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When reading about placing swarm traps it is mentioned to place a couple frames of old dark comb to attract the bees. Since this is the start of my second year and both of my hives have made it through Winter (so far) I have no access to frames with old comb. I can only place new frames with undrawn foundation in my traps. I even asked a local keeper if he had any old frames to trade with comb and he told me the stuff is like gold and he can't spare any. Will the bees even be interested if I place the traps with undrawn frames? Is there anything I can do beyond lemongrass oil/swarm commander to get them to use the trap? Or will my success be hampered by the fact I can't get any drawn frames?
 

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Take hive scrappings of wax and propolis and melt them on the inside of your trap with a heat gun. Chase the melted material around soaking it into the wood. Drip a few drops of LGO into the meltings. Use wax foundation, not plastic. Beg and grovel to find some kind of old comb.
 

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Put one frame in each trap from the hives you have now. You have two hives so there should be several frames of comb that are empty in each of them. Maybe old, black comb is better but fresh comb should be good too.
 

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If you have hives, you have burr comb that you remove from time to time off the top bars. Why not put some of that in there and skip the foundation as that swarm will draw comb fast enough. Just scrape it off, stick it to the top bar of an empty frame. Or grab some of the wax cappings from your harvest last year, and place them in the hive to give it that smell. Use what ya have.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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AR1's idea is what I would do. Surely, each of your two hive can spare one drawn frame from to outside positions. I know in my hives the outer frames are empty and could easily be "borrowed".
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Great idea, don't know why I didn't think of that already. I think each hive could spare more than a single frame. This is what I will do. Thank you for your insight
 

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If you added JUST 2 frames of drawn comb, that's more than enough to make a box look more attractive than no frames. It's not necessary to fill the trap with drawn combs. One nice thing about catching a swarm is how quickly they draw out new comb.
 

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Add a medium frame from a super if that's all you have. They'll build it on down.

Some folks add an open, wired brood frame with a top starter strip between 2 sheets of foundation. They'll build that down quick too if they don't like your plastic, and will have a guide to help them get started straight.
 

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When reading about placing swarm traps it is mentioned to place a couple frames of old dark comb to attract the bees. Since this is the start of my second year and both of my hives have made it through Winter (so far) I have no access to frames with old comb. I can only place new frames with undrawn foundation in my traps. I even asked a local keeper if he had any old frames to trade with comb and he told me the stuff is like gold and he can't spare any. Will the bees even be interested if I place the traps with undrawn frames? Is there anything I can do beyond lemongrass oil/swarm commander to get them to use the trap? Or will my success be hampered by the fact I can't get any drawn frames?
Johnny, Inside of your "live hives" Is there any comb in the bottom deep that the bees are not covering? In Spring I often have a surviving hive that has moved up to the top boxes. If so you can liberate the bottom deep use say 2 old combs each in 3 traps, place the remaining 4 combs in the center flank them with 6 foundation, add them to top of a hive needing space and have your decoy combs.
Good luck trapping
GG
 

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In my first year of swarm trapping, I did not have drawn out comb, propolis or wax and only used Swarm Commander. I caught nothing in 6 swarm traps. The next year I had a dead out and placed just one drawn out frame in each swarm trap. The other frames had no foundation or maybe just a 2" starter strip. The scout bees need to think the space is large, so more open space is better. Also make sure your swarm boxes are as close to 40 liters or 2440 cu in. as possible. I my 2nd year I caught 4 swarms and in my 3rd year I caught 5. Also, if you know where a commercial beekeeper keeps their hives or where local hobbyist has a good cluster of hives, place your traps about 1/4 to 3/4 mi away. No, you're not stealing their bees. If the bees are going to swarm, you might as well try to save them from a near certain demise. Some of my swarm traps are close to a mile off the road. Great reason to get outside and take a long walk with my dog! Good luck.
 

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In my first year of swarm trapping, I did not have drawn out comb, propolis or wax and only used Swarm Commander. I caught nothing in 6 swarm traps. The next year I had a dead out and placed just one drawn out frame in each swarm trap. The other frames had no foundation or maybe just a 2" starter strip. The scout bees need to think the space is large, so more open space is better. Also make sure your swarm boxes are as close to 40 liters or 2440 cu in. as possible. I my 2nd year I caught 4 swarms and in my 3rd year I caught 5. Also, if you know where a commercial beekeeper keeps their hives or where local hobbyist has a good cluster of hives, place your traps about 1/4 to 3/4 mi away. No, you're not stealing their bees. If the bees are going to swarm, you might as well try to save them from a near certain demise. Some of my swarm traps are close to a mile off the road. Great reason to get outside and take a long walk with my dog! Good luck.
JL good advice. I have done better with Swarm commander since using it. I got a 50 frame box of foundationless, for trapping. I use 1 or 2 combs with the rest Foundationless. with foundation the mice seem to wreck them by Aug 1st when I pick them up. This year I am also coating the lids/inner covers with Propolis tincture 2 parts 151 grain Alcohol with 1 part propolis scrapings. Plan to coat the day prior to placing them, for freshness.
GG
 

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I staple a 1/2” mesh screen On the inside of the box over the swarm trap entrance to keep birds and mice out. When a swarm has taken up entrance I go out early in the AM and staple a small piece of 1/8” mesh across the opening before transporting.
 
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