Too early for swarm traps?

Beekeeping Forum

Help Support Beekeeping Forum:

jeff33 

Drone Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Mar 9, 2016
Messages
1,049
Reaction score
189
Location
Gower, where all the fun happens
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
14 now...and still counting
I've already had a very interesting reply, direct from the titled owner of the estate. It was written very succinctly and graciously, but turned down my request. Perhaps I should have egged the natural beekeeping argument more strongly as the owner is an admirer of the writings of Rudolph Steiner. Steiner appears to have had strong views against the practise (as in 1923) of keeping bees.

I have replied with equal grace, avoiding trying to do any direct persuasion and have pointed out that my own beekeeping gravitates towards a more natural approach than the conventional. I won't try to do any bee poaching, but still have several authorised locations in mind :)
At least it's more pleasant than the abrupt 'how much' response I had from a land owner when I approached him to put a few hives on the edge of one of his unused field.
I was so gob smacked by his rudeness and not even a hello or no thank-you that I proceeded to wind him up with some guess work on his how much without mentioning money.
 

Do224 

New Bee
Joined
May 27, 2020
Messages
42
Reaction score
29
Location
Cumbria
Hive Type
none
It's a fascinating thing too watch. I put a bait hive up in the garden every year and watch a succession of events before a swarm arrives. Often the activity can become quite frenzied only for it all to stop, the swarm having decided to live elsewhere or the beekeeper, having discovered what was happening, doing something about it.
If a swarm does arrive, it's usually five or six days of increasing activity until there are hundreds of bees there. All of a sudden it stops as if a switch has been thrown and within minutes the swarm arrives. Lovely to see; never tire of it
I bet it’s fantastic to see the swarm arrive. Do you catch a swarm in your bait hive most years? What sort of location is it in?
 

Amari 

Drone Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
1,838
Reaction score
388
Location
Suffolk
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
8
Just noticed that a swarm has moved into the trap with the camera in I linked to earlier...
Maybe it was the music that tempted them to choose your box?
 

Erichalfbee 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
21,348
Reaction score
3,080
Location
Ceredigion
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
7
I bet it’s fantastic to see the swarm arrive. Do you catch a swarm in your bait hive most years? What sort of location is it in?
It never fails. Every year
It’s on the potting shed roof.
It’s a Payne’s 14x12 nuc with the feeder taken out, painted inside with propolis. There’s one old brood frame, and two starter strip wired frames DB4702C2-AE15-4F1B-9457-9F3DEEB95C45.jpeg
 

Heather 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
4,105
Reaction score
94
Location
Newick, East Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
15
Wow, crazy weather , crazy bees. But a colony reported to me.- Sussex- 9 frames brood, drones galore, and swarm cells ripe.and... .already filled a super. Think my bees still in thermal undies!!!
 

Curly green finger's 

Queen Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Messages
2,949
Reaction score
1,197
Location
Titterstone clee South Shropshire
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
Over 20
I agree, watching scouts suss out a box is great but when the swarm turn up it's mind blowing when you first see it!
Aye like this.
It's a fascinating thing too watch. I put a bait hive up in the garden every year and watch a succession of events before a swarm arrives. Often the activity can become quite frenzied only for it all to stop, the swarm having decided to live elsewhere or the beekeeper, having discovered what was happening, doing something about it.
If a swarm does arrive, it's usually five or six days of increasing activity until there are hundreds of bees there. All of a sudden it stops as if a switch has been thrown and within minutes the swarm arrives. Lovely to see; never tire of it
Bait hive swarm
This was a swarm I watched leave a hive and land 30 metres away in a bait hive last year.
 

Do224 

New Bee
Joined
May 27, 2020
Messages
42
Reaction score
29
Location
Cumbria
Hive Type
none
It never fails. Every year
It’s on the potting shed roof.
It’s a Payne’s 14x12 nuc with the feeder taken out, painted inside with propolis. There’s one old brood frame, and two starter strip wired frames View attachment 25427
No lemongrass oil? Interested to hear how different people bait and site their swarm traps

Does it get constant attention from scouts throughout say May, June, July?
 

