Honey bees need a good residence to flourish and they never bear any offensive conduct. If you are new to the...
How To Set Up A Swarm Trap For Honey bees?
Swarming season is usually during spring when the bees have spent the winter in their colony and are ready to split to start afresh and gather enough honey before winter. But trapping a swarm can be a hit and miss. Everything from the equipment to the lure you use can make a difference.
So here’s a step-by-step instruction on setting up a swarm trap for honey bees:
1. Prepare your equipment
Some people choose store-bought equipment for trapping swarms. Others rely on the more traditional system of building their own boxes. An ideal swarm trap will have the following:
· It should be dry and watertight because the bees won’t like damp boxes. You may need a telescoping cover based on the region you live and the amount of rainfall you receive.
· It should be big enough for the bees to pick it as home. Ideally, the box should be able to fit 40-60 liters.
· The entrance must be big enough for the bees but small enough to keep predators away. This is usually about 2 square inches.
· The overall weight of the box must not exceed 15Ibs. The lighter your box, the easier it will be to set up the trap and bring it down with the swarm.
· It should be able to hold about 5 to 6 frames but avoid using too many frames as it would reduce the amount of empty space available for the bees.
You can buy your equipment, ready for use, from stores as well. A lot of beekeepers build their own traps to save costs since it is possible that they may not catch any swarms at all and the traps may not last another season.
2. Choose a lure
You can either depend entirely on old honeycomb and propolis to lure your bees, or you can lace the inside of the box with some lemongrass oil to attract scout bees. Lemongrass oil seems to work well for many beekeepers. You can also use commercially available lures. These usually come in a vial that can be opened and kept inside the box. Scout bees will be able to smell the lure and fly to the box.
3. Pick a good location
Beekeepers set up lots of swarm traps every swarming season to catch bee swarms for free. Ideally, a swarm trap should be at about 10 feet high. But make sure that you set it up according to your comfort too. It should be easy to access and inspect the boxes every two to three weeks. At the same time, it should be at a height from where you can easily bring it down without a lot of problems.
Carefully secure the box in a way that it will be able to last long enough for the bee scouts to find it. A pulley system can be used to bring down the boxes and hoist them up. Alternatively, you can hang it with the help of nails on a tree.
4. Wait for the bee scouts to spot your trap
Once your swarm trap is set up, you need to wait for the bee scouts to find it. Like we said before, this can be a hit and miss. Be patient, and if you’ve built a good swarm trap, then the bees will surely begin settling in. Once a swarm is trapped, give it time to have brood before you transfer your swarm. There is a chance that bees will abscond if it did not stay in the trap long enough.
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