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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been setting out my “honeybee rescue stations” (22 of them) for the past two weeks, which means that my minivan has been loaded with traps, ladder, etc. Today my wife had carpool duty with the kids, so she made me empty the van last night. I just had my last trap left in there, so I put it out back with the hopes of getting it to the location I had targeted today - a house where I had 2 swarm calls last year.
Well, I went out at lunch time and found the trap occupied. That was easy.
 

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Wow! I've still never caught a swarm in a trap. I leave a lot of nucs and equipment out but also admit I've never actively tried. I have enough bees as it is!

Always wanted to though! I might set a few around the property, mainly just because I want to see one move in!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I’m sitting here thinking how amazing this catch is. I took the trap out of the van late yesterday evening. And the swarm must have moved in around noon today. I noticed it before 1:00, when there was just a handful of bees left on the outside. That means that the bees had just about 3 working hours to find the trap and make the move. It was also rather cold this morning - hitting 50 around 10:00. It’s just hard to imagine all that goes into a swarm, picking a home, and making the move in such a short time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am also fascinated by the idea that existing bee colonies attract swarming bees. This is really the only time I have set a trap in my bee yard. I actually have a regular deep set up as a trap too. That trap started having heavy scouting yesterday with increased scouting even now. And the new swarm is not my bees. I only have one hive right now, and I had inspected it yesterday. It still had most of the second deep drawn, but empty and no Q cells. Q was looking fatter than I remember, so not preparing to fly.
Seeley did some work showing that foraging bees confused swarming bees when their paths crossed. I wonder if scouting bees are similarly attracted to foraging bee highways. This may explain all the swarm/scouting action I am seeing near my one established hive.
 

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My friend who is one of those luxury beekeepers -- flow hive, fancy tops, etc -- he lazily left a deadout from winter 2019 out in his yard and in spring 2020 a nice swarm moved in. I never have that kind of luck, but you're a daisy if you do!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Years ago I had a similar experience. I had a dead out going into fall and brought the hive into the garage for winter. In the spring I set it up so it would be ready to dump a swarm into as soon as I got a call. As I had hoped, I received a call to catch a swarm, but it required a drive of nearly an hour. By the time I arrived, the swarm had moved on. However, when I go home, bees had moved into my hive and were happily going about their business as if they had been there all along. That was long before I had heard or swarm trapping, so it was a complete surprise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Okay, I counted my chicks before they hatched. It turns out this is not a swarm. It’s just a whole bunch of bees inside and outside of the trap. They all go home at night, but they come right back The next day.
62838
 

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Wow, what do you have in that trap? If there is honey then they are robbing it out. Either way they know it's there for the real thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow, what do you have in that trap? If there is honey then they are robbing it out. Either way they know it's there for the real thing.
No, no honey in there. It has some old, dry comb and LGO. Plus they are not acting like they are collecting. They spend a lot of time buzzing around the box, really investigating it. Then they do a lot of figure 8 orienting as they fly away.
 

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Scout bees, get ready for a swarm soon enough.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That’s right. I’m really hoping the swarm is on its way. We are still just a few days early, and I haven’t heard of any swarms in the area yet. I have to think this is pre-swarm scouting. Tomorrow and the next day are supposed to be mid sixties.

I figure the trap is doing more good where it is than at the place I had meant to take it to. I have never seen such heavy scouting. Of course, I’ve never had a trap right out my window. I have them scattered around town and only get to check what’s going on about once a week per trap.
 
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