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Author Topic: Swarm traps  (Read 362 times)

Offline Honeyeater

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Swarm traps
« on: June 09, 2020, 05:33:37 am »
I have another question. I?m reading about swarm traps and am finding conflicting info.

Why would be the effectiveness of an 8 frame full depth box with a bottom board and a lid, standard entrance tied to a tree about 2m high (easy to reach) about 60m away from my hives. Was going to use lemongrass oil as lure.

Is that a waste of time from your experience?

Offline Acebird

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Re: Swarm traps
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2020, 09:11:15 am »
Sounds perfect to me.
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Offline Honeyeater

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Re: Swarm traps
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2020, 10:16:47 am »
Great. I read elsewhere that it needs to be 5m above ground to get the bees interested.


Offline paus

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Re: Swarm traps
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2020, 10:34:18 am »
I have had bees move into  an unbaited 5 frame trap sitting on the floor of my shop

Offline Hops Brewster

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Re: Swarm traps
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2020, 10:35:22 am »
If anyone wants to climb down a ladder carrying a hive full of bees from 5M, they can be my guest.  Personally, even 2M is a bit of a challenge, but I can do it, usually safely. 
Swarms will come to an inviting box at about any altitude, even ground level if it meets their needs.
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Offline rgennaro

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Re: Swarm traps
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2020, 12:02:38 pm »
I just set up 5 traps and put them between 1.5 to 2.5 meters high just out of convenience. Last year a swarm took residence in the sidings of my barn and the entrance hole was about 1.5 meters off the ground. I don?t see why it has to be 5m. I used two 5-frames nuc boxes (with frames) and two 10-frame medium size boxes. Good luck  :wink:

Offline Nock

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Re: Swarm traps
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2020, 05:53:44 pm »
No ladders here. If I want them higher I stand in back of truck or on my four wheeler.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Swarm traps
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2020, 06:12:56 pm »
I don?t think height is important. I have removed bees from trees where the entrance is at ground level. I like to place my traps at about 6 feet high. Anything higher is too hard to take down when it is full of bees.
Jim Altmiller
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 11:32:30 pm by sawdstmakr »

Offline Honeyeater

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Re: Swarm traps
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2020, 08:07:26 pm »
Thank you guys - that is all good to know.

Even an empty 8 frame box can be awkward to put up higher than 1.5m, so I won't worry about height then.

Cheers.

Offline CapnChkn

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Re: Swarm traps
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2020, 10:15:29 pm »
I've had them move into a empty 5 frame nuc sitting right next to my occupied hives.  But when I go out to the woods, having them close to the ground gets me nothing.  Feral or wild bees are not protected, and look for a place with some security.  A bear will not be as able if the bees are in a hollow branch 10 feet (3 meters) off the ground.

The zone Dr. Tom Seeley talks about in his book "Honeybee Democracy," is way up.

Quote
So at first I was perplexed by the rarity of nests high in trees. But as will be explained shortly, we now know that bees actually have a strong preference for nesting cavities with entrances located high above the ground. I also now know that my initial report of most nests being near ground level was an error generated by an unintentional bias in the way I had sampled the population of natural nests. Because the nests I studied were ones that had been noticed inadvertently by a person walking past a bee tree, and because people are much more likely to notice bees trafficking from a ground-level nest entrance than a tree-top one, I unwittingly studied nests whose entrances were far lower than is typical. I am confident on this point because several years later, when I became a bee hunter and mastered the ancient craft of lining bees (locating bee trees by baiting foragers from flowers and observing their flights back to their nests), I found that every hunt ended with me straining to spy the bees zipping in and out of a nest entrance high in a tree, like the one shown in figure 3.2. To date, I have located 27 bee trees by bee lining and can report that the average height of their nest entrances is 6.5 meters (21 feet). Needless to say, I?m now alert to the hidden danger of unintentional sampling bias.

I tie a rock around the end of a rope, and pull the trap up to around 10 or more feet.  No having to fuss with ladders, I can find spots I can bicycle to, I can just walk them back on the cargo rack of the bike.

One problem that perplexes me, the species of Lemon Grass used to make the oil.  I haven't fooled around with it long enough to determine, but I seem to have better luck with LGO made from Cymbopogon Citratus.  Most of the stuff I find around is C. Flexuosus.
"Thinking is like sin, them that doesn't is scairt of it, and them that does gets to liking it so much they can't quit!"  -Josh Billings.

Offline Honeyeater

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Re: Swarm traps
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2020, 06:33:55 am »
So, my next question is entrance size for the swarm trap. I have three options:

1. Standard wide entrance
2. Small round around 1"
3. Large round around 2"

What is your experience guys? Does it really matter?

BTW, I ordered Seeley's Honeybee Democracy which this topic I think is discussed, but still I'd like to know what you people think.

Offline Hops Brewster

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Re: Swarm traps
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2020, 11:08:04 am »
Don't overthink it.  After all, the swarm shouldn't be in the trap very long before you put them in a permanent hive.  An entry hole small enough to be defensible but large enough to accommodate a busy hive is all you need.  I have 1 trap with the regular baseboard entrance 1/2 the width of the box.  another has 2 - 5/8in holes next to each other.  both of these traps have caught swarms.
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Offline Robo

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Re: Swarm traps
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2020, 03:36:03 pm »
I have another question. I?m reading about swarm traps and am finding conflicting info.

