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I'm interested in capturing a couple swarms and I wondered how many traps, how far apart to place them, and if people have as much success with lemon grass oil as with pheromones. I don't want to end up with 15 swarms, but I guess I can deal with that if I need to. Thank you for any advice you might have.
 

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Trapping swarms is somewhat akin to buying lottery tickets. :D If you don't play, you can't win.

But not much else is a 'given'. Some beeks think that placing traps in trees near water may improve the odds. Set out as many traps as you can, where you can. Use pheromones or lemongrass oil or old brood comb, or perhaps a combination.

You may find Thomas Seeley's Bait Hives study useful:
http://ecommons.cornell.edu/bitstream/1813/2653/2/Bait Hives for Honey Bees.pdf
 

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I agree with Rader - Also, some years a really good swarm years, and others are not. The past couple in the NE have been pretty good, 2013 seemed to be a "swarmy" year. - mild winters with more surviving hives. Who know what this year will bring with the hard winter we have been having.

I have placed my traps around natural flyways on a family farm. Gas Line, fence rows, etc. Along one gas line, I have caught 4 swarms between the last two seasons along a 250 yard stretch.

I captured 6 swarms out of 7 traps on that farm in 2013, but I have no misconceptions going into this year. I'm just happy to catch them when I do.

PAHunter62
 

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Success rates are very subjective. It is influenced by the number of hives within five miles of your traps as well as the weather conditions in your area. But as stated, you can't catch swarms without putting out traps. I think the biggest factor in the success of traps is the location of the trap as related to established hives, and the weather.
 

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I put out I think 24 traps last year, and I ended up getting a swarm to land in an empty box in my backyard that wasn't baited. I put traps out far and wide. This year I'm going to have them all closer to the house. I had them all in places that would not be easy to see since I didn't want them messed with. I invested so much time making the boxes I didn't want to see them vandalized. This year I'm not worried about that and will put them where they are more convenient to check them.
 

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I went two for three using pieces of old brood comb and some lemon grass oil. The LGO has an immediate effect of getting bees to investigate. This year, I won't hang the comb by way of frames since the bees draw before they use it. I will just toss it in. One cut out tends to provide enough brood comb for as many traps as I would want to run.
 

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Some places you'll get several every year.
Agreed..... I have found that once I start catching in a location it will produce almost every year. What is also neat is that the bees look different and have similar swarm size and temperament based on exactly which spot I catch them in. I have a spot that gives me almost black bees ,then 2 places that give me these beautiful long haired golden colored bees. They arent yellow.... I love trapping if you can't tell. It provides a similar satisfaction to gardening. Self sufficiency in beekeeping is a good feeling. I view it like reaching your hand out and grabbing $100 out of the air every time you make a catch.
 

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I'm going to put out 36 traps this year, baited with LGO, old comb or Bee Scent, and I've already scouted out likely areas. I have 2 spots that were productive last year and I'm thinking of setting out smaller feeder jars in the areas I don't know if there are bees or not. I thought this might be a good way to find out if there are bees in the surrounding area to catch because here on the prairies there are miles to cover and bees won't be everywhere. What do you guys think?
 

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Another good way to scout is to take a squeeze bottle of honey and a plate to a likely spot early in the spring prior to the first flow, but after bees are flying. Just make a line of honey across the plate, it doesn't take much. Then watch that plate. Normally they will show up within 15 minutes. I would say if nothing shows up in 30 minutes look for a better place.

I local guy saw my videos last winter and built 50 traps. He caught 37 swarms. I think he found his trapping locations by just being observant. When the dandelions bloom go walk around and see if you see bees working them. The more bees you see the better. You will be amazed how often bees will be there if you are looking for them.
 

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Another good way to scout is to take a squeeze bottle of honey and a plate to a likely spot early in the spring prior to the first flow, but after bees are flying. Just make a line of honey across the plate, it doesn't take much. Then watch that plate. Normally they will show up within 15 minutes. I would say if nothing shows up in 30 minutes look for a better place.

I local guy saw my videos last winter and built 50 traps. He caught 37 swarms. I think he found his trapping locations by just being observant. When the dandelions bloom go walk around and see if you see bees working them. The more bees you see the better. You will be amazed how often bees will be there if you are looking for them.
I am trying for the first time this year and have now built 8 traps and I check about once a week for last 2 weeks... Each trap is getting a ton of traffic but no swarms yet... One had over 50 bees in 2-3 minutes but no swarm inside.... I used LGO and old wax.... Is that much activity normal with no interest???
 

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Calbears, keep an eye on that one. They may pass it up for something better, or may decide not to swarm, but with that much activity they are thinking about it.
 

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That is the game right... I have to convince them my home is better :) I am getting a ton of visitors I just need somebody to move in!!!!!
 

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I found that old used nuc boxes work the best. I dont even put lemon grass oil in used nucs and catch more swarms than new boxes with LG. Anything you can do to get bee smell in the trap is the best. Used boxes, old brood comb, melted comb on the bottom, slum gum.
 

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Usually I see the behavior you are describing prior to a swarm coming. Now you need a rain followed by some hot humid weather and I bet they come. Regardless don't move that trap until you see it occupied WITH POLLEN ENTERING. I have seen bees spend the night night in traps before the actual swarm comes. I am talking a couple hundred. I got burned my first year trapping. Wait on the pollen.

http://letmbee.com/2012/05/17/new-observation-on-swarming-behavior/
 

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Will be my first year trying to catch swarms, but I feel like I've got a bit of luck on my side.

Last year a friend of mine called that he had a swarm in his front yard hanging onto his fence. I caught it and put it into a hive for him (which he promptly killed, but we won't go there). So I know there is something in his general area that is producing swarms. Might be ferals, might be someone else with hives. Either way, I have a nuc bait box in his yard with LGO right now. And another one in the yard of another friend about a mile down the road. And another one at our family business about 5 miles down the road in the other direction.

I know the bees are there, because I caught a swarm in that area before. So I'm hoping I can do it again.
 

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>Anything you can do to get bee smell in the trap is the best.

My brilliant idea this morning was add a few drops of LGO to the water produced by my old comb steam melter and wash the inside of new bait boxes with it. Didn't soak in much. I will still melt wax and propolis on the inside.

 
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