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I have a couple of hives I think are getting ready to swarm (based on numerous queen cells in both). They are in my backyard. What are my chances of getting them to land on a low branch of some of my trees or bushes if I daubed a little lemongrass oil on a low branch or two? I know it probably couldn't hurt but does anyone think it might help me lure them to stay in my yard the first day--and at a fairly low level -- to give me a chance to capture the swarm(s).
 

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If you have extra boxes and frames you can do a split of each of your colonies by moving 1/2 the brood and queen cells. This is not that hard to do and you double your hive count! I have 9 splits in their 2nd week now!
 

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If you put the original queen in one of the splits and leave only one or two queen cells the hives may not swarm either. Bee sure to put several frames of brood with the old queen. By taking a lot of brood and the old queen out the hive thinks it has swarmed. The lemongrass oil may get them to cluster, I'd try it and make splits too! Make the splits before the queen cells are capped or you'll miss the swarm(s).
 

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I'd work to split the hives and prevent swarming but I'd still use a bait hive nearby. If you are going to use lemongrass oil to attract a potential swarm, give them a space to move into. You can use a nuc box or a hive body on a bottom board and cover.

Wayne
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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>based on numerous queen cells in both

If they are indeed queen cells and not empty cups, then you are probably correct. If they are capped, they probably already swarmed...

I'd split them. Don't count on them moving into your bait hives... But yes, I'd also set up some bait hives...

Baiting a limb is also good planning...
 
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