Last weekend I discussed Swarm Trapping on the Treatment-Free Beekeeping Podcast. Solomon and I brushed the surface, but hopefully it will get more people interested in giving this a try. There’s getting to be more and more information available on feral honey bees. Average height of feral colonies numbers have been suggested, but that doesn’t mean bees won’t hit a trap on the ground. Yesterday I wrote about Catch Boxes that can easily be made from beekeeping equipment. You could either use a Catch Box for this OR just use old equipment.
The following gallery is all of bees I have either caught or discoveted living close to the ground.
These were just pictures I found while quickly skimming. The one at right was from LAST WEEK. It was a HIT on Trap10 waiting to be deployed. Bees will live in cavities UP in trees, but they’ll make due if they can FIND a suitable cavity. Especially if you live in a place that does not have a lot of cavities. Large expanses of monocrop agriculture located adjacent to suitable habitat are GREAT PLACES to trap.
Do you have a some hive-bodies, bottom boards, inner & outer covers not being used because of deadouts? You bought that equipment it does you no good stored away waiting on bees. A deadout produces BLACK BROOD COMB. Nothing is stopping you. Bait them similarly to how I load a swarm trap. You can find a couple ounces of LGO almost anywhere. Set them out in varied locations. You may just get a surprise!
Get out there and catch em!
Have any questions?
P.S. – LITTLE TIP – If you set these things out I advise using foundationless frames in them. MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE SETTING LEVEL. Otherwise you WILL have troubles when you hive them. GOOD LUCK!
Just to let you know that this is really interesting! Who knew that there was so much science involved?! Ha,! Ha!
I love nerding out with bees. It’s fun to observe all of the neat biology. I will have a picture up later this week that John C. Would even like. Thanks for reading and commenting Mary.
That was a great discussion about trapping. I missed my chance to order a package, so I’m going to try trapping instead.
The traps you have on other people’s property, do you do anything legally to have them there or to protect yourself if something nasty happens?
Well I have never thought about having to work up some form of legal agreement. At most of my locations the traps are NOT around a lot of people. I have recently had one trap host more nervous than normal. I “am hoping” that there are no problems, but I am careful.
-I don’t put traps in locations I think people are gonna mess with them whether occupied or not.
-I rarely leave them for more than a couple of days once occupied.
-I have been doing this for quite some time now having probably 5-10 swarms come in when someone in the family witnessed it. I have never had them act aggressive during or immediately subsequent to swarming.
– With as much time as most people spend inside these days, most of these things occupy my boxes totally UN-witnessed. So for the ones that don’t see it they just call or send me a text with… YA GOT BEES.
I could learn a painful lesson some day, but I also try to read the people I’m trapping on. Most of these people I have known for either my entire life, or have worked with them for the last 15 years at one place of employment. THEY ALL KNOW I’M NUTS, but they also know I wouldn’t put them in danger. I have one co-worker with a son that used to be TERRIFIED of bees. Now every Spring he’s asking his Dad if I’m going to bring the swarm trap out. He’s the one that checks the trap for me at their house.
When a trap host gets to see a swarm coming in for the first time they are totally amazed. THEY TELL EVERYONE THEY KNOW ABOUT IT! Then people THEY KNOW want traps. That’s the way it has been working for me. I have way more people wanting them than what I can field.
I had a hive hosts get stung by bees a couple times. One guy’s wife pulled 50 some stingers out of his face and arms (he did something I told him NOT to do, and got reminded). Both were hosts I’d known for 20+ years. That’s why the hives were there. I told both I should charge them for apitherapy, and that was that. For me to do something associated with the bees with someone I gotta know em well enough to trust em.
Thanks for reading… Gotta catch some ZZZZZZzzzz…. Gotta PAINT TOMORROW!
Thanks for all the great info! I’ve been reading your blog and totally agree with your approach to beekeeping. This is my second year – both of my “purchased” nucs from last year failed to overwinter. I’m making my first foray into trapping, and had a couple of questions:
1. How close is too close to my bee yard? Some friends have land about 1.8 miles down the road – will relocating a swarm trapped there cause them to return to the original spot?
2. One of my failed hives has some honey left in the frames. There are lots of bees in there robbing, so I know there are wild bees around. I’m experimenting with some lemongrass oil in the hive (basically 2 deeps with comb and some honey) to see if I can catch a swarm here. Have you tried anything like that before?
Thanks for all the great info!
1) I would utilize the information on MOVING BEES that Mike Bush has out there. I have NOT done this, but the info has been out there long enough that if it didn’t work I would have heard back from people I have recommended it to. 🙂 Check down towards the bottom (>2 feet < 2 miles) http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmoving.htm
2) I have NOT done that. Typically what I do is take those frames out and put them in traps. Since you don’t have hives there now you don’t need to worry about a huge robbing fest, but once you have your bees around there it’s generally better to allow them to rob things that are at least a mile away from YOUR HIVES. I don’t know the exact distance. 100 yards is NOT far enough. I know. Otherwise there is robbing carnage back at the hives. I have an uncle with a farm about a mile from the home apiary. That’s where I put extracted supers and honey from deadouts when I have it in large quantities.
There is a chance that box could take a swarm. A couple weeks ago I was talking about Swarm Trapping with Solomon Parker on The Treatment-Free Beekeeping Podcast. I was talking with him about how traps don’t seem to pick up bees as readily when the entire box is filled with drawn out comb. It is my belief they prefer some open space in there. It only makes sense. When they leave they are primed and ready to make comb. In their own way they must be aware of it. All that being said… They are BEES… They’re gonna do what they do.
It’s good you have them near you. I just found a new trapping location today on the way home from work. An elderly lady from the community called me about a swarm. The swarm had left but in chatting with her I found out that a neighbor of hers YEARS AGO had bees for many years. That’s part of my pattern! Going back in the morning with a HOT trap!
Thanks for reading and commenting.