Any scouts at your swarm trap?

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Moobee 

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they completely drew out a bb of foundation in 3 days and were already filling a super? Or have I misunderstood?

the thing is I lost all my colonies over winter so have lots of drawn comb, much of which is filled with stores
My point was that it's a waste to give them drawn comb when that could be much more useful elsewhere (making up nucs for example) when a swarm is pre-programmed to start building fresh comb as that is what they would do in a nice new hollow tree. Sorry if that wasn't clear.
 

TomH 

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Lots of scouts at one of my bait hives which is sat on a stand in one of my out apiaries.

Interestingly they chose this (rose and national super) size over a poly nat brood box that’s next to it on the stand.

Fingers crossed.

View attachment IMG_3382.MOV
 

Do224 

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Lots of scouts at one of my bait hives which is sat on a stand in one of my out apiaries.

Interestingly they chose this (rose and national super) size over a poly nat brood box that’s next to it on the stand.

Fingers crossed.

View attachment 32004
Looks promising! Weird that they’re ignoring your other bait hive. I’ve got multiple bait hives in my garden and when one gets attention they all do
 

TomH 

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You called - they’re in!

Funnily enough had a call from someone very close by about bees in their chimney. They lit the fire and got them to move on, so would hazard a guess it’s the same ones. Just annoyed my bait hive was second choice to a chimney 😂

It’s the one on the left below. They did check out both, but wayy more scouts in the left hand one, and that’s where they’ve ended up.

BBFD5A9F-D395-4607-9ECA-3892D0DDA3C6.jpeg
 

MrGoat 

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Lots of scout bees at my bait hives this weekend again.

If we got a bit of dry and sunny weather around here there would definitely be new neighbours soon.

Enjoyable watching them figuring out the entrances
 

Do224 

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You called - they’re in!

Funnily enough had a call from someone very close by about bees in their chimney. They lit the fire and got them to move on, so would hazard a guess it’s the same ones. Just annoyed my bait hive was second choice to a chimney 😂

It’s the one on the left below. They did check out both, but wayy more scouts in the left hand one, and that’s where they’ve ended up.

View attachment 32010
Were both boxes baited the same?
 

TomH 

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Were both boxes baited the same?
Yes, little bit of lemongrass oil at the entrance and on a bit of tissue inside, frame of old brood comb, and 4 frames with just starter strips.

Guessing main difference is volume, ~35l for the national brood box on the right, and ~50l for the rose/shallow box on the left.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Guessing main difference is volume, ~35l for the national brood box on the right, and ~50l for the rose/shallow box on the left.
Yes I often wonder really at the Seeley 40l wisdom. My bait boxes are 8 frame 14x12 which always seem ridiculously small, yet the bees still choose them. A swarm arriving two weeks ago is now in a full size hive needing a super.
 

Newbeeneil 

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Yes I often wonder really at the Seeley 40l wisdom. My bait boxes are 8 frame 14x12 which always seem ridiculously small, yet the bees still choose them. A swarm arriving two weeks ago is now in a full size hive needing a super.
I had 2 bait hives within 10 feet of each other. 1 was 20lt the other 35.... the swarm chose the 20lt.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Yes it’s crazy. How long did they think they might last in that?
I once had a wasp nest in one of those concrete House Martin nests under the eaves. It ended up spilling out of the nest hole like some sort of malevolent holey lava. It’s not like bees can do that though 😬
 

JamezF 

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Yes I often wonder really at the Seeley 40l wisdom. My bait boxes are 8 frame 14x12 which always seem ridiculously small, yet the bees still choose them. A swarm arriving two weeks ago is now in a full size hive needing a super.
As far as I recall the figure comes from an experiment where different volumes of bait hive were made available and the 40 litre value is the volume that was either most preferred or the midpoint of those most preferred. I've not read his original report (I think it's in "The Lives of Bees"?) so I don't know how far he went or if the experiment has been repeated by others though. There could perhaps be variables that were not tested or controlled that might mean his results don't necessarily apply for everyone. Or perhaps it's possible that they preferred that volume because beekeepers have effectively been selecting them for it over many generations (perhaps colonies that would prefer a larger space tend to swarm more often for example, and beekeepers have selected against that because they don't like "swarmy bees"). In some cases maybe it's just that what they choose is "the best they've found". That might mean that what we consider a more appropriate size just never got visited for whatever reason even if it was right next door, or that there was something else the scouts didn't like about it.

