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Swarm Trapping. Contributed by Jorg Kemper

  • 01 Nov 2016 6:14 PM
    Message # 4358462
    Andrew Wootton (Administrator)
    A swarm box can be used to encourage a swarm of bees to come to you, rather than having to collect them from possibly difficult places. I have used a swarm box for 4 years and found it to be very successful. Each year I have caught at least one swarm. Whilst almost always the swarms come from wild colonies or possibly from other beekeepers’ hives, a swarm box can also help prevent a swarm from your own colonies flying off and annoying the neighbours. The cold and wet weather of the last months, combined with long working hours, at times prevent me from inspecting the hives as regularly as I should. On one occasion last year one of my colonies swarmed, but the swarm flew straight into the swarm box.

    Deploying a swarm box is simplicity itself. I use a standard size box with bottom and top.  Into the box I place one dark old frame of comb. Also into the box I put a small cosmetic cotton bud stick, the end of which has been soaked in two or three drops of lemongrass pure essential oil (available amongst other things from health food shops. A tiny bottle will last forever). The scent is apparently very attractive to bees. I place my box high on a brick fence, adjacent to an orange tree which flowers heavily in springtime. Usually the odd bee walks into the hive to have a look. As the box is visible from the kitchen window we have noticed in the day or two before a swarm comes into the box there will be a large number of bees inspecting the box. Presumably these are scouts who go back to the swarm and say; “Girls, have I found a great place for us to live”.

    Once a swarm has entered I wait until the evening and then move the box to its final position. For the first days I reduce the entrance to very small and place a small branch across the entrance. The bees seem to reorientate to the new position very quickly and whilst for a few days some bees will fly back to the original position of the swarm box, they seem to also remember the new position.

    Last modified: 01 Nov 2016 6:19 PM | Andrew Wootton (Administrator)

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