I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    Waller County, TX, USA
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    Default I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    Its too late to order bees locally without shipping and I want to attempt to attract some. I have an empty medium super, with undrawn frames/foundation and I can get some lemongrass oil. Is this all I need? Id like to do this on the cheap, otherwise, it negates its purpose!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Blacksburg, VA
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    653

    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    Hang it up in a tree 8 to 15 feet up. If you have any old dark brood comb put a little of that in there too. Some years I catch a lot, others not so much.

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Springfield, Ohio, USA
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    641

    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    Quote Originally Posted by brazosdog02 View Post
    Its too late to order bees locally without shipping and I want to attempt to attract some. I have an empty medium super, with undrawn frames/foundation and I can get some lemongrass oil. Is this all I need? Id like to do this on the cheap, otherwise, it negates its purpose!
    I caught a swarm last year with the only trap I put out. It was a 5 frame deep nuc with empty frames and a chunk of burr comb in the bottom, since I did not have any drawn frames at the time. I used a q-tip to paint a line of lemon grass oil around the inside perimeter, about 1 inch from the bottom. It sat at ground level for 3-4 weeks without activity, so I then placed it about 3 feet off the ground. It sat out for about 3 more weeks before I figured I should at least put some foundation into it. The swarm came in exactly as I was carrying the new frames to the nuc. I'll always remember that. The queen landed on one of the frames before I installed it. Once the frames were in, it looked like the nuc was acting like a little vacuum cleaner; the bees just funneled inside. It was a smaller swarm, about 1-1.5 lb.

    So a nuc with foundationless frames and LGO, mounted up off of the ground had been scouted and I just happened to arrive at the right time. I'm now trying to decide if I hit a grand slam on my first at-bat, and whether I'm bound to be disappointed from here on out One thing's for sure: I am setting out more traps this year!
    Pete. New 2013, 12 hives, zone 6a
    To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Fort Wayne, IN
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    1,028

    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    With the winter we are having, I am guessing swarms are going to be in short supply in the midwest. Brazos, I see you are in Texas. You might want to check around with some local beeks or extension types and see what the situation is with Africanized bees in your area if you have not done so already. Those "cheap" bees could get pretty expensive.
    20 hives, 10 years, T and TF, All local stock

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    Waller County, TX, USA
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    167

    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    I have not heard much in the way of Africanized bees here. Im on the gulf coast.

    I do not have a nuc box, so I will use a medium super on a screened bottom board and set it up off the ground 8 feet or so and see what happens. Should I leave the opening open or use an entrance reducer or what? Ill put some LGO on a napkin...a couple of drops...or paint it in a line around the inside a little...and see what happens.

    If I were to catch Africanized bees, is it too big a deal since Im ALWAYS suited up? If they are aggressive I will know it and if I walk away from the hive they should go back in right? Then Ill know I need to re-queen.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    3,291

    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    Quote Originally Posted by hilreal View Post
    With the winter we are having, I am guessing swarms are going to be in short supply in the midwest. Brazos, I see you are in Texas. You might want to check around with some local beeks or extension types and see what the situation is with Africanized bees in your area if you have not done so already. Those "cheap" bees could get pretty expensive.
    Not necessary, the weather has been cold but not that bad, everyone I know hasn't lost any hives yet. Spring and early simmer weather will determine swarming...so far we've had plenty of rain here in the summer/fall to produce a bounty of seeds, good winter rains, so if anything should be above normal if spring cooperates.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    lee county, fl, usa
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    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    Twice I put out boxes that had screened bottom boards and not gotten swarms in them. I get about 5 swarms per season in bait boxes. Not sure if it was the screen they didn't like, but I won't use them anymore. Also, like others have said, foundationless is preferred by the bees. I usually have them a few feet off the ground only because I want to be able to lift them once the swarm moves in and start building their home. I use a frame of drawn black comb, and lemongrass oil. Reduced entrance.
    Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prvb 16:24
    March 2010; +/- 50 hives, TF

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Frisco Texas
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    174

    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    He is my two cents.
    If at all possible find where a feral hive is. I know of two trees with bees in them. If you cannot, a good place is around open fields.
    Use equipment that you have had bees in. Bees are attracted to use equipment
    Use lemon grass, and refresh it from time to time.
    if you catch a swarm in one of your boxes remove the box to your yard, then put another box right back in the same spot. You maybe able to catch a secondary swarm.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    East Texas
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    108

    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    Quote Originally Posted by brazosdog02 View Post
    I have not heard much in the way of Africanized bees here. Im on the gulf coast.

    I do not have a nuc box, so I will use a medium super on a screened bottom board and set it up off the ground 8 feet or so and see what happens. Should I leave the opening open or use an entrance reducer or what? Ill put some LGO on a napkin...a couple of drops...or paint it in a line around the inside a little...and see what happens.

    If I were to catch Africanized bees, is it too big a deal since Im ALWAYS suited up? If they are aggressive I will know it and if I walk away from the hive they should go back in right? Then Ill know I need to re-queen.
    I'd avoid a bottom screen on a trap hive. Bees like dark.