Erichalfbee 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
21,348
Reaction score
3,080
Location
Ceredigion
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
7
No lemongrass oil? Interested to hear how different people bait and site their swarm traps

Does it get constant attention from scouts throughout say May, June, July?
No lemongrass. No.
The best attractant is old comb.
Not constant attention. Maybe a couple of false alarms. The numbers build up over a week then either a swarm arrives or they disappear
 

pnkemp 

New Bee
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
83
Reaction score
25
Location
Gloucester, Glos
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
1
Welp that's my trap set up on my garage roof. Worked in under a week last May. This year there is an extra nuc body on it for space and a full set of foundation, plus one drawn frame plus the usual lemongrass lure. Fingers crossed.
 

Do224 

New Bee
Joined
May 27, 2020
Messages
42
Reaction score
29
Location
Cumbria
Hive Type
none
Close up of a swarm arriving in a baitbox up a tree


password: "Arrival"

For someone who gets vertigo with thick socks on, this was a bit of a challenge to film
That’s great, is it recent or from a previous year?

I think I may have gone down the wrong route with my bait hives....I’ve put six of them up around the garden 😂. Trouble is I’ve no other options for places to put them at the minute. Do you think I should take five down and just keep one? It is a biggish garden so they’re all about 15-20 metres away from each other...and they’re in different types of locations, two of them are about 12ft up in trees, two are at waist height down the side of buildings, one is on a stable roof and the last is at the bottom end of the paddock at about waist height
 

Erichalfbee 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
21,348
Reaction score
3,080
Location
Ceredigion
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
7
No leave them. Have you got old brood comb in each?
 

drdrday 

House Bee
Joined
May 2, 2018
Messages
289
Reaction score
205
Location
Nr Maidstone, Kent, UK
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
2 + 1 nuc
Do you think I should take five down and just keep one?
Definitely worth keeping them all there this year. If you get any interest you'll know which location they prefer. I always put two bait hives out. One goes in the same spot that they seem to like every year, and the other in various trial spots - gives you an idea of what they prefer.
Maybe next year you can keep the best positions and move the others further afield.
 

Boston Bees 

Field Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Oct 13, 2020
Messages
756
Reaction score
679
Location
West Yorkshire
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
10-20
Do you think I should take five down and just keep one?
Interestingly, this is what the Apiarist blog just recommended. The idea being that if you have too many bait hives then you reduce the number of "voters" (scout bees) for each one. A bit like several small left-wing political parties going up against one big right-wing party in a first-past-the-post system (or vice versa) ......

I had never thought about it like this.

I am not entirely sure he is right though.
 

Beebe 

Slave to the bees
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2021
Messages
280
Reaction score
255
Location
Scotland
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
3 + a few more
I am not entirely sure he is right though.
The colony is continuously making collective decisions about food, water and weather conditions despite being confronted by a world of infinite choices. I think that it is taking an inappropriate anthropomorphic approach to suggest that bees will show hesitancy when being offered a multiplicity of near perfect new homes within a restricted location.

If the problem is that another swarm may hog the best nest if a specific swarm hesitates, so much the better; you get the one swarm and the other will dither less, once it has fewer choices. ;)
 

Do224 

New Bee
Joined
May 27, 2020
Messages
42
Reaction score
29
Location
Cumbria
Hive Type
none
No leave them. Have you got old brood comb in each?
Yes old black comb in each along with a couple of drops of lemongrass oil on some cotton wool.

From what I’m understanding the issue with too many bait hives within a small area is that I may be ‘splitting the vote’.

I suppose I’m thinking of it like this.......say I’ve got 120 scout bees at my six traps and (for arguments sake) let’s say they like each trap equally, so 20 bees like each trap. They’ll all fly back to their nest and tell the others and so each of my traps gets a ‘vote of 20’ (instead of one single trap getting a vote of 120). So....,then some other bees (let’s say there’s 50 of them) who have been scouting out a mediocre old tree trunk also fly back to the nest to tell the others that they like their tree trunk. Tree trunk wins with 50 votes as my traps only had 20 votes each....whereas if I only had one trap it would have had a vote of 120 and won.

Complete rubbish or plausible??
 

Erichalfbee 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
21,348
Reaction score
3,080
Location
Ceredigion
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
7
I suspect that given multiple equally choice abodes the only thing to happen would be that consensus would simply take longer
 
Top