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I know that there are "ideal" distances that a swarm trap should be placed from your existing colonies, but is there a minimum distance that you would be comfortable with? Is 30'-40' too close?

Same question for distance between traps?

Thanks,
Kevin
 

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Is 30'-40' too close?
I'd do 30'-40' and not worry. It is a fine separation.

Too close will just means that IF an incoming swarm lands, it may end entering an existing colony - not ideal (this may happen IF your trap sits immediately next to the active hive).

Keep in mind, a trap around your existing colonies is more for an external swarm coming in (less likely for your own bees leaving, but still possible). The existing colonies are a great magnet for the scouts and it only makes sense to take advantage of this feature.

Of course, if your space allows, set out more traps a good distance away too.
If I only had one trap available but lots of space, I'd set it ~1/3-1/2 mile away to work best for both incoming/outgoing swarms.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I do not know if there is much research into this topic that can be verified. I feel that 40'-50' apart is fine for the trap to trap separation, but would hesitate to put very many traps in a given area. The bees can find a trap easily enough if it is properly baited. I once caught a swarm that I assume was from one of my hives in a trap that was about 75' from the next closest hive. This year, my home apiary swarm traps will be about 300' away and on the other side of the house.
 

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but would hesitate to put very many traps in a given area.
It depends though.
Last year I observed first hand bees fighting over a trap in my backyard (if you recall my post - dark bees vs. yellow bees).
If a place is a heavy hitter, I'd set a couple with a good enough separation (especially IF you are not able to check the place often - both traps could be taken when you are back).

But also, if you remember ODFrank stories, he'd have swarms moving on top of each other rather often (in a single stack) - I fully believe him too. And so I like his model - set the trap where the hive will be standing - no bee moving.
 

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One problem with very closely spaced traps is Zombie swarms. A swarm will come in and the bulk of the bees will go into their trap of choosing. About 20-50 bees will be attracted to the lure scent in a very close trap. They will stay there for weeks until they die of as a queenless Zombie swarm. These squatter bees discourage another swam form using that trap. So I shake them out and move that trap a distrance away.
I have seen a swarm leave a hive and move into a matching box 40 feet away. But I feel to best trap your own swarms set traps staggered hundreds of feet away. The worst thing to happen is that you catch someone else's swarm.
I have almost stopped setting my 40 mile long trap line of 50 traps. I now primarily set traps on my empty stands. Got too old to spend summer Saturday nights picking up catches. I miss that site that caught 13 in one year.



I know that there are "ideal" distances that a swarm trap should be placed from your existing colonies, but is there a minimum distance that you would be comfortable with? Is 30'-40' too close?

Same question for distance between traps?

Thanks,
Kevin
 

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I caught 3 swarms less than 50 ft from hives last year,2 in traps and one on a bush.
Caught another in a tree less than 100 ft away.
Caught 2 more in traps 150 ft away from a yard
Good(bad?) year for swarms last year.
Bottom line: It's the luck of the draw!

Any tips on sharing a video?
 

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Swarm traps should be as far away from your colonies as feasible, but not more than 1/2 mile or so. I've had very poor success in capturing swarms directly next to my apiary. It does happen, but it's not common.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I had a zombie swarm inhabit my swarm trap three years ago. Never knew where the main swarm ended up, but just like Ollie said, 20-30 bees stayed there throughout the remainder of the swarm season and eventually died off. Only year this location has failed to produce a trapped swarm for me.
 

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I now primarily set traps on my empty stands.

odfrank:

If memory serves, I recall you mentioning you might experiment with setting bait hives atop existing colonies- did you ever test this and if so, what did you conclude?
 

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odfrank:

If memory serves, I recall you mentioning you might experiment with setting bait hives atop existing colonies- did you ever test this and if so, what did you conclude?
Yes. Works well. Either a nuc box or brood chamber on a plywood and double screen board.

Ten frame trap in an apiary:

 

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Brood chamber on division screen trap:






odfrank:

If memory serves, I recall you mentioning you might experiment with setting bait hives atop existing colonies- did you ever test this and if so, what did you conclude?
 

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Last year was my first go with swarm traps. I had 100% loss over the preceding winter, my fault, lessons learned. I ordered 3 nucs to start over and while I waited on them I built and set out 10 traps around my property, the neighbors land and on some friends farms the first week of April. The 1st 2 swarms settled, on one on my place and one on the neighbors. within a week. Fairly certain they came from feral hives as there are no beeks close to me that I know of. got another from one on a friends farm in late May. 23rd of June I had rotator cuff surgery, two days later neighbor tells me the other trap on his place had bees and I then find the trap I had placed 30' from my hives had bees. The last two I caught close to home could have been either swarms from my hives or more from local feral hives. My guess is the one in the close trap was a swarm out of one of my hives. In total I had caught 5 swarms. I don't see any harm in putting a trap close to your bee yard.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Odfrank - did you catch your own swarms or someone elses with the nucs in your own yard?

My urban property is not that large, but I have friendly neighbors who would put one up for me so I will look at spreading things out a bit and maybe making more traps.
 

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If you have a way of knowing where a swarm came from, I would love to learn that.
 

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About the only way to even begin to guess would be if you found a marked queen in the swarm that you could recognize.
 

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If you have a way of knowing where a swarm came from, I would love to learn that.
Ha ha!
No more troubling sight than to walk up to a yard and see bees pouring from a hive.
It hasn't happened often in my 40+ yrs but I love to stand in the middle of it.
Thrilling and fascinating! Bees bouncing of you, heart thumping in your chest.
Almost worth the loss.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Watching the bees swarm from one of your hives is fascinating. Saw it happen while I was collecting another swarm that had just clustered on a tree in the yard. It was a busy day.
 
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