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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    Posts
    54

    Default Can I catch/lure a swarm with empty hive & a few frames of honey?

    My two new packages arrive tonight. Yesterday a friend gave me 10 frames of drawn out comb to help me get kick started. A few of the frames had some honey in the corners still.

    After putting the frames into my empty hives, I ran inside for an hour, came back out and found some bees robbing honey. No clue where these bees are from. I quickly shut the hives up and totally closed the entrance.

    My thoughts are, can I set up an empty hive down a few feet, and put in a bunch of empty frames, and a couple frames with honey on them? If it doesnt lure a swarm, will it keep the pressure off my new hives by giving them easy honey to rob?

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

    Default Re: Can I catch/lure a swarm with empty hive & a few frames of honey?

    If you want to set out a hive to be robbed, in hopes of taking some robbing pressure off of your hives, then put it as far away from your hives as is possible (i.e. at the very furthest corner of your property, unless you own >5acres). If you're wanting to lure a swarm, then the older, darker brood combs seem to do the trick better than any amount of honey stores; to steal a quote from someone who's spent far more time directly studying swarm behavior than myself: "They're (the swarm you want to attract) looking for a recently vacated home, NOT one that's occupied (because swarms)... aren't looking for a fight, just a place to live." That said, a smidgen of honey being "left over" in a comb that you're using shouldn't hurt your swarm catching chances at all, IMHO. It would most likely either have no bearing on attracting/discouraging swarms from moving in, or just *might* put your box "on the radar" if some of the scout bees from a swarm were also among the bees that robbed out the box earlier.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    361

    Default Re: Can I catch/lure a swarm with empty hive & a few frames of honey?

    Honey will only incite robbing--need old brood frames to attract a swarm. Chances are the local colonies would out-compete your package and rob that honey away from you. Also, if the flow is so low that bees are robbing open frames then there will not be any swarms to catch and the robbers may shift to your new hive and rob the sugar water you are feeding them--leaving them with nothing.

    Your best bet is to put the frames in w/ the package. This will get them going the fastest and you won't have to worry about cold snaps. Scratch the cappings before putting the bees in and they will be on it eating as soon as you dump. I set my packages up w/ 4 empty combs in the center, then a honey comb on each side, then another empty at the ends (8 frame med).

    Also, since the locals already found the honey in the empty hive be sure to have the entrance reduced to an inch or so after install (and close the upper entrance, if you have one) so they can defend against the robbers. May take a few days for the robbers to quit trying if there is no flow.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,751

    Default Re: Can I catch/lure a swarm with empty hive & a few frames of honey?

    The honey will not help bring a swarm. The old comb will help. Lemongrass Essential Oil will help more.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Branson, MO
    Posts
    576

    Default Re: Can I catch/lure a swarm with empty hive & a few frames of honey?

    I keep a swarm trap at my office with Lemongrass oil only in it, a couple of weeks ago my boy called and said he had a swarm at his house from one of our hives about a 1/4 mile from the office. When I went out to get the swarm trap to go and get the swarm there were already about 20 scout bees inside the trap checking things out. I took the trap and got the swarm but I think they would have come over anyways. I'm glad I did the next day got down to 35 so they may have made it and may not have.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Can I catch/lure a swarm with empty hive & a few frames of honey?

    OK I think I have found the source of these bees. There is two hives that are 1.9 miles away from me. Will a swarm fly that far for a new home?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,238

    Default Re: Can I catch/lure a swarm with empty hive & a few frames of honey?

    >Will a swarm fly that far for a new home?
    That's alittle far to go, but if they can't find a closer/better home they might. If you are in a wooded area there are hunreds of hallowed trees per square mile.

    I have caught several swarms over 100 yard away and a few about 50 yards away. No way to know for sure where they came from.

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

    Default Re: Can I catch/lure a swarm with empty hive & a few frames of honey?

    1.9mi is too far for a swarm to mov WITHOUT forming a "resting swarm" on the way...
    Essentially, by my understanding, there are 2 ways bees will swarm to a new hive:

    1) Direct-move ... scouts have already found a new home & the bees pretty much go straight there w/o forming a "swarm ball" somewhere. For this to happen, the new home generally has to be within the 1.5mi radius that the bees will forage on a normal basis.

    2) Indirect-move ... the swarm leaves without a decided destination (I believe more swarms are of this type) & form a "swarm ball" somewhere within their 1.5mi radius from the originating hive, then scouts go out from there, looking for their next home. This kind of swarm could, in theory at least, move to anywhere within about a 3 mile radius of their originating hive; possibly even further if they went into their resting "swarm ball" in more than one place (though I've never heard of this actually happening...that anyone's observed).

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