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Author Topic: How early should I set out swarm traps ?  (Read 3558 times)

Offline wouldliketobee

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How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« on: January 13, 2011, 03:04:01 PM »
How early should I set out my swarm traps here in southeast Iowa ?  Also I have a co-worker that wants me to do a trap out on a tree, I've been trying to absorb all the info on here and I'm going to try it this spring ,when should I start the trapout ,March ,April ,Or May? Thanks for all the information.

Offline AllenF

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2011, 03:06:31 PM »
Do you want to trap out an existing hive in a tree or just catch swarms?

Offline G3farms

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2011, 03:54:08 PM »
Sounds like he wants to do both. Here in E. TN the first swarms will start in the last weeks of April, not sure about your area though.

Fot the trapout I would wait until the nite temps were in the mid fifties myself. This will help the trapped bees keep the brood warm and alive. By this time there should be plenty of flow going on to get the going.
see my swarms and cut outs at

those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your @ss is a catchin!!!

Bees will be bees and do as they please!

Offline hardwood

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2011, 04:12:47 PM »
Nectar flows are more of a factor than dates/temps for swarms and these vary greatly by region. Check with local beeks for when your spring flow typically starts and set your traps 2 weeks before the anticipated flow starts. The spring flows could be later than usual this year with the crazy weather most of us have been having.

Last year the unusually cold winter here actually forced an early (and sporadic) saw palmetto bloom.

Once swarms are flying you can start your trap out.

Scott
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Offline hardwood

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2011, 04:14:16 PM »
And make sure to place traps by the bee tree!!!

Scott
"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907

Offline D Coates

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2011, 04:43:51 PM »
I put them out in March.  Mid-April is the earliest I hearn of a swarm showing up here.
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Offline harvey

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2011, 10:42:24 PM »
Here in Michigan I put my traps out mid May.   I have never caught a swarm before May 25 and caught them last year till the end of June.  Latest one I caught was last year too.  It was in the first of August?  Hoping that that one lives through the winter.  It was a small cluster going into winter and only had about 12 frames drawn.  We will see.   

Offline hankdog1

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2011, 01:01:02 AM »
You can bump things up if you find a bee tree and free syrup and pollen sub.  That's my plan for this spring get the bee tree to swarm before i do a trap out on them.  That way i make sure i get the old queen.
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Offline wouldliketobee

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2011, 05:52:58 AM »
Thanks for all the replies ,I would like to feed the bee tree and catch swarms from it but the owners just want them gone, as soon as possible, without destroying the tree, I was going to do it last fall but I was working 7 days a week and I thought it was too late in the year , I set a couple swarm traps last year at my brothers farm and caught one small swarm in July but they absconded , I think I transfered them too soon to a full size box. I had other oportunities for swarms but I wasn't prepared ,especially working seven days a week so I had to pass on some ,I'm hoping I don't have to work seven days a week so I have more time to enjoy this great hobby.

Offline G3farms

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2011, 10:05:29 AM »
Keep what I call a swarm kit in the truck during the summer.

a file or paper box (the box reams of paper come in), break it down so it will fold up
duct tape, to put the box back together again
an old sheet
veil
smoker
small pair of limb loppers

take the box and cut a couple of 4" to 6" square holes in opposite sides and cover with screen wire, this will allow for ventilation while in transport
see my swarms and cut outs at

those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your @ss is a catchin!!!

Bees will be bees and do as they please!

Offline Acebird

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2011, 10:30:15 AM »
Quote
That's my plan for this spring get the bee tree to swarm before i do a trap out on them.  That way i make sure i get the old queen.

Why is the old queen important?  Isn't it common to have to replace the queen in a trap out?
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Offline hankdog1

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2011, 01:07:00 PM »
Well the idea of gathering swarms from bee trees and such is for survivor stock.  Trap outs very rarely allow you to capture the old queen.  May be losing some good genetics by just going ahead with a trap out of course sometimes we have no choice.  A cutout on a bee tree is a thing that should be avoided unless you have absolutly no other way.  They are messy many places for the queen to hide and where you have to use a chainsaw it's like using a sledge hammer to drive in a tac.  Just from experience it's a pain in the rear.  That said if i have to do it that way i would but i'd rather trap out or cut the bee tree and haul it home.
Take me to the land of milk and honey!!!

Offline wouldliketobee

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2011, 02:02:54 PM »
I may ask the owner if I could put up a couple of swarm traps before doing the trap out,one of their biggest concerns was the hive was eating up their hummingbird feed and chasing away the sqirrels in the tree and they think that the bees will take up residence in their house somewhere , it is in a small town and I will try to keep things hidden from the public to try to avoid problems, the swarm kit that G3 mentioned sounds nice and compact I will make one up soon, thanks for all the great ideas.   

Offline Grandma_DOG

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2011, 02:13:09 PM »
In Central Texas, I put out my traps out the last week of February.   March 1 is the earliest we'll see a swarm.

I put out 10 last year, caught 6.  I've got 30 traps this year.
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Offline G3farms

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2011, 08:50:24 PM »
Just like fishing, the more hooks in the water the better the chance of catching something.
see my swarms and cut outs at

those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your @ss is a catchin!!!

Bees will be bees and do as they please!

Offline Acebird

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2011, 09:44:04 PM »
Just like fishing, the more hooks in the water the better the chance of catching something.

My mother tolled me you better not eat every thing you catch. ;)
Never thought I would do it!

Offline hankdog1

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2011, 11:11:11 PM »
You'll want to put out syrup and pollen sub early to intice them to swarm make sure they have both at all times as to simulate a flow.  Remember to use lemon grass oil and some old comb if you have them in your traps.  Will make things more manageable while doing the trapout if you don't have so many bees to deal with.  Also make good and sure after doing the trapout to seal it up unless you want to do it again next year  :evil:  also ask the owner if you can hang a swarm trap in or around the tree as swarms later on will be inclined to take up residence. 
Take me to the land of milk and honey!!!

Offline Acebird

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2011, 09:40:55 AM »
Quote
Also make good and sure after doing the trapout to seal it up unless you want to do it again next year


Actually that is the plan.  The owner is not bothered by the bees.  He is just letting me take them because I have an interest.  The bees have already been removed once by cut out method and have returned again.  I think my biggest issue is going to be insuring that there is only one entrance.  That may foil the whole idea.
It appears that silicone is the choice caulk to seal things up.  Does anyone feel something like quickset or another masonry product wouldn’t work instead of the silicone?
Never thought I would do it!

Offline wouldliketobee

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2011, 07:11:16 PM »
I came up with another swarm trap today,I removed a water heater from a friends property last fall full of bees I tried to set them up on my property to hopefully survive the winter but they absconded, I think they got robbed but anyway they were only there a couple of weeks , I just now cut open the water heater and found about a dozen nice looking but empty combs so I am planning on putting a wood top and bottom on it and  hanging some frames in it and setting it out next spring , I was going to take it to scrap yard tomorrow but now  i'm going to keep the 24inch by 18 diameter piece and just take the unoccupied part to the dump. The piece I'm keeping should have plenty of scent and the price is right ,if it doesn't work I'll scrap it later on .

Offline AllenF

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Re: How early should I set out swarm traps ?
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2011, 07:31:09 PM »
A waterheater bee hive hanging in a tree.  Now there is a picture.  ;)

 

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