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Learning thru mistakes in swarm traps

1378 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  shannonswyatt
This is my first year to put out swarm traps and I have learned how to do a few things right and learned how to avoid some mistakes too.
I hung 7 traps two weeks ago and I've caught 3 swarms so far, with two of those caught on the same tree a week apart. I hung them about 6-7 feet high and baited them with a couple frames of old brood comb and LGO. I put them in places that I knew had had some swarm activity in years past and that seemed to be a good decision. My mistakes were, first, that I used deep frames without thinking about the fact that I'm transitioning over to all mediums beginning this year. So it was a problem because I had also used comb with wired wax foundation which made it too hard to try to cut the combs down to fit the medium frames in the new hive. A second mistake was that I tip toed to hang the traps (made like a 5 frame nuc box) on the side of the tree and then when I tried to take them down with bees and honey inside, I needed a step ladder or an assistant because it's hard to balance a full box like that with one hand while you work with the other. But I got it done. I am now using medium frames in the deep swarm traps for the next swarms which will give the bees a sense of roominess in the box, plus, I can move the frames directly to my medium brood boxes when I bring them home. I am alternating 3 frames of comb and 2 frames with no foundation to give the scouts plenty of room to look at in the trap. I'm sure most of you guys already thought this thru, but I posted it for those who are new at it like I was, or they may be a little slow in the head like me. Hope it helps someone.
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It helps me. I'm hoping to do some trapping next year, so reading someone else's experiences does help.

I'm also planning on having medium boxes (8 frame) for my hives, and was thinking of using those sized boxes for traps. I'll definitely do that now, and will NOT put them up very high (I was thinking of putting them out only in spots I can back the truck up to and reach comfortably from that height).

If that means I'm not as successful trapping, so be it. I'd rather catch two out of eight and be able to do it myself, than eight out of eight (I know, not likely at all, but to make my point...) and not be able to get them due to weight and no helper. I do have someone who's willing to help, but only when I HAVE to have help. I don't want to wear that offer of help out before I really need it.

So thanks for underscoring those points.
Just a heads up depending on WHERE you place your swarm traps. If they're in desolate areas not a big deal placing them lower. But, if they're where some folks may be passing by, placing them higher, with a step ladder will keep them from going walk about on a first impulse! Out of maybe 400 swarm catches over the years I've only lost one. Someone thought that catcher hive would look great adding to their own apiary numbers. Not a big deal if your using all scrap everything, but it still takes time etc... Just a heads up..
Brandy, you make a good point about placing traps high enough that passersby won't have easy access to steal, or maybe get stung, easily. Mine are all off the beaten path and they are made from scrap, but I still wouldn't want to lose them because there's a lot of work in making them. One other mistake, kinda, was that in making cheap boxes out of some old barn boards was that oak is HEAVY. lol. I'll probably use pine or plywood from now own.
Thanks for the info, Brandy. Right now I'm only planning on putting them on my fifty acres, and my neighbor's larger acreage (if they say yes when I ask). But that's good to know in case I change my mind.
If you have old deep frames with comb on them I would use them for your swarm traps. Since you are not going to be using them for active hives you won't care if they get eaten up by wax moths or otherwise molested. This allows you to put that old resource to use. Besides, if you get a swarm of free bees you probably won't mind it being in a deep.
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