find your empty hive, however when the swarm issues you may have just enough time to wave goodbye, or they will likely settle on a tree limb, some type of structure such as an overhang of a roof, then scout bees are sent out to find a good place to build a new hive. At this point, they may or may not find your hive box.

    The sure bet is to follow DLMKA's advice and split the hive before it swarms.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    4,969

    Default Re: Catching a swarm with an empty hive

    Many swarm trappers will use a few drops of lemongrass oil to help make hive bodies smell attractive to swarms. Some also use empty brood comb placed in the box.

    http://www.100pureessentialoils.com/...grass+&x=0&y=0

    You can find lots of threads on swarm trapping with Search.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,653

    Default Re: Catching a swarm with an empty hive

    I catch them in empty hives all the time but....the swarm from your hive is more likely to want to move a distance away. Set up some bait hives at neighbor's homes a block or two away. Bait the hive on your stand with old black combs and a few drops of lemongrass oil and you might catch a neighbor's swarm in it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,883

    Default Re: Catching a swarm with an empty hive

    Likewise, I've had lot of luck with swarms finding winter dead-outs. Sometimes I've taken a winter dead-out and added a swarm lure. Sometimes a swarm just moves in to a well-established dead-out with drawn comb.

    But to set up an empty hive next to the one you think will swarm...not a chance. Swarms don't settle that close to their own hive, however, another swarm might move it.

    I'd work to prevent the swarm either through splitting, queen removal, checkerboarding, snellgrove double screen board...your options are many and many of the archives will explain them.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Paw Paw, SW Lower Michigan
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Catching a swarm with an empty hive

    Thanks for the ideas. If I try to split, how and when do I go about it?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    4,969

    Default Re: Catching a swarm with an empty hive

    Lots of useful info at Michael Bush's site. Here's his page on splitting:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    616

    Default Re: Catching a swarm with an empty hive

    Another options is to create a NUC from main hive and guarantee some honey production.

    Remove a couple of frames of brood, and one mostly pollen and one mostly honey and nurse bees. They should grow their own queen or you can introduce a queen. If not, each time you inspect the main hive transfer a frame of brood/eggs and add them to the NUC, so the NUC will grow a queen. However, periodicaly transfer brood frames to keep open brood area in main hive. Replace frames removed with preferrably open drawn comb in the brood nest of the main hive.

    And keep open comb/foundation in the honey supers of the main hive. This and open brood area and some checkerboarding will minimize swarming. The main hive will stay very strong, produce lots of honey, not swarm and you will build up a second strong hive.

    The main hive does not skip a beat, and 250lbs of honey is achieveable.

    If the main hive is strong, you can also readily create a third hive.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Franklin, Louisiana
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Catching a swarm with an empty hive


    I had two hives in my back yard that I hadn't had a chance to clean and repair yet. Two days ago I noticed that a fairly large swarm had moved into one of them. I watched them for a while and noticed a large number of bees flying in and out. They were bringing in lots of white and yellow pollen. Not sure where they are getting it. I put a feeding dish outside my bee yard with some honey to help feed them. I hope they mark it thought the winter.

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