But as of yet, no swarms have moved into one of the bee yard traps. My limited trapping success has come from a creekside trap about 1200 ft from my hives. However, that swarm did not come from one of my hives.
I keep three of them around on my 10 acres. Last year I caught a swarm from some feral hive. I make all my own gear so it doesn't cost much. I like the idea of at least having a chance to snag a swarm.
We put a trap in a white pine tree, about 8 feet off the ground, about 150 feet from the hives. This had been a favorite place for the swarms of our hives to occupy in previous years, so we thought should the hives swarm they just might end up in this swarm box.
We had no swarms this past year, and that box attracted a small group of very dark colored bees (vs. our Italians). Unfortunately it was a small group, and queenless.
I have yards that are not so close to home. In all these yards I hang a couple of traps that are the size of a five frame nuc. Last year I caught over fifteen swarms in these traps. If the traps had not been there the bees would have flown into the wild.
I keep many swarm traps out during the pre swarm and swarm season. I usually have about 5-8 out in the immediate area. I also bring a couple to friends houses and hang some at work. I have caught about 2-3 swarms a year this way. Last year none of my hives swarmed. I manage about 25 hives. Some swarms that found my traps were really good bees and some were heavily infested with mites.
I make all of my own equipment so I use scraps of wood I have on hand. Costs next to nothing. I use fixed bottoms and migratory tops and hang them in trees or just set them up on something. Its always amazing how quickly bees find them. With in 2-3 days I have bees checking them out. When I know a hive has swarmed and is looking for a new home, the amount of activity really goes up. Sometimes they move in and sometime its other scouts checking it out.
Michael B: What size traps do you build?. I have a lot of deep frames, so my traps fit 6 frames inside I use 3/4 inch square trim on the corners, so there is a bit of space on both sides of the frames.
I use a combination of everything. I typically use 10 frame deeps. I have used 10 frame mediums and 5 frame nucs too.
I have caught swarms in each. All of my traps are painted or stained in natural earth tones (not sure if it matters). I always add 1 or 2 frames older dark brood comb. And fill the rest of the box with foundation and foundationless frames and add a couple drops of lemongrass oil.
All of my traps have a 1 1/4" hole drilled in the front for the entrance. I add a hive staple across the hole to keep squirrels and chipmunks out.
Then just hang them in late April. I check them once a week through mid July.
I have had one swarm abscond after hiving them. Now I put z queen excluder top and bottom for a couple days. It works!
I set ONE swarm trap this year, and caught a swarm of ferals. I will certainly be setting up a bait hive near my apiary, and several others, depending on how many empty boxes I have. 2013 was my first year, and I could barely keep up with equipment for cutouts. This spring will find me much better prepared.
I use 5 frame deep nucs. I put one at each of my outyards and check them frequently. Caught 2 swarms last summer. I also know where there are 3 bee trees and put one at each site. I use old comb and lemongrass oil also.
My three hives are all 2013 swarm-ees to the walls of my barns last spring. We put the siding back on with screws when we replaced it after the cut-out, just in case we get more next spring. (I've always had bees living in those walls so apparently bees like it there.) I plan to put out some swarm traps in the immediate area in case my girls decide they really liked the old location better than where I've moved them. Plus I'm going to open the siding behind a couple of the long-used bee-holes and contrive to hang some drawn frames behind them in such a way that if the bees arrive and start to use them I can just transfer them already on the frames directly into hives, no fuss, no muss.
I, too, plan on using QE on top and bottom in the new hives for the first days. I earned my chops last year re-hiving my cut-out bees, over and over until they tired of the game. I had no idea then what a QE was, but fair warning to my future swarms: I do NOW.
Plus I'm going to check for varroa right away, and if needed, treat them immediately while all the mites are still phoretic.
Actually I'm a little worried I might get more swarms than I want to add to my collection. But I don't want to allow any unmanaged bees so close to my hives.
I've set out a swarm trap before, with the lure, and didn't get anything. A commercial beekeeper had over 500 hives nearby. I got two I happened to see close to the road on branches.
Two years ago I got 2 swarms that came into two empty hives I had. I didn't even think about the hives being swarm traps, they had the darkest, ugliest, oldest wax I've ever seen and the hive body was complete garbage. But I guess they liked it.
A forum community dedicated to beekeeping, bee owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about breeding, honey production, health, behavior, hives, housing, adopting, care, classifieds, and more!