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I am from Rochelle Virginia, I have been contemplating getting into bee keeping for a number of years and never really had a good place for them, recently having moved to a little 9 acre farm, I (along with the pressure from my young boys) decided to take the plunge and ordered an overwintered Nuc. I have been doing a fair amount of research and following a couple you-tube channels that have been extremely helpful in getting an idea of what I am getting myself into. However, I realize there is nothing that teaches as much as hands on experience, of which I don't have and many of you all do. I welcome input and advice.

One question I have - I have a friend that has a couple hives, they don't really manage them to keep them from swarming and simply let them swarm out however they decide too, they mentioned I am welcome to come and capture their swarms this spring. I have considered making myself a 5 frame nuc to put there as a swarm trap, however, I have no drawn comb, what are the chances of catching a swarm in a trap with only waxed foundations? What other options should I consider?

Thank you!
 

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Small Cell Nucs
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I am from Rochelle Virginia, I have been contemplating getting into bee keeping for a number of years and never really had a good place for them, recently having moved to a little 9 acre farm, I (along with the pressure from my young boys) decided to take the plunge and ordered an overwintered Nuc. I have been doing a fair amount of research and following a couple you-tube channels that have been extremely helpful in getting an idea of what I am getting myself into. However, I realize there is nothing that teaches as much as hands on experience, of which I don't have and many of you all do. I welcome input and advice.

One question I have - I have a friend that has a couple hives, they don't really manage them to keep them from swarming and simply let them swarm out however they decide too, they mentioned I am welcome to come and capture their swarms this spring. I have considered making myself a 5 frame nuc to put there as a swarm trap, however, I have no drawn comb, what are the chances of catching a swarm in a trap with only waxed foundations? What other options should I consider?

Thank you!
If you have wax and propolous ,rub down the inside of your nuc with it. Chances are good because really they are looking for a cavity anyways. Just personally I would leave 3 frames with starter strips and 2 with foundation with equal spacing between.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Welcome. You may have success if you use a frame or two of wax foundation, a couple of empty frames, and a drop or two of Lemongrass Essential Oil, often referred to as LGO, which you can get at most drugstores. Swarms in VA can occur as early as late March, but our prime season is April 15th though May 15th. Plan on getting the traps built, baited and set within the next month.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Is the height you install a swarm trap very critical?
I may make a 5 frame Nuc and treat it with some old wax and LGO and put a couple frames in it and see what happens... another source suggested simply taking a 10 frame medium and putting a shallow underneath it and using that instead of a 5 frame Nuc...
Maybe I will try both and give them options. Thank you! I am always open to learning and helpful input!! It is appreciated!!
 

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There are some reports that 10-20 feet is ideal. Other people have luck just setting them on the ground. I’d go for 10 feet on a tree
 

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A couple things.
A five frame nuc does not have volume to make a good attractive swarm trap.
I would suggest that instead you build the nuc and go to your friend and make a split from their hives.
You control the situation instead of relying on luck.
Also leaves his hives in a better position to produce.
They will outgrow a nuc quickly so be prepared to move them to a full sized hive or super the nuc.
 

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Lots of different ways work for different people, so there's not many wrong ways. I live in southern Va and have had good luck catching swarms every year. I have a big tree with a big enough limb at the edge of a clearing. The limb is about 6 feet off the ground, just high enough for me to set it up. I put a nuc with a migratory top on the limb with 5 frames of starter strips (I use crush and strain so I have very little drawn comb). Of course a used drawn frame wouldn't hurt anything. A squirt of swarm commander on the inside and a squirt on the top is all it takes. I put it up when I start seeing drones and catch swarms every year. Just move the frames and bees to a new hive after they've all come home for the day and return the nuc. I return the same nuc to the tree as it still has the swam commander scent.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I tried using a nuc sized box one year. The bees moved in, briefly, and then moved on. Now I use the swarm traps I built from plans on the www.horizontalhive.com website. It is essentially a six frame double deep and works quite well.
 

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I am from Rochelle Virginia, I have been contemplating getting into bee keeping for a number of years and never really had a good place for them, recently having moved to a little 9 acre farm, I (along with the pressure from my young boys) decided to take the plunge and ordered an overwintered Nuc. I have been doing a fair amount of research and following a couple you-tube channels that have been extremely helpful in getting an idea of what I am getting myself into. However, I realize there is nothing that teaches as much as hands on experience, of which I don't have and many of you all do. I welcome input and advice.

One question I have - I have a friend that has a couple hives, they don't really manage them to keep them from swarming and simply let them swarm out however they decide too, they mentioned I am welcome to come and capture their swarms this spring. I have considered making myself a 5 frame nuc to put there as a swarm trap, however, I have no drawn comb, what are the chances of catching a swarm in a trap with only waxed foundations? What other options should I consider?

Thank you!
Find a local bee club in your area and find an experienced keeper. I maintain you should look for a mentor who always has honey for sale and not only doesn't have to buy bees but may have them for sale. That shows a level of success. You do not want to take advice form someone who does not get a crop and has to replace their bees annually. That person could sell or give you some old comb to put in swarm traps. You can also find a beekeeper with what we call slumgum for gifting. It is basically a trash byproduct of propolis and wax left over from rendering out beeswax. Paint a swarm trap box with that and put the swarm trap ten feet up in a tree facing south and it will be an attractive home for a swarm. The size of cavity bees choose in nature is approximately the size of an 8 or 10 frame deep box with one about inch diameter entrance. Good luck and I hope this helped. My swarm season will be two weeks away in two full months! I drove thru foot deep snow to get to my hives yesterday.
 

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Welcome to the forum, Songbird. You've gotten some good advice above so I won't be redundant. But I did want to welcome you to Beesource.

Best of success to you in your beekeeping efforts.

Russ
 
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