Swarming is nearly upon us in Indiana, so I’m re-posting a link to the Treatment-Free Beekeeping Podcast – How to Catch Swarms with Solomon Parker. Don’t have your traps out yet? It’s time to get on it! Don’t have them made and ready for deployment? THERE’S STILL TIME, but you’re really going to have to get moving! Honeybees will swarm for the rest of the summer. The largest glut occurs in the beginning of the season, but late swarms are valuable and oftentimes overwinter. One thing is certain, you won’t catch em if you’re not trying.
Solomon and I discuss the nuts and bolts of swarm trapping during this podcast. Much of the show is about targeting feral populations and basic trap deployment. We also talk about fostering relationships with trap hosts as a key component to success in trapping and beekeeping. If you’re interested in in obtaining free locally-adapted stock this podcast will help. Things are HEATING UP and traps have been deployed in response to feedback from the staging area as well as from my established colonies. On Sunday 4/8/17 drones were observed returning in the late afternoon to 1605 at the home Apiary. They were returning from somewhere, and my money is on a congregation area (or areas). Traps were loaded and staged about two weeks ago, and for a couple of days there was no scouting attention. On Saturday and Sunday (4/8 & 4/9) scouts began showing interest in staged traps and have been doing so ever since.
In the past I have questioned the value of placing traps in an established apiary. An evolution in thinking has occurred after observing one of the sites in 2017. The above picture shows how an Apiary is “staffed” over time through selection. As the less well suited colonies fail, hardy colonies show themselves by being alive in the Spring. The naming convention tells information about these colonies. The stand pictured above has one colony captured in 2011 (1110) and two from 2012 (1203 & 1211). Mature colonies like these make up the backbone of my production.
In 2016 bees at this site swarmed to traps on the hive stand TWICE, resulting in 1614 and 1635. Both of these colonies also overwintered. Give every captured colony a fair shot at overwintering. You never know what is possible unless you find out. The single boxes on the stand provide 2 potential trapping opportunities for 2017. Bees that overwinter and swarm back to the stand have the potential to greatly simplify my life. Always have a trap proximal to your apiary. If you have an unoccupied hive stand bait up some woodenware having it setting there. Amazing things can happen if given the opportunity.
Good luck this season. I’ll be posting trapping progress to the LetMBee Facebook Page.
Are you’re traps deployed?
Noticing any activity yet?
Here’s a shot of most of the traps that have been deployed. As you can see I’m testing whether elevating traps is necessary. In the last several years more and more bees on the ground. If swarms will hit traps located on the ground where you live, there is no easier method for obtaining honeybees.