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Author Topic: Locating a Swarm Trap on a Tree  (Read 1172 times)
brushwoodnursery
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« on: February 21, 2013, 08:48:11 AM »

Getting ready to set out a trap and I've picked out a great location. I'd like to know if the position on the tree matters. There's a big, fat branch of an Oak in such a place that I can drive under it to mount and collect. It's about 8ft high. Will they go for something 15ft from the trunk or would it be better to strap it to the side of the trunk? In both cases, there's a long view out and there will be shade overhead (these i remember reading are important). I'm thinking of bolting a small stand to the tree and strapping the trap to it so i can pull and replace it as needed. The location is 1/4 mile from my place and 1/4 mile from another beek.
 i can make the stand to rest on the large branch or up against a trunk. it's less convenient on the trunk for pulling and placing but I don't want to go to the effort and have them ignore it.
 my plan is to use an 8frame deep with a screw on bottom. i have a disc entrance cover and will drill a round hole in the front down low. 1 1/4in? (can't remember). I'm told to place some clean, drawn frames and lure inside. i have a slow release lure in the fridge reday to go.
 Anybody have some thoughts on this?
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gov1623
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2013, 09:06:24 AM »

I found that they do prefer bigger trees and a clear flight path. Other than that what ever is easier for you. I only place them as high as i can reach or raise them up with a string. I had a couple last year start building comb on the outside of the box and that can get a bit crazy trying to climb down a ladder. 
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2013, 09:09:07 AM »

From what you're describing it's a good set up either way.  At this point do what's most convenient for you to place and remove.  As for frames, you want old dark ones.  They have the most smell when things warm up.

Swarm traps are like placing bait when fishing.  Sometimes no matter what you do you get nothing, other times it's the exact opposite.  The more traps you place the better your overall odds but I find I get about a 10% success rate.  As the season goes on I end up pulling my traps one by one on the way to swarm calls.  They're fun to place and watch, and I still do. However, I get much better results from swarm calls.
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gov1623
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2013, 09:29:29 AM »

It seems that different areas get drastically different success rates. The first year i put out one and caught one.  Last year i put out 15 to 20 traps and caught over 20 swarms. Not all of them caught one but some caught two or three to make up for the ones that didn't catch. It seems the bees may be over populated in my area.  laugh
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brushwoodnursery
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2013, 09:45:32 AM »

Thanks for the advice, folks! I think I'll try a stand on the branch first. It has the best open view and faces south the most clearly. It should be pretty easy to work, too. I'm also ready to catch my own swarms here (I live and work on the same property) before they even leave. The goal is to go from 3 to 6 this year.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 11:40:51 AM »

The bait makes more difference than the height.  A bait hive with some lemongrass essential oil at ground level will, all things being equal, catch more swarms than one 15 feet up a tree.  I bait them and put them about five to eight feet up.  Any more is too much trouble to haul the ladder around...
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesferal.htm#baithives
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danno
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2013, 02:00:45 PM »

I set out 15 to 20 each year and none are higher then I can reach from the ground.  My catch rate is very high.  Last year I only had a couple that didn't catch swarms.  One of these had some kind of stinging ants move in and another had a mouse.  I like to have them close to the truck of trees for concealment.  They are all painted flat army drab.  I screw wood selves to many of the tree's I set year after year.  As stated earlier a couple of dark frames and lemon grass really works.
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brushwoodnursery
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2013, 02:41:09 PM »

What about a bottom board with entrance reducer instead of a round hole in front? Might be nice to just load a hive on the stand and simply take it to the yard.
If a round hole is definitely better, what size? 1 inch?
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JP
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2013, 02:57:14 PM »

What about a bottom board with entrance reducer instead of a round hole in front? Might be nice to just load a hive on the stand and simply take it to the yard.
If a round hole is definitely better, what size? 1 inch?

Size of the entrance doesn't matter unless its really hot out. If so they may not want to stay. Seal the hive with anything at night that offers some ventilation, if needed.


...JP
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danno
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« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2013, 03:51:04 PM »

I dont drill entrance hole in my hive bodies but if I did it would be a 3/4 near the top center under the rabbit.  This would at least make a usefull upper enterance later if you use it for a hive body.  As for the disk enterance it would work but isn't nessesary and over kill.  I simply use a 2" square of #8 wire stapled over the hole.  Also getting a hive body 8 or 10 frame up in a tree isn't going to be a easy task.  My traps are all 5 frame with 3 drawn frames centered.  They are all made from luan or sona tubes.  Very light. 
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tjc1
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« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2013, 04:31:48 PM »

How about if you are trying to catch a swarm from a known wild hive? There are bees in the wall of an old school building near me, and I have seen them swarm in May several times. There are some big trees in the play ground in front of the school - is close good, and if not, how close is too close?
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brushwoodnursery
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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2013, 04:43:01 PM »

I've read that 300 yards is a good distance. If you can watch, the swarm usually coalesces nearby and then they start scouting. All of mine coalesced within 50 yards of the hive last year.
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danno
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« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2013, 04:59:09 PM »

How about if you are trying to catch a swarm from a known wild hive? There are bees in the wall of an old school building near me, and I have seen them swarm in May several times. There are some big trees in the play ground in front of the school - is close good, and if not, how close is too close?
you might get lucky but I think you would increase your odds by hanging traps in the edges of any nearby woods.   The scouts will look for shadier places.  A little sun wont hurt but a playground sound to open.  Use the wind to your advantage.  wind here is more often then not out of the west so a tree 20 or so ft back in the east side of a woodlot would attract alot of scouts.   
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brushwoodnursery
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« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2013, 05:11:24 PM »

