Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This will be my first year keeping bees. I have a couple of NUCs already lined up but am interested in trying to catch a swarm as well, just for the fun of it. I am a member of a 3500 acre hunting club that I think would be a great spot to try.

Looking online, it seems like most folks put old brood comb frames in the trap. My problem is that I don't have any old brood comb, all of my stuff is brand new. Will this work? Or any other suggestions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
In Australia it is illegal to use old comb in a swarm trap in an effort to minimise the spread of AFB. We use lemongrass oil. This is my first season keeping bees, but I understand it is quite effective. I caught my first swarm last week using lemongrass oil.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,471 Posts
As long as the size of the box is correct, you could use a swarm lure, like swarmcommander.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
467 Posts
As suggested use lemongrass oil (Walmart, GNC both have it).
You don't need to go out in the woods to catch a swarm. Most swarming bees are found where there are a lot of folks keeping bees which these days could be subdivisions and populated rural areas.
Another reason not to use old frames is that you may be attracting hive beetles and wax moths which you then transport to your bee yard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
I have been keeping bees for 10 years, but only started trapping last year. I put out 15 traps and caught 10 swarms. However, only 10 of the traps had a frame of black comb. The other 5 had pieces of super dry, brittle comb with no smell that I had collected from an exposed wild hive that had died 2 years earlier. All of the boxes were toasted on the inside with a blow torch and rubbed with beeswax. All new wood.

none of the swarms I caught were in the boxes without the good, black comb.

I am almost tempted to repeat the experiment to see if I can catch a swarm without black comb. But, I guess I’m more interested in victory than science.

All this is to say that I think your efforts to find some black comb will be worthwhile. I’d give you some - just to get you started - if you were in the area. Maybe there’s a likeminded beekeeper near you, or someone selling used equipment on Craigslist. Janky, old comb could be great as bait comb.

Your chances of attracting scouts will also be improved with beeswax and/or propolis if you can get your hands on some of that. I have even found a handful of bees in a can of wax I had melted in my BBQ grill and left to cool with the lid down - after dark. They were out there following smells into small holes.

I figure you have 3 problems as a bee trapper: 1 provide a suitable dwelling 2 attract scouts to the site 3 locate the trap within range of swarming bees. #1 is easy. #2 is where the art/magic is. #3 is some combination of luck and observation.
 

·
Moderator - In Memorium
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,882 Posts
A suitable trap and lemongrass oil or swarm commander are all you really need. Brood comb, beeswax, and propolis all improve your chances of success. My first swarm was caught with a new trap and a medium frame with new foundation in it. LGO was applied to the entrance of the trap. Bees moved in about a week later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,665 Posts
And, since you are buying a hive this year, next year you will have plenty of frames of comb to play with in traps. Put the traps out and hope for the best this year, next year put out better, baited traps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
All good suggestions. A friend made a bunch of swarm traps from plywood. He scorched the insides with a torch, then I gave him big ball of propolis that he put in a blender with alcohol, and painted the insides of the boxes. He got 2 swarms that month.
The three keys. Scent, Accommodation, and Location.
Scent - Swarm commander works pretty **** good, and even at its price, its cheap bees. After that propolis, old wood, old comb, yellow comb are all good things. Making traps from old fence board is good too.
Accommodation - ~40 Liters is kind of the standard, based on Seeley's work, and a standard 10 frame deep box is about 42 L. If they have some comb for the queen to lay in quickly, that secures the swarm. Small entrance, dry inside, no gaps for light or wind help.
Location - You can't catch bees that aren't there. The height of the swarm trap doesn't make much difference. Bees move into walls, irrigation boxes and utility boxes underground. Put your swarm trap where you want the bees to live, and you won't have to move them. Plant lots of flowers to encourage traffic.

Cheers, Phil in Fremont
 

·
Moderator - In Memorium
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,882 Posts
Make sure the swarm trap is not in direct sunlight. Bees prefer a shaded location.
 

·
Moderator - In Memorium
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,882 Posts
And all the rules have enough exceptions that putting one any convenient place is fine too.
OP is already behind the eight ball with new traps and no comb. Shade is something that will increase the odds. Two years ago I put two traps at work, both in direct sun and easy access. Some scouting activity but no takers in either trap. Last year, I placed one trap in the shade about ten feet from one of the previous year's locations. It hit twice. Figured it out while reading Seeley' Honey Bee Democracy and noticed that all his traps on Appledore Island were placed under little sheds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,665 Posts
OP is already behind the eight ball with new traps and no comb. Shade is something that will increase the odds. Two years ago I put two traps at work, both in direct sun and easy access. Some scouting activity but no takers in either trap. Last year, I placed one trap in the shade about ten feet from one of the previous year's locations. It hit twice. Figured it out while reading Seeley' Honey Bee Democracy and noticed that all his traps on Appledore Island were placed under little sheds.
Useful. Thanks. I'll take that into consideration this spring.
 

·
Moderator - In Memorium
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,882 Posts
Here a link to an earlier work by Tom Seeley regarding what bees need for a swarm trap to be successful. See item #2 on page 4.
 

Attachments

1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top