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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Clinton, Illinois
    Posts
    95

    Angry Not catching swarms - what gives?

    I used to use those cylindrical type swarm traps that are made from some type of pressed paper and I would routinely catch swarms.... I have abandoned them since they don't last forever in favor of nuc boxes that last much longer. In all cases, I use lemongrass oil as a lure. I simply dab a bit on both ends of a Q-tip and place inside about every other week.

    I haven't caught a single swarm using the nucs now in 2 years and getting more than a little frustrated. Surely the bees wouldn't care which I use? The only thing that might be different is that the cylindrical was always empty/hollow whereas the nuc box I may place some frames w/ foundation or foundation with old drawn comb. So far nothing. I've watched 3 swarms fly away in 2 years and who knows how many more I may be missing. Recently I removed the center three undrawn frames thinking maybe the bees would prefer more open area. Both nuc boxes are about 100 feet on either side of my apiary in the same original locations that I used to place the other type of trap. Scout bees always seem interested, but I guess just not enough.

    Right now there's a swarm about 40 feet up in a tree right above my apiary. Been there for 3 days..... I'd sure hate to see them fly away.

    Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    906

    Default Re: Not catching swarms - what gives?

    Nucs are too small per research by Seeley and my own experience. Dr. Seeley says 40 liters volume. I say 2 nucs stacked. The volume is equivalent. Open space is important, I use one smelly old brood comb in the center and wired, but open frames on the sides. The lower box can be left open, with frames only on the top box. I use a deep and a medium or 2 deeps interchangeably.

    A trap of 2 nucs volume will catch 4x the number of a single nuc, more than making up for the extra hardware.

    If you don't catch, move the trap, or put out another in another location. Some spots are better than others -- and good spots, just like fishing holes, will catch and catch and catch.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    797

    Default Re: Not catching swarms - what gives?

    less swarms due to bad winter die-off also is a factor.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    756

    Default Re: Not catching swarms - what gives?

    Curiosity got me this year so I picked up a heat gun to try also. Like most of the stuff I get from HF I took it home and put it to use right away. I found on high it started the smoker in a jiffy!
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,664

    Default Re: Not catching swarms - what gives?

    Winter die off this year was the worst it's been in 30 years. The hives located in heated buildings (homes and businesses) did ok. Feral hives not heated.......

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Cattaraugus,New York, USA
    Posts
    345

    Default Re: Not catching swarms - what gives?

    i second that a single 5 frame deep nuc box is too small for most swarms. I used to use 2 5 frame medium nucs stacked, giving about 1/3 more space to a swarm, but still didnt catch to many using that configuration. The ones I did pick up were usually small swarms. Try a single deep or stack 2 nucs for more room.
    Allegany Mtn. Bee Farm
    Quality Queens and Honey from Western New York

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Brookville, PA
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: Not catching swarms - what gives?

    As others have said, a Nuc is really too small for a large swarm. While they may come and look, if they find a larger area to occupy than your Nuc, they will go to the larger area.
    So far this year, I have captured 5 swarms. Out of those 5, 3 were in regular deep hives and 2 were in cardboard boxes - the size a carton of copy paper comes in. The hives were baited with drawn out comb - 2 or more frames plus frames with foundation and lemongrass oil, and the cardboard boxes were baited with 1 or 2 frames of drawn out comb, or 1 frame drawn out comb / 1 frame of foundation plus lemongrass oil.

    Out of the 5 caught, 1 swarm was a gangbuster swarm - filled the whole hive which I believe came from a wild hive in a tree. The other 2 caught in hives had about 3 full frames of bees. Both of the cardboard boxes were smaller swarms which leads me to believe the 2 frames takes up too much room and larger swarms pass them up. I think from now on, I will just put one drawn out frame in the cardboard box. (Cardboard boxes were shrink-wrapped with plastic and or an extra larger cardboard box placed over it with just the entrance hole matching up to protect from the weather.) - Note - using the cardboard boxes, you really need to watch them closely, if you get a swarm you want to get them into a regular hive quick - they draw comb quickly attaching it to the top of the box and the moisture the bees puts off makes the cardboard soggy.

    I have not noticed feral colonies weakened or dead from the extremely cold winter. Out of 5 feral colonies - 3 in hollow trees, 1 in the wall of an abandoned house, and 1 in the soffit of a lived in house, 4 survived the winter - and the only reason the one in the hollow tree didn't make it was the top of the tree blew over in December exposing the colony. Otherwise I think they would have survived as well.

    I will say swarming season was behind. Here in PA our usual swarm season is May and June. This year I didn't hear of a local swarm until in June, and my last swarm just happened to be last week - July 2nd.

    Put up a double Nuc and see if that doesn't help. If not, move it - perhaps to a slightly higher location or in a slightly different area. Out of the 5 swarms in swarm traps, 1 was caught in a deer stand - 20' high, 1 was caught on the top of a step ladder - 5' - 6' high, 2 were 4' high, and 1 was only 1' off the ground.

    If possible, locate the traps where they get the morning sun, but get afternoon shade.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    McDowell County NC
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Not catching swarms - what gives?

    I keep having swarms from my hives too. Traps don't seem to be working for me, even with the lure pads. Is there not something I can do to catch the swarm before they cluster in the tops of our trees?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Weatherford,Texas,USA
    Posts
    452

    Default Re: Not catching swarms - what gives?

    I agree with JW,
    According to Seeley it is 40 liters. So what I have been doing is making 10 frame deeps out of 3/4 inch plywood. They have been working so far. The reason for the plywood is some times I may or may not have permission to place then where I do. If they get found or destroyed by vandals then I am not out much.

    So the 10 frame deep box with some old comb in it. Some foundationless frames and only a 3/4 inch hole for the bees to use as an entrance / exit. Solid top and bottom and hope for the best. Good luck

    Jason
    "It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    McDowell County NC
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Not catching swarms - what gives?

    I found this swarm catcher on the internet called the swarm bandit. Would you guys tell me if it will work like it says? Thanks.

    http://orrbeesupply.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    797

    Default Re: Not catching swarms - what gives?

    catchy names and internet claims are cheap. post #10 looks good to me. a lure or a few drops of lemon grass oil is a real good idea. the major bee supply houses and some posters on this site offer good lures at modest cost. there are also recipes to make your own. for a start, better to get some somewhere. getting a little past maximum swarm season in a lot of areas.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    McDowell County NC
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Not catching swarms - what gives?

    I've had two swarms here in July. I thought our swarm season was over already. I may try one of these swarm bandits. Wouldn't catching one on the hive be more simple and sure to catch the swarm? The lures don't seem to be working for me, and definately not a "sure thing" to catch my swarms so far. Maybe it's the placement of my traps as I read above. Anymore advice?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    797

    Default Re: Not catching swarms - what gives?

    I was curious and looked at the swarm bandit post. it is a swarm preventer not a swarm trap. other advise: be patient and try some other locations, like a few miles away.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,142

    Default Re: Not catching swarms - what gives?

    If the pressed paper worked and the nuc does not, I think I would give the paper another try.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    McDowell County NC
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Not catching swarms - what gives?

    I was able to speak to Mr. Orr earlier today, he assured me that I would be able to capture the swarming queens with his device and would be able to move the swarms to a new hive within minutes after the bees settle down. The trap houses a sliding door on the back which allows me to trap the swarming queens during the swarm. The swarming bees return to the queen and cluster to the trap for my collection. Once you trap the queen,you collect the swarm cluster in the new hive, then move the trap to the new hive opening in front and open it back up to allow the queen to enter and go to work.

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