My brother had a swarm move into a tree in his yard in late April and I want to trap this swarm if I can. What setup do you recommend? Here is a pic of the hole in the tree sent to me by my brother. Unfortunately, this is located 2.5 hours from my house so that's not ideal.
That's tough. You probably don't want to do it now. Probably past your honey flow, and that tree is full of honey now, so you're not going to starve them out. If you want the bees, and to get them out of the tree, wait until March of next year. Best way is to buy a roll of screen, then wrap the tree. Tie it off at the top and bottom of the screen. Not you can control the entrance. make a small hole, and put a mesh cone made out of 1/8" hardware cloth, and angle the exit slightly down from the tree hole.
There are a lot of trapout methods. Just do a search for them here.
I actually started this thread in Equipment & Hardware to hopefully get more response (I already have a thread here asking for input). I guess someone felt it should be here instead.
So why do I need to worry about "starving them out"? As long as I get the hole sealed off they can't get back in the tree to the honey. Should I give them a frame of honey in the trap along with empty frames?
what are you trying to do? You're going to have a hard time getting them all out of the tree. Trapouts are used for a couple things.
1. You want to get them out of a tree because they are a "nuisance" to the home owner. In this case, you create a trapout in the spring. Most bees move into the donor hive, and the original hive starves of resources. After a month or so, you move the hive out, and bring another in, and let it rob the tree of remaining honey, then you can seal it.
2. You want the original queen. In this case, you make an airtight connection between a donor hive with larva in it, and the queen comes out to smell the larva, and cannot get back through the bee escape.
3. You want to catch a virgin queen from the original hive. In this case you could put on the trapout after a swarm. You can also get the queen to come out in #2, and they will raise an emergency queen (maybe) based on the timing of the eggs in the original brood nest.
4. Feeder hive for bees. If you want to get a nuc kickstarted, you can put a frame of brood and a queen cell, and do a trapout and set the donor next to the hive. Then, the workers from that original hive will constantly populate the nuc, including the new workers that are constantly hatching out. I would suggest this option at this time of year. You'll have to feed them, but that leaves the original hive in the tree for you to do it again next spring, but lets you build up a starter hive now.
As for your search, there really is a lot there. You should try different search terms. You can also try on google. You tube is one of the best places. I did a search for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9TnW4FKeHM
Actually, #4 is a pretty good option as you suggested. Thanks for listing those options! Ideally, I wanted to trap the entire colony and move them to my home. However, I would likely re-queen anyhow so #4 is a legit option.......help boost a nuc for this year and maybe I could get the entire colony next spring. Only downside is that is even more bees at my sister-in-laws home and she would like the the ones in the tree removed.
Possibly I could trap-out the bees from the tree and have them move into a newly created nuc I set beside the entrance and 90% of the bees would join up with the new colony. Maybe the nuc would get going quickly and get rid of the colony in the tree.
okay, if she really wants the bees removed, you'll trap them and keep the trap on there until bees stop coming out of the cone. Could take about 5 weeks. Then, you'll let the bees rob out the old hive. That one can be tricky. Technically, they could get confused having it so close. Best option is to move them 3 miles for a week, then put them near the base of the trea and let them rob it out.
The other part is preventing them from coming back. usually a couple cans of spray foam work to fill it up, then spray the spray foam a nice flat tree brown or gray. You could get real creative and make it dissappear with some creative painting and shaving of the cured foam, but probably not necessary.
The hardest part of a trapout is the first 2 weeks. If someone is there to watch it and explain what they see or take pictures. The 3 things that go wrong.
1. Bees find another way into the hive. A gap, or another hole or somethign.
2. A lot leave at once, and a couple get stuck at the end of the cone, then the rest of them start dying up stream.
3. Somehow a bee finds her way back in the end of the cone and leaves a homing scent. (hasn't happened to me yet - the others happen a lot)
Do you suggest I place a queen in the trapout from the start or no? (basically start with a new nuc)
certainly NOT you would create an independent beehive
there are 3 methods for a trapout
-the hogan harverster
-the josephus1 ultranucbox (seems to have disappeared from the forum)
both 3 methods need one or 2 brood frames to attract and fix the foragers bees.
with the cone you'll only get the foragers and then a some unbalanced nuc
with the hogan you'll be able to drain some perfect nucs and maybe the queen
with the third method you can have everything at once.
