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Author Topic: New beek, swarm traps  (Read 774 times)
patriotgirlie
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« on: March 03, 2013, 05:04:49 PM »

General question for you guys; I am going to be building some swarm traps to put around my property, and I'm going to put lemongrass oil in them, but I've read nearly everywhere that you should put old comb in them as well, but as a new beek, I have none.  Any suggestions?  Is there someone I can buy some drawn out foundation or comb from?  Any other tricks or ideas?  Is just the lemongrass oil enough.

Any info would be rad!

Thanks!

Jamie
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Moots
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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2013, 05:26:03 PM »

Jamie,
First, saw the link to your blog earlier....nicely done.

As for the swarm traps, Being a newbie myself, I'm in the exact same boat as you.  Plenty of good threads and discussions if you want to do a search.  In a nut shell, my understanding is 3 key factors, aside from location of coarse!  Existing Bee smell in the box, lemongrass oil, and old comb.

I have out 6 swarm traps.  In two of the six, I have two of the three.  I used my 2 Nuc boxes that my new bees lived in for their first 3 weeks before being moved to their hive bodies, along with some lemon grass oil.  In the other 4, they're new boxes so I only have the lemon grass oil.  Not sure how bad that hurts my chances, but I figured it was worth a shot.  Smiley  After all, bees end up in some places with none of the three!  grin

I have read that the old comb can be a draw and problem with wax moths, but in practice, everyone I know that has it, uses it.

If you can find a source for old comb, I'd certainly make use of it.

Good Luck!
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BlueBee
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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2013, 05:54:38 PM »

Location:  Maybe put some near Danno’s hives. Wink  That’s the most likely place to find swarms in Michigan; from our friendly beeks hives.

Old comb is like ringing the dinner bell for wax moths.  Better get some BT for any old combs.

Check craigslist every day in the spring, or post a listing saying you’ll collect swarms for free.

Tell everybody you know you’re a beek and you would be surprised who comes out of the wood work.  Tell your church, realtors, friends, master gardeners, city workers, etc.

Observe your surroundings during swarm season.  I spotted 4 last spring just driving down the road.  If you see an usual number of bees in an area, get out and analyze what they’re doing.
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buzzbee
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2013, 07:23:59 PM »

Don't overdo the lemongrass oil. A small drop in a vial such as a pill bottle wiith a cotton ball inside is sufficient. As for the vial,drill a couple small holes in it.
Old comb just before swarm season will survive long enough. If you catch a swarm they are all about housecleaning when they move in and just a small piece of comb will not raise that many wax moths.
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Moots
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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2013, 07:36:13 PM »

Buzz,
For the newbies, such as myself...who tend to be the analytical type and love to over think these things.

I've read in a dozen or more different places "just a small piece of comb".  Could you define that, as in "X" inches by "X" inches.... Smiley

Also, do you hang it in a frame? leave it loose? etc?

Thanks  Smiley
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"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2013, 07:45:04 PM »

A 3 by 4 piece would be plenty. They don't need it hanged in a frame as the smell of pheromones is the attractant. If using a regular nuc box you could use a frame or two of comb if you have it.  A lot of people just hang an empty box with pheromone or old comb in it. Be sure to check on your swarm traps as they will make a cut out situation for you if using an empty  box and a swarm sets up house.
My coolest swarm was one a neighbor boy saw take off from a tree in my back yard and move into my observation hive. It swarmed from one of my own hives I'm pretty sure.
http://s93.beta.photobucket.com/user/kwrabbit/library/7%2016%2009%20swarm
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iddee
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« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2013, 09:15:59 PM »

Now that has to be the best way I have ever seen to stock an ob hive.    cheer
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gov1623
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« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2013, 09:39:24 PM »

I think putting comb in swarm traps gives a little advantage but i never put any comb in my traps. I found that it attracts to many pest. I rather use a used nuc box which in my opinion is just as good as comb if not better. But for new beekeepers that don't have those items I really don't think it will increase your chances all that much. Last year I put out about 20 swarm traps. About 10 were old nucs and 10 were new nucs with a couple drops of lemon grass oil in each of them. The success rate was about the same. Oh and if you catch a swarm in one put it right back out because the fresh swarm smell will be like a magnet to other swarms.

