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Is it okay to set up a swarm trap near an occupied hive?
In beekeeping everything is pretty much OK to try. It has been my observation that bees prefer to swarm away from occupied hives particularly if they are strong. I have met people through this blog though that have made me aware of swarms they catch (with traps) right in their apiary. I have NEVER had this happen (YET), and I have put a lot of traps up less than a ¼ mile from my yards. My best recommend would be to place traps somewhere between ½ to 1 mile away from where you or any one else has bees. Nature abhors a vacuum. If there is a niche available away from competition bees are more likely to fill it. Good luck.
I have a live hive setting about 10 feet from a hive that did not make it through the winter. Some of the bees from the live hive are robbing honey from the deadout hive. The bees in the live hive are descendants from a swarm caught last year, probably feral bees.
I had Russian bees 3 or 4 years ago and they swarmed, setting up home in trees around me probably. I see some of those Russian-looking bees robbing the honey from the deadout hive mentioned above.
Since the bees a robbing, might some of them be scouts looking for a place to establish a new home? Is it likely that I may attract a swarm in the deadout?
At this time of year (where I live) I think they are probably only interested in honey stores. It is possible they could occupy that box later, but….
I normally have trouble getting them to COME IN to a place where established hives are operating. I have had luck catching swarms in spots where newly hived swarms are, but the second year, when those hives are really established swarms don’t come into those yards.
If there are no leaves on the trees where you are at you probably don’t need to worry about moths yet. They will clean the honey out of that deadout for you FOR FREE. Then all you need to do is freeze the combs for 48 hours and put them in contractor plastic trash bags. The black brood comb can be used for swarm trap bait. If you want to leave that deadout there, go for it, but I wouldn’t leave it whole. Leave 1 deep (or equivalent) there with a bait comb in it and the rest foundationless frames. Bait it just like you would a swarm trap. Even though I don’t NORMALLY have luck getting swarms to come in to established yards I DO use this practice and have caught a couple swarms including 1 from last year that did overwinter.
Good luck Mac
Hello Jason, thanks for the dandy info. I will try leaving the deadout there with 1 deep and bait comb and see what happens. Be cool if some of my Russians return home. Happy Bee you
What you might do if you have the opportunity is to open that dead-out up and look at your BROOD COMBS in there. 1) make sure everything looks OK in there. bees can die of a lot of things, but if unfed and untreated most likely you are right and they either starved or froze. 2) remove some of the combs from the brood box and replace them with foundationless frames. It seems to me that swarms occupy traps better if there are 1 or 2 old brood combs in there AND the rest of the space is open. Having completed combs as well as having frames with foundation decrease HIT rates. 3) Get yourself some Lemon Grass Oil and bait your hive like I do swarm traps.
Keep an eye on the honey super too. Once they get that thing all robbed out get it off of there. Otherwise a new queen from a swarm may fill your super with eggs. This won’t hurt anything really, but I like to keep queens out of my supers if I can help it.
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