    Sometimes Africanized bees will pursue you for quite a ways. My very first hives were Africanized and I was too green to know any better. Fortunately I had made my own beesuit and with a beginners fear and apprehension....I made it well! Yes, just requeen. Might want to see if you can figure out a way to confine or kill any of the Africanized drones like with hardware cloth big enough for the workers to get through but not the drones. You wouldn't want them mating with any of the queens in your area.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
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    2,080

    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    You may also try to place an ad on craigslist advertising free swarm removal. I'm sure you will get a few calls.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    London, United Kingdom
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    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    I caught a swarm last year with a bait hive. It's a brilliant way to start.
    You need a box with 20-40 litre volume. I think a nuc (or nuc sized) would work. This doesn't have to be a bought brood or super or anything like it. It can be something you knock up in the shed from old ply or osb board. Remember it hasn't got to be able to overwinter. It is better to used brood size frames so you can transfer straight in and leave the bees with all the work they have already done.
    Rub all around the inside of the box with beeswax. If you have some old brood comb from a trusted source then this is a brilliant lure to include in one of the frames.
    Buy some lemon grass oil, fairly cheap stuff, put some on a cotton wool ball in a zip lock plastic bag (mostly closed) to reduce the evaporation speed. Put a few drops on the bait hive entrance.
    Place the hive between 1 and 5 metres from the ground with the entrance facing south. Best placement is somewhere near a source of : water, propolys and nectar.
    Finally, the more you put out the more likely you are to catch.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    Jackson, MO
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    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    Everything so far is right in line with my experiences....except the heighth requirement.

    In my increasingly reluctance to climb ladders, with my fear of laying in the woods until the deer hunters find my corpse next fall, I've gone to hanging my traps about 6 feet (roughly shoulder high) so I put up and remove my traps with both feet planted on solid ground.

    I have had some remote yards with winter losses. I make a mental note (first mistake) to come back, pick up the dead out, and clean out the dead bees, and set it back up for a split. By the time I get back to this yard as it comes up in my rotation of outyards (second mistake), a swarm has taken up residence. No lures, just a lived-in smell and old comb. And don't get me wrong, I like the lure. LGO is fine, but there is something better and cheaper on the market.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO https://www.createspace.com/4106626
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  14. #13
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    Aug 2013
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    London, United Kingdom
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    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    Agreed height isn't a big deal and you should certainly place it in such a way that it is easy to retrieve, remember it will be heavier when full of bees.
    Research has shown 1 to 5 metres works quite well. It is certainly a good idea to have it off the ground to reduce tampering (by animals and humans), and having it at a height where anyone walking by cannot unintentionally get in the flying line of the bees is sensible.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    oneonta al.
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    848

    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    I've used swarm lure that was ordered from Mann lake & it worked real well. As others has said.I did better with it hanging about head high.Although I did catch some lower.
    Main thing is,Make sure there is bees around. LOL,
    The swarm lure did smell like lemons,Was wondering if the lure is any better than just the LGO,Has anyone ever compared the two?

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Hartville, Missouri, USA
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    214

    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    I also bought the swarm lure from Mann Lake, before I heard about using lemongrass oil. I am now wondering if I should use the lure and lemongrass oil together, or if they could somehow conflict and not be effective. For that matter, they could work together and be more effective, I just don't know. Does anyone have a recommendation?
    Hobbyist beekeeper since 2002

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
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    641

    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    Chemguy,I enjoy your success!
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    United States, Lake County, IL
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    An 8 frame medium hive box is about 20L by my calculation. Would nailing together two of those with a bottom board and a cover and putting it up in a tree be a reasonable way to try this?

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Dolianova, Sardinia, Italy
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    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    I also agree that height is probably not necessary to catching swarms, based on what I have seen of the preference of feral honey bees at least in my area. There are two feral colonies in the property next door to mine that have built their nests at the base of the bole of two olive trees, amongst their roots, essentially underground. My neighbor tells me this is common practice with them; they've evidently been at it for years now with trees all over his property.

    John

  20. #19
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
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    4,487

    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    I trapped about 4 using old comb, & swarm commander lure last summer.
    Dan

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Triadelphia, West Virginia
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    579

    Default Re: I want to attempt to attract/catch a swarm....

    Last year was our first year trapping swarms so maybe it was just beginners luck but 12 traps caught 12 swarms. One caught four and some caught none. We used deeps with plywood tops and bottoms screwed on. We used the round metal entrance disks from Kelley's which were very convenient. Some old comb, a shot of swarm commander and some propolis rubbed on the inside. Only one was mounted above head height. I would also add to use all ten frames in the trap so after the catch it's a simple matter of transferring the frames and not doing a cut out. I only put 4 or 5 frames in a few thinking the bees would start on them and sure enough they built perpendicular to the frames on the roof. I had a 5 frame deep nuc trap out that got lots of scouting but never got a swarm, maybe to small? I also had a fiber pot trap out that never got any attention that I saw. We tried to put the traps on lone big trees in fields by water or at least on the edge of the forest/field, right of ways, clearnings etc. You could build them out of whatever scrap wood you can get your hands on just make them so they hold frames. Good luck it's a ton of fun.

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