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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've successfully used bait hives (old British Nationals with ancient comb) for the past six years after our move to France. But the swarms we catch always come from somebody else's colonies. It's easy to tell as our Carniolans are darker whereas the caught bees have some yellow.
Having the entrance of the bait hives as high off the ground as possible works. But do swarming bees naturally go a fair distance away from the parent colony? We've never induced our bees to go to our bait hives which are a few hundred metres away in a different field.
 

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Great question (welcome to the forum by the way). I've got swarm traps anywhere from 100 to 400 yards away from my own hives. Now that you mention it I've never caught a swarm in any of them. They are 5 frame nucs that have have a frame of old comb, 4 new undrawn ones, as well as some lemon grass oil in them.

I do end up stealing them for swarm calls and to make when I find capped Queen cells in my hives. In short they don't end up there all season, so maybe I'm missing something. I made 8 additional nuc boxes over the winter and I've only gotten one swarm call this season so I don't think I'll run out of boxes this year.

I'll be reading this post to see what other say.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply. I'm looking forward to hearing what others do as swarms are 'free bees'. I've found the height thing is crucial, putting the swarm box around five feet or higher off the ground on top of old boxes. As a 'swarm lure' we smear a bit of honey into the old combs. This gets bees investigating the boxes, even if they are only 'robbing'. I think this makes bees from swarming stocks aware of their existence as possible homes. Never tried a 'proper' swarm lure. Perhaps we have been lucky getting stray swarms but it seems to work.
Hearing what you say, I might locate a couple of boxes half a mile or a mile away in the forest and see what happens.
 

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If the beekeeper shows up looking for them, and is polite and asks to access your property, you can reckon they're his/her bees and I'd let them catch them. If they land in your swarm trap, I figure they lost them fair and square ;).

Swarms do seem to travel a ways, which would make sense rather than compete with the parent colony for resources.
 

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I put out 4 this spring about 10 to 12 ft off the ground using 5 frame nuc boxes with lemon grass oil, do you think their too high? I havent caught anything yet but just got them up about a week ago. I have placed them aprox 100yds to 300 from my bee yards, all in trees that stand out by their self ( heard this was best? ) Im not too certian where the best location is to hang them?
 
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