Saul Creek Apiary
Raw Honey Pollination Equipment
Commercially Produced Swarm Trap
One of the most exciting things any Beekeeper can have happen is finding that a new colony of Bees has moved into an empty hive body or piece of equipment that is not being used. It's even more exciting when you find that the Bees that have moved in didn't come from your own Apiary. Bees swarming in unmanaged Honeybee Colonies is a natural survival instinct which is natures way to keep the Feral Honeybee population from becoming extinct. These swarms are usually smaller in size as often times Feral Colonies are located in hollow trees where room for expanding is limited so colony size is at a minimum. The same thing can and does happen in managed Honeybee colonies usually resulting from poor management such as overcrowding, dilapidated hive equipment and even disease. Even well managed colonies can and have been known to swarm often times resulting in huge swarms that can be 5 to 7lbs or more of Bees.
Swarm Trap Placement:
Studies have shown that placing a Swarm Trap or Box 8 to 9 feet off the ground produces the best results however, Beekeepers have had swarms move into empty hive equipment that is just laying on the ground so I would take this info with a grain of salt. Working off a ladder 8 to 9 feet off the ground can be a sobering experience while wearing a Suit and Veil with Gloves on a ladder and trying to cut or untie a swarm trap from the crotch of a tree and possibly having hundreds of angry Bees bouncing off your veil. Even worse is trying to remove a full size Hive Body or Nucleus Hive while trying not to fall from off your ladder. Safety First! There is no swarm worth getting injured over. Placing your Swarm Trap or Box no higher than arms reach will work just as good, trust me. Having personally had several colonies move into empty hive equipment sitting at ground level is proof enough that it doesn't need to be 8 or 9 feet off the ground.
Swarm Trap Lures:
Anyone that has ever purchased a package of Bees or a replacement Queen knows "the smell". It's somewhat of a Lemony fragrance that is unmistakable as the Queens Pheromone Scent. This is the scent the Bees come to know as their own Queens scent, and even though humans cannot distinguish one Queens Scent from another, Bees can. Most Lures attempt to copy the Queens natural scent which is a natural attractant to the Honeybee Scout looking for a new home.
Pheromone Scent: For some time now people have tried to duplicate the Queens Pheromone scent and some have had extremely good success. These Pheromone scents can be purchased from most major Bee Supply Companies and come in a small Plastic Vile sealed inside a paper envelope. Always follow the instructions that come with the Vile. Some instructions can be rather vague though and the the event you lost your instructions or just can't make heads or tales of what your reading here is how most Pheromone Scents are supposed to be used. Instructions: Do Not Open the Paper Envelope and remove the Vile. The scent will penetrate the plastic vile and paper and work just fine. Opening the vile will cause the scent to evaporate and diminish it's effectiveness. The envelope is used to attach the lure to the trap either by stapling or gluing or whatever means you decide to use. If you are not going to be using the lure right away place the envelope in a plastic baggy or jar and place the lure in the refrigerator. This will keep your lure at it's maximum potential for quit some time. When you get ready to use the lure simply attach it to the traps side wall, top or wherever is convenient. Your Trap is now ready.
Lemon Grass Oil Swarm Lure
Lemon Grass Oil: Pheromone scents can get expensive when setting out several traps combined with the fact that as time goes on the commercially produced scents start to diminish. Another option that has had good results among Beekeepers is using Lemon Grass Oil which can be purchased at most health food stores. The advantage to this is the scent can be refreshed from time to time by placing a few drops of the Oil on a piece of cotton or placing it directly inside the trap.
Dark Brood Frame
Used Hive Equipment: Of all the Swarm Trap choices available to Beekeepers some will say and I have to agree the absolute best Trap is a Used Hive Body. Used Equipment absorbs the smell of it's previous tenants therefore making an all natural attractant. Not only do you have the Queens Pheromone scent you also have Wax and other by products of the colony that Bees can sense and are attracted to. Often time Hives that have been recently abandoned by their previous owners are soon inhabited by another colony looking for a new home.
Burr Comb In Swarm Trap
Using Old Comb, Honey and other Products of the hive for a lure: Every Beekeeper should always be concerned about the Health of their Apiary. Many Beekeepers use old comb for a lure which contains small amounts of honey and pollen and also contains the Queens Pheromone scent as an attractant which can produce extremely good results in a swarm trap. It can also attract unwanted pest such as Wax Moths which can decimate a weak colony, ruin stored drawn comb and foundation and can cause damage to hive bodies and frames that often times cannot be repaired.
Expired Queens (Re-Queening): Beekeepers often times replace or "Re-Queen" their colonies for any number of reasons including here in the South Texas attempting to control Africanized Honeybee takeover. When a new Queen is introduced the old Queen must be removed. There is no better scent than an actual Queens scent. When re-queening simply pinch off the head of the old queen and drop her into a jar with just enough alcohol to cover the queen. After you have a few queens soaking in your jar place a few drops of the liquid in your trap. It doesn't get any better than the real thing.
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