So, can I ask for clarification on the entrance? Can I just use a regular bottom board and entrance reducer? I think I need to put this up in the next couple of weeks for sure. Getting busy at work, too. Quick and easy would be great.
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danno
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« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2013, 05:21:11 PM »

So, can I ask for clarification on the entrance? Can I just use a regular bottom board and entrance reducer? I think I need to put this up in the next couple of weeks for sure. Getting busy at work, too. Quick and easy would be great.
absolutely     I would do this before drilling.  If you catch one just plug your reduced entrance with a wad of grass or newpaper.   When I find a trap with bee's going in and out I dont pull it right away.  I like to see some pollen being brought in.  I then wait until early morning of or evening to take it down.  Morning is better
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Moots
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« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2013, 05:25:20 PM »

So, can I ask for clarification on the entrance? Can I just use a regular bottom board and entrance reducer? I think I need to put this up in the next couple of weeks for sure. Getting busy at work, too. Quick and easy would be great.
absolutely     I would do this before drilling.  If you catch one just plug your reduced entrance with a wad of grass or newpaper.   When I find a trap with bee's going in and out I dont pull it right away.  I like to see some pollen being brought in.  I then wait until early morning of or evening to take it down.  Morning is better

danno,
I'm new to this also....when and if I catch a swarm, I had thought I would take it down at night.  Curious, why is morning better in your opinion?
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brushwoodnursery
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« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2013, 06:11:18 PM »

It's colder in the morning. My girls are never out at dawn this time of year.
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brushwoodnursery
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« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2013, 06:14:24 PM »

By the way, I just talked with someone down the road who's hive just swarmed. Looks like I need to be ready sooner.
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danno
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« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2013, 06:31:25 PM »

So, can I ask for clarification on the entrance? Can I just use a regular bottom board and entrance reducer? I think I need to put this up in the next couple of weeks for sure. Getting busy at work, too. Quick and easy would be great.
absolutely     I would do this before drilling.  If you catch one just plug your reduced entrance with a wad of grass or newpaper.   When I find a trap with bee's going in and out I dont pull it right away.  I like to see some pollen being brought in.  I then wait until early morning of or evening to take it down.  Morning is better

danno,
I'm new to this also....when and if I catch a swarm, I had thought I would take it down at night.  Curious, why is morning better in your opinion?
Morning are cooler and the bee's are rested and usually calm.  After dark should work just as good.  I just wouldn't try dusk.   During swarm season I also carry at least one hive body and a nuc with  bottom boards stapled to them and lids in my truck.  I get alot of calls of swarms hanging in yards, on houses and everywhere else imaginable.  I dont use ladders ater a fall about 8 years ago so most I go after are at ground level.   
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danno
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« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2013, 06:54:16 PM »

One other handy swarm catchin devise is the Hipps swarm retriever.  Do a search for it    I copied the design and use a telescoping paint pole attached to the bucket.  I have safely caught swarms with my feet on the ground,   hanging off branches over 20 ft high
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brushwoodnursery
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« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2013, 07:22:12 PM »

One other handy swarm catchin devise is the Hipps swarm retriever.  Do a search for it    I copied the design and use a telescoping paint pole attached to the bucket.  I have safely caught swarms with my feet on the ground,   hanging off branches over 20 ft high
Yes! I have a very long telescoping pole, too. I have just yanked the bristles from a small scrub brush designed for a standard threaded pole handle and will be bolting it to the bottom of a bucket. The thing I like about it is the slight angle will make unloading the bees a bit easier (maybe. I'll report findings)
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danno
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« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2013, 07:54:14 PM »

I cut the end of wood paint roller handle to get the threads.    I glued in the center of a plywood disk and screwed it to the bottom of a bucket.  I have a string that runs up the pole, through the disk and holds the lid and with a pull flips it in place.  I simply give the swarm a jab with the setup and pull the string.  My bucket is well vented so I can leave them in it to take home or pour them into an ready hive body in the back of the truck. 
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capt44
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« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2013, 11:56:34 PM »

I use a Hipps swarm retriever alot.
I caught 14 swarms last year using this bucket and pole setup.
I have different sizes of conduit for different heights.
I can go with a 20ft pole or I have one that is 3 ft.
I love this piece of equipment.
I also have a Owens Bee Vac with extra cages, it's light enough I have been on ladders vacuuming bees off walls and such.
Then I also use a deep hive setup and have the bees walk right in.
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« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2013, 03:31:16 PM »

I've actually caught more swarms 2 feet off the ground than I have above arm's reach.  The only swarm traps I hang high are the houses I go to year after year that seem to always get swarms in certain places such as one house that always gets 3 or 4 swarms on a branch of their cottonwood tree.  The odd thing is that if I put a swarm trap in the general vicinity of said tree I always catch swarms at that particular house.
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danno
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« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2013, 07:51:41 AM »

I've actually caught more swarms 2 feet off the ground than I have above arm's reach.  The only swarm traps I hang high are the houses I go to year after year that seem to always get swarms in certain places such as one house that always gets 3 or 4 swarms on a branch of their cottonwood tree.  The odd thing is that if I put a swarm trap in the general vicinity of said tree I always catch swarms at that particular house.
I have a similar spot at a home here in MI.  Their spot is the side of their house where the fireplace chimney meets under the eave. Dont know why.   The bee's cant get in.     I get called there at least twice a year.  It a really tough spot to shake a swarm.  I always miss a bunch.  Also a tough spot to hang a trap but maybe a tree near by would draw them away
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