James
 

Newbeeneil 

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I saw a hornets nest in a similar situation. It was half in and half out of robin nest box!
 
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Yes I often wonder really at the Seeley 40l wisdom.
As far as I recall the figure comes from an experiment where different volumes of bait hive were made available and the 40 litre value is the volume that was either most preferred or the midpoint of those most preferred. I've not read his original report (I think it's in "The Lives of Bees"?) so I don't know how far he went or if the experiment has been repeated by others though. There could perhaps be variables that were not tested or controlled that might mean his results don't necessarily apply for everyone. Or perhaps it's possible that they preferred that volume because beekeepers have effectively been selecting them for it over many generations (perhaps colonies that would prefer a larger space tend to swarm more often for example, and beekeepers have selected against that because they don't like "swarmy bees"). In some cases maybe it's just that what they choose is "the best they've found". That might mean that what we consider a more appropriate size just never got visited for whatever reason even if it was right next door, or that there was something else the scouts didn't like about it.
To be fair, Seeley's presentation makes clear that the wild nests he measured vary hugely in size.

Seeley.PNG
 

JamezF 

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To be fair, Seeley's presentation makes clear that the wild nests he measured vary hugely in size.

View attachment 32014

That looks to be twenty-one colonies in all. I'm really not sure that's sufficient to give a statistically significant result. Perhaps after a few hundred it might be possible to draw some reasonable conclusions.

Other possibilities... In warmer climates bees might prefer a larger cavity because it allows them to spread out and control the colony temperature more easily when it is too warm, whereas bees naturalised to cooler climates might develop a preference for smaller cavities because they're easier to keep warm, especially during the winter.

For the moment though, forty litres appears to be the best guess we have.

James
 

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I really meant from the bees’ perspective not whether Seeley is right or wrong. Why on earth would bees choose a 20litre box ?
 

JamezF 

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Why on earth would bees choose a 20litre box ?
Perhaps because it's the best they've found and they're keen to move? That doesn't mean there aren't better options available, just that perhaps they've not found them. And maybe even if they find a larger box that we think they'd be more likely to prefer it doesn't mean that they'll see things the same way. They might reject it because it has the bee equivalent of 70s swirly brown and orange carpets and flock wallpaper and they don't want the hassle of redecorating rather than moving in straight away.

Maybe they've developed some part of the decision-making process that accepts a smaller than ideal space on the grounds that it's a space they can use and they'll deal with any problems it causes later on.

James
 

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What was interesting about the 20lt v 35lt was that although they chose the 20lt, within 2 days another swarm had taken up residence in the 35 lt and when I replaced the 20lt after removing the swarm another swarm went in!
 

Do224 

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What was interesting about the 20lt v 35lt was that although they chose the 20lt, within 2 days another swarm had taken up residence in the 35 lt and when I replaced the 20lt after removing the swarm another swarm went in!
Perhaps they were scouting both and it was pure chance which one they ended up in. I’ve seen swarms enter my garden, linger over a bait box and then move 20 metres to enter a different trap. They’d been scouting both traps so I think some scouts would be pulling them to one and some to the other. Maybe it just depends which ones the queen happens to follow…
 

Newbeeneil 

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You could be right and bees were scouting at both traps over a 7 day period it took the fill the traps 3 times but Seeley describes the scouts coming to a consensus before the swarm leaves the bivouac or hive. I'm pretty sure they don't change their mind mid flight.
 
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Seeley also did some experiments with bees flying through the airborne swarm in a different direction, and it changed their trajectory. With a bait hive in an existing apiary the flight lines of foraging bees from nearby hives might send them off the intended route so they end up in a different bait hive.
 

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