This is an intermediate post with a few ideas about trap outs. It will be followed by a post on checking and concluding a trap out sometime later.
Fact....If one worker finds a way back in, she will lead the rest to
that entrance. After that, they will continue to look for other
entrances. It is nearly impossible to seal all entrances if it isn't
done with the initial set up.
Theory....I think the queen reacts as if there is a dearth when the
foragers stop bringing in pollen and nectar. She quits laying.
Therefore, my belief is that the last egg is laid within a week of the
trap being set. That leaves a total of 4 weeks from set up, until the
last worker emerges. As with everything about bees, this can vary.
I have never seen a hive starve to death in the summer. I have seen
them use up all stores in a dearth in the summer and abscond.
Therefore, when a trap out runs out of stores, the queen and the
remaining bees will abscond. The majority of the time she will pass
the catch box and land on a bush in the area. From there, it is like a
swarm. If you find her in time, they can be hived. If not, they follow
A trap on a newly arrived swarm will many times leave within the first
2 or 3 days. They have no brood, no stores, and no reason to stay in
their new home. Many of these queens will take the catch box, many
will not. A colony that has been established for quite some time will
almost always leave the area, leaving only the bees that have taken up
in the catch box prior to the departure.
I have been told by beeks in heavy SHB areas that the SHB will
devastate a colony before the trap out can be completed.If you have a
problem with SHB in your area, you may want to do the trapouts in
early spring before the SHB get strong.