With the cone the forager will raise a queen from the frame (if there are some fresh eggs into it)
with the hogan the queen will lay into your frame so you could raise a queen from the nuc
The 3rd method you'll get the queen
I found this description on e-bay about a josephus1 ultranucbox but unfortunately, there were no pictures:
The bolt on the board will allow you to place the box flush against it. As you can see you may have to close the sides with rags or even more boards.What you are buying here is a new, un-painted Beehive Nuc box for both raising bees and trapping bees. The feature here is that this box is also designed to rob the queen and all the bees from a tree or building. This setup will allow you to rob the queen, the bees, and the honey from most trees, or buildings without having to cut down the tree or remove the wall. Once you have removed the queen and the bees then you can bring over a new hive to set in front of the tree so they can rob the honey out of it. So, with this , you can use it for only raising bees as a nuc box, or you can use this box to rob from the trees the nursery and fanner bees, or the queen and all the bees. One single robbed hive and honey should pay for this. Some trees may need some modification considering the size split in the tree the bees are in. A rule is the smaller the size split the easier this will be to place on the tree. The foundation attachment that comes with this will work with most trees with some extra sealing with sponges or old cloths. Once you have the bees coming only out of the foundation board hole, then you can hook up the box. The screen is used in two of the stages.
It will take 5 stages to complete once attached to the tree or building. The biggest split in a tree I have ran across was about 18 in. long and 3 to 6 in. wide. Easy steps hanging it and easy leaving with it.There are two ways to take the bees. One by putting supers on it as they build up in your hive's single box (since the Queen is trapped in your box and can no longer lay eggs in the tree). The other is to keep taking them away by frames into other nuc boxes making sure you do not take the queen until you have cleaned out all bees. I prefer taking the frames with eggs in them along with the nursery and fanner bees until you have gotten all the bees out, then it is honey robing time. I am sure of the method because I have had the success with it. The slider bar allows you to set the trap from the outside without going into the box if you do not want too. It allows (1) for just taking field bees, (2)Just taking house keepers, (3)Taking both and leaving it from there. Or (4) a few maneuvers will get all the bees even the queen. Step one is engaging the slider to have all access in and out of the tree of all bees coming and going. First by bringing in a brood frame with eggs. Checking in a few hours to see the house keepers over (And Possible queen, but unlikely this soon). If the queen is over that soon (Unlikely) then you can slide the bar to put the queen excluder on the hole. This will make sure the queen will not get back in the tree If the box is too full you will need to take some out on the frame you brought leaving the queen to stay. You will need to replace the brood frame with another. You will also note the date and wait 22 days to insure all eggs and larvae has hatched in the tree. Then you can slide the bar all the way in and close all contact to the tree leaving a route for any field bees to still come out the screen tunnel , but can only return to the box.
What forces the bees over is that when you get your first house keepers over, Check for queen, but not likely so quick that she will be there, you then slide bar all the way in causing the bees in the box not to be able to go back and forth, Only the field bees will leave out but can only come back in the box in one day you will have more than you need if you just want a starter amount. They are loaded with their honey, pollen etc. and will have to build and pack inside of your box. Three days latter you will have a queen cell and worked cone from the tree bees. Since you will be having to removes bees every so often anyway because of the migrations as this continues, then I take the bees on the brood frame out and replace it with a new brood frame. This time I want all stages of brood and specifically those capped and ready to hatch that day , or just a couple days away at the most. I still want eggs as well. I leave the tree open for all the bees to re adjust for what they have gone through. Some will go back into the tree, but now there is work already out there in the box "done by them". The queen likes to lay eggs in "fresh cleaned" cells. That is why the capped bees are needed to be there and hatching out. This could be happening within 4 days all together, and this is when she is to come over. Wait about two more days and if she is not over close off the tree again and it will get worked again just like the first time. When all the field bees can not take their supply back into the tree they will again treat this as their new hive, will again attempt a queen cell etc. But mainly have more of their own work in the box.Wait three days(This cause the bees in the tree to suffer some) and you will have an over crowded box, Open it up to the tree again, there will be much more work now done in your box. This is where the queen is likely to come over and even have an extended stay laying eggs. I have not had to go the second round on this so far, she has laid eggs on the first cycle.
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