There have been times in all of our lives when we have had to “Eat Crow”. Serendipity struck this last weekend and I must set the record straight and acknowledge that I was probably wrong about downplaying the importance of Lemon Grass Oil (LGO) in swarm trapping.
I had arrived at that conclusion last year after a swarm left one of my traps in favor for a bee tree that had not overwintered. I knew there was LGO in my trap, and none in the tree. Therefore from this one instance I became convinced that LGO was hoodoo trickery!!!! I continued to place it in my traps because I already had a bottle. I was totally convinced that old comb was the key to attracting swarms.
Last weekend my wife and I had the opportunity to go to a local winery with some friends. In the morning I swapped out two occupied traps with empty ones. Sometime last week my bottle of LGO developed a leak, and it was all over the inside of the jar where it is normally stored. As a result I got LGO all over my hands and though I tried to clean it off, my fingers still smelled of it.
At the winery I began to hear the familiar tone that always makes me start looking around for a flying honeybee. I looked down just as the bee landed on my fingers. I had been holding my wife’s hand in the car on the way there. Amazingly enough there were bees checking her out as well. One of our friends said something about the bees being attracted to us. They were right, but they had no idea of the reason. I am certain it was the LGO, because no one else had bees landing on them.
When we returned home it was still daylight. Trap 30 had been hanging for a while. I had seen NO scouting activity around it in days. Using my dropper I put a little less than 0.5-mL LGO on the floor of the trap through the main entrance. Within minutes there were bees flying around the box.
I visit beesource.com several times daily. I spend a lot of time in the Forum Page – Swarms, Trap-outs, and Cutouts. There are a lot of threads on swarm trapping. For months I have been posting in the forums minimizing the importance of LGO. I will NEVER do that again. LGO must be attractive to honeybees.
I still think it is important to have old comb in your traps allowing the queen to begin laying as soon as it is sufficiently cleaned by the bees. Also old comb does not seem to get destroyed by moths as readily as new comb.
What do you think? Questions? Comments?