Swarm Traps!

20 Mar

I would like to welcome my newest follower, Jon. Jon has his own blog detailing his Journey To Homesteading, and his interest in honey bees. Go check him out at The Sweet Beeness. Jon asked for some details on my swarm traps so I will answer him here.

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I make my traps out of 8 frame deep supers. That seems to be the proper volume to attract bees. I started out just nailing a piece of plywood on to the bottom of the super, but I came up with an idea. Normally, when you transfer a captured swarm to a hive, you take the top off of the trap. Then you pull the frames out and transfer them to the hive, all the while, bees are swirling all around in the air. After the frames have been transferred, you will still have a bunch of bees in the bottom of the trap which you will have to try to shake out into the hive. I thought there might be a better way. I thought if I had an easily removable bottom on the trap, I could just remove the bottom and set the whole trap onto a bottom board and they would be transferred in a matter of seconds without even opening the top. But how to do this?

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I thought I might make a similar bottom like I use for the top. But no, that wouldn’t work well. Anytime it rained, the water would run down the sides and collect in the bottom of the hive.

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Then I thought, what if I made the frame for the bottom fit inside the trap instead of the outside? It would be almost rain proof and I could just take out two screws to remove the bottom. I made five of the traps like this so I will see how it works out.

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Oh, I made these 5 traps out of 1X12s that I did not rip down to the proper size to be a deep super. My box is an inch and a half deeper than a super. I needed the extra space so my deep frames will fit inside with the bottom attached. The only real negative I can think of is the bees might not like that extra space after I set the trap onto a bottom board. The old Beeks in my bee club are interested in my idea and they think the bees will just draw out a little bit of comb hanging from the bottom of the frames. That shouldn’t be a problem since these frames will be brood frames and won’t go into an extractor.

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This is a picture of one of my traps hanging in a tree about 15 feet high. I put out four traps today while the temperature was 40 degrees with a 20 MPH wind. I even saw a few flakes of snow flitting by! That sure doesn’t seem like swarm weather does it? Well, last week we had temps in the 80s! I have 15 traps to put out, so I need to get started because it will take a couple of days to get it done. Oh yeah, my two surviving hives are doing really well. Last week I went through them frame by frame. As a matter of fact, one of the hives was so strong I did a walk-away split. I don’t know how it will work out but I thought if it will ever work it should be now because that hive was so strong.

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I made this 5 gallon pail feeder last week and it is working really well. I drilled holes all around the bucket so that the little indentions around the top will hold the sugar water when you invert the bucket. The capillary pressure keeps it from spilling out just as it does with a jar feeder with holes punched in the lid. I have some other topics to discuss but I will save that for later. Keep prepping everyone!

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