Why would be the effectiveness of an 8 frame full depth box with a bottom board and a lid, standard entrance tied to a tree about 2m high (easy to reach) about 60m away from my hives. Was going to use lemongrass oil as lure.

Is that a waste of time from your experience?

If it is a solid bottom board it would work fine.   Used by bees previously is a bigger plus.   I have found height not that important,  nor entrance direction.   I have had swarms move int boxes on the ground.  A mentee of mine had a swarm move into her vacant 8 frame double deep hive this spring.   Lemongrass is fine,  but an old comb is much better.   I'v done a lot of experimenting with swarm traps over the years.
https://www.beevac.com/swarm-traps/
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Offline Skeggley

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Re: Swarm traps
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2020, 08:50:35 pm »
Hiya HoneyEater, personally I?ve found it more important to have boxes to house swarms in rather than boxes for the swarms to find as houses.
I have empty used boxes as swarm traps around the place however have only had one move in in the last 5 years yet have successfully hived a few swarms from inside and outside our area.
One of the keys, I think, is to have easily accessible brood frames during swarm season.(If there is such a time.) I always like to have a nuc colony or 2 for such purposes.

Offline Honeyeater

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Re: Swarm traps
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2020, 01:33:17 am »
personally I?ve found it more important to have boxes to house swarms in rather than boxes for the swarms to find as houses.

Hey Skeggley I had to read that a few times. Now I get it. :)

I always dismissed swarm traps to be honest, pretty much for that reason. But then, even being an outdoorsy type, I never ever came across a wild swarm, ever. And I like to think of myself as being quite observant of nature.

This year I thought I'd give them a go and see that's why I want to try to get all my ducks lined up. I do have a used box but no used frames. 

My next question was going to be how many do you set up on a block of 2500m2? But that may be superfluous.


Offline Skeggley

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Re: Swarm traps
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2020, 12:44:21 pm »
Hi mate, I spend the majority of my free awake time outdoors also and I always thought I was observant too but now I see more flowers. Weird. :)
First of all my priority is to mitigate swarming in my colony?s to prevent issues with neighbours and local flora and fauna. I already have a couple of feral colony?s on my little piece of paradise here on the scarp and I?d prefer to have birds nesting in these hollows over EHB. All around the neighbourhood there are bees housed in trees and these are the ones casting swarms. I?ve seen quite a few swarms hanging from branches here over the years and they always seem to be in the same area however I reckon they?re only seen because it?s a high traffic (foot) area, my guess is that I?ve only seen a small percentage of those actually here.
Each year I?ll put out all my spare equipment all around the yard, maybe 3 eight framers and 4 nuc boxes focussing on areas where I?ve seen hanging swarms previously. The one time one of the boxes was moved into was set up at head height in my veggie patch. Never seen a swarm there in the past. What i did learn though was not to put a swarm trap head height in a place walked past each day. ;)
I guess the key is to arouse the scout bees curiosity in the box and in a position trafficked by the bees.
Unlike previous seasons I didn?t see a single swarm this season so I wasn?t expecting a good honey season. Once again I was wrong.

Offline Honeyeater

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Re: Swarm traps
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2020, 09:51:44 pm »
Spot on mate. I will be working hard  to take good care of my hives and prevent them swarming. I don't want to annoy neighbours and even more so local fauna.

I'm stumped with you joyless swarm straps mate. Just to be clear, reason I want to set up the traps is not to be slack with my own hive management, but more to catch a feral one. Or maybe a swarm from the other beekeepers that seem to be around me.

I do have a lot of native bees though, amazing insects.

Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Swarm traps
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2020, 06:58:05 am »
We had 8 swarm traps set around 100 hives, anything from 50 yard to 600 yards away. Some hives swarmed and went into high trees, and then proceeded to fly over our traps. result for 4 weeks of swarms, zero.
We have had more swarms turn up at home where we might have a few nucs or a hive, I will stand corrected but I think you trap other bees rather than your own swarms.

Offline CapnChkn

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Re: Swarm traps
« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2020, 03:37:52 am »
Quote
So, my next question is entrance size for the swarm trap. I have three options:

1. Standard wide entrance
2. Small round around 1"
3. Large round around 2"

I make the boxes a regular style with 3/4 inch openings across the front, then close it with an entrance reducer.  I can then use the boxes as a sort of nuc.  The openings I then cut are 5/16 x 2 inches.  I've made them one inch across, but they chewed a hole, just bee sized, through the front over the opening in the reducer.  I have the worst time keeping those reducers as well, they fall out on my journey to where I set the trap.

As for Tom Seeley, he says, 15^2 cm.  That translates to a 1 3/4 inch diameter.  I have one I just drilled a 1 in. hole, and is one I caught a swarm in this year.
"Thinking is like sin, them that doesn't is scairt of it, and them that does gets to liking it so much they can't quit!"  -Josh Billings.