Has anyone done any work on attracting a swarm to a coalescing spot? I'm thinking of something that can be hung near the bee yard that will look really good and might "catch" a swarm. Maybe something on a rope and pulley to lower right into a lang.
I hang one of my homemade swarm lures on a low branch in my apiary. The lures are made from 1/2" cup of melted bees wax and 10 to 20 drops of lemon grass oil. Pour the wax mix into small muffin molds or something similar and insert a wire for a hook prior to cooling. It worked last year as that is where the swarm landed from my apiary.
I noticed one tree seemed to get most of the swarms. So I placed a swarm trap on the same branch. Caught several swarm there. Most clumped on the under side of the trap (just like a Russian scion). Some moved in the box later some needed coaxing.
My version of the Russian (oh my, will this get me in trouble) Scion. RUSSIAN SCION.jpg
I made it with a small piece of plywood to which I attached two old brood combs and underneath them is a strip of burlap sprayed with lemongrass oil. It is mounted on a painters poll ($20 at Lowes). The pole is adjustable up or down by turning the catch knob. Can be elevated from 4' to 12'. I attached it to a corner of my apiary fence. Pretty slick I thought as after the swarm lands I can lower them right into a box-no climbing, ladders, limb cutting etc. As you can guess the bees had other ideas. I had five swarms this year, I caught all five but not with the Scion. All of them landed in Autumn Olive trees(bushes) (one in a small pine) about 15' away and maybe 5' up. Easy peasy to knock them into boxes. Back to the drawing board for the scion. Maybe it needs to look like an Autumn Olive bush!
Well, billabell, that was sort of what I was getting at. Is there a preferred shape and texture? I've recently cut down almost everything in the immediate area of the bee yard and added an 8ft fence to exclude deer from the garden surrounding it. Swarms this year went high and behind into the trees near the power lines. I was thinking of trying some "fishing rods" on the tops of the fence posts. Lures would be a football, a tree branch, etc, to see what they like best. Looks like the Russians may have done the trial and error part for me.
Is there a preferred shape and texture? I have no idea except that the swarms this year seemed to like to coalesce on the more convienent bushes, which is great for me as I have a lot of choices for them. I understand in some parts of the world keepers hang brood combs in trees and bushes near their apiaries. I am too old to be dealing with ladders and such so the nearby bushes and small trees are all I am going to deal with.
Although I haven't made one this way I think using the fabric floors removed from quilt boxes would make excellent lures as they are fully propolized after being on the hives for a year. Often the bees have chewed them somewhat requiring them to be changed out. Whether they should be wrapped around a branchlike cylinder, or allowed to hang free (perhaps doubled so that both exposed sides were propolized) I don't know.
I work very to prevent my bees from swarming, so it isn't a big issue for me. But having a close-by landing point would be a good back-up plan. The only swarm I've ever had came from a colony that had been newly moved to my yard, so I hadn't been working it from the end of winter onward. Hiving that one, which went 35 up a tree, darn near killed me. Whenever I am tired and feeling like letting my anti-swarm efforts slide, all I have to do is think of that awful day to get myself motivated again.