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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and started beekeeping last year with three nucs and caught one swarm in june. Going into winter all three looked good. Jan we saw some flying around and then cold snap real cold in Mich. Anyway lost all three hives. We used old used hive deep boxes. Well over winter built new deep bodies. We don't have the money to buy more bees but using old deeps to make swarms traps. When do we put them out have 12 to put out is now in mid April too early? We are from Middleville, Mi
 

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There should be no problem in putting them out now if you don't have a problem with vandals, the sooner the better, old boxes are what I use with old comb that has been sprayed with BT solution to keep the wax moths at bay, when I put them out early I pour a couple ounces of honey on the combs to get some bees coming and going, which I think adds some recent bee scent to the box. Good Luck, I have caught two out of seven traps so far this spring. That is not counting the boxes around my apiary that I have, to catch swarms I miss.
 

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BT ( Bacillus Thuringensis ) The brand name I bought is called Xentara. A pound cost me just under forty dollars, it will most likely last me ten or twenty years. It is a powder that you mix with water and spray on the comb, it is a biological that is harmless to about everything except wax moth larvae and corn worms. I spray any empty comb so it will not be destroyed by wax moth larvae, it does not kill the adult wax moth.
osb while not as good as plywood will last about as long, it swells some and some water will pass through it but it is functional, I have some hive tops built out of it and they are several years old.
 

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My first catch was 3/7 and my twentieth of the season last week. I brought home two last night and have several more to pick up. This is one coming in on a deck yesterday. It is good to have attentive bait hive hosts who send you a picture as they come in. This gentleman even delivers them to my site for me. I supply him with a beetight deep super with an easily closed entrance disk, five old drawn combs and five foundation. That way I don't have to service them quickly. He can move the trap with no bee suit. Second picture is same trap same place last year. He has caught as many as 13 in that same spot in one season. We don't know where they come from.

 

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It is off the ground a few steps, mobile home height. Middle of suburban San Jose, CA. We catch both a more feral type bee there and also a more commercial package type bee. We might be pulling off hobbyist hives, but are in range of a large open space where there could be a small commercial operation. Or oak tree hives. Four this year so far, four last year, ten the year before, and 13 four years ago. It's a goldmine.
 

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I was wondering about the 10 feet in the air recommendation as a minimum trap height. Caught one out of brother's own last Aug, small Sept one (did not Winter) last year. Both of those swarms were less than six feet high on the north side of short bushes. No swarms 3 years before that, then back into 70's. Had given up on traps. (used to have swarm calls, not any more, is what longer practicing beeks say)

Maybe again.
 

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Now is fine for putting up traps. I will be putting mine up over the next 2-3 weeks. I never treat the frames I take from deadouts. If the hive was dead and it froze for 48 hours afterwards moth eggs will be killed. Eventually moths will get your bait comb, but it's only one comb in the trap. I don't treat with BT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the info I hope we catch some don't want to give up on bees just need the money to replace them. I have about 10 deeps that a commercial beek said were not good and he was right a little rot. Hung two behind house and others will go to friends houses and relatives. I want to buy a sheet of plywood this week and build a couple nucs to hang on all the state land around me. According to plans on here should make me 4 nucs. Will keep posted if I get any. A few beeks around by me say it might be a bad swarm year because of the harsh winter but also admitted they never tried a swarm trap.
 

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Put an add on craigslist for old lumber like fence planking or wooden decks. I have all the old wood for swarm traps i can handle right now. People want the stuff gone, and for a bit of labor its essentially free!


I also grab stuff from peoples trash piles stacked by the curb or in dumpsters. Made 3 swarm traps out of discarded wooden file drawers, just added a bit of paint and some top bars for the top.



 

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As a rule humans are bad at predicting the future.... You are a lot more likely to catch swarms if you have traps made and up. My established hives came through the winter strong. I think there will be swarming this year... How many? If anyone says they know now.... They are just stabbing in the dark.
 
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