These are some of the swarm traps i built. I only put a couple drops of lemon grass oil in them with 5 frames and caught swarms in just about all of them.



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Moots
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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2013, 09:44:28 PM »

I think putting comb in swarm traps gives a little advantage but i never put any comb in my traps. I found that it attracts to many pest. I rather use a used nuc box witch in my opinion is just as good as comb if not better. But for new beekeepers that don't have those items I really don't think it will increase your chances all that much. Last year I put out about 20 swarm traps. About 10 were old nucs and 10 were new nucs with a couple drops of lemon grass oil in each of them. The success rate was about the same. Oh and if you catch a swarm in one put it right back out because the fresh swarm smell will be like a magnet to other swarms.

These are some of the swarm traps i built. I only put a couple drops of lemon grass oil in them with 5 frames and caught swarms in just about all of them.






Gov,
That's quite encouraging, I really wasn't holding out that much hope for my new boxes.  Thanks for sharing your experience.

I'm also pretty impressed with your camo paint job....Nicely done!  Smiley
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"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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patriotgirlie
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« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2013, 09:47:06 PM »

Thanks all!  I really appreciate the feedback.  I'm glad that I won't be at too much of a disadvantage without these things.  I am just chomping at the bit for spring to get its butt here!!!
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gov1623
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« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2013, 09:51:16 PM »

moots,
I painted them camo after i had one knocked out of a tree and totally ripped apart. I guess someone really wanted to know what was inside of it. Undecided
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jmblakeney
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James


« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2013, 10:03:17 PM »

I am just chomping at the bit for spring to get its butt here!!!

We all were when we were first starting out.  Unfortunately, it never stops.  Springs can never come soon enough for a beek.

James
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patriotgirlie
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« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2013, 10:46:54 PM »

I am just chomping at the bit for spring to get its butt here!!!

We all were when we were first starting out.  Unfortunately, it never stops.  Springs can never come soon enough for a beek.

James

I can't stand winter anyways, so I'm always eager for spring...now I'm just EXTRA eager!! LOL
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capt44
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« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2013, 11:03:10 PM »

I use a 6 frame Swarm box that is 19 7/8 x 11 1/4 x 11 inches deep with a 1 1/4 inch hole drilled in the front.
I use lemon grass oil and some old frames.
You can get some bees wax and melt some down and add some to the inside of the trap.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
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« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2013, 01:05:09 PM »

wish I was as brave as all of you! I would love to get a swarm, instead of getting packages, but since I don't know that I'd get one I guess I'm just going the safe route and buying packages  Sad.  I think my main fear is, not so much what if someone calls me about a swarm, although I'm sure that first time would be pretty freaky, but, since I'm a hobbyist with two hives, what do you DO with all the bees??  i guess the advantage of having traps over getting calls is when you have all the bees you need you can just take down the traps....
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danno
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« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2013, 01:50:21 PM »

patriotgirlie
Old brood frames have a couple of advantages.   First they are a great attractor.  Blueboy stated that you will have wax moth problems but that isn't true.  Swarm season is spring time before moth populations build.  Second thing about useing frames of comb is simply pull them out of the trap and drop them in a hive body.  Shake the hangers in front and the will walk in.   Just starting out drawn frames will be your biggest hurdle.  There are a number of beekeepers near you that might sell a few frames.  email donlambees.com and ask don.   someone in holland will help you out.   I know one in fremont that has never treated for mites and is slowly retiring.   
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BlueBee
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« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2013, 01:58:58 PM »

That's BlueBEE, not BlueBoy  Wink

Yep, Danno is right about the wax moths in the spring when most swarms occur.  Not an issue in the spring.  They will do a real number on old comb in the summer though.  BT might still be a good thing to have around.

The first swarm I caught last year was on April 19th for what it's worth. Smiley
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tefer2
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« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2013, 04:14:49 PM »

Swarm season is long gone here in Michigan before we see wax moths flying.   bee
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patriotgirlie
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« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2013, 06:33:24 PM »


The first swarm I caught last year was on April 19th for what it's worth. Smiley

Thanks, that helps a lot!  My dad and I are going to go hive CRAZY as soon as the door on his workshop isn't frozen shut anymore LOL


You guys are all really great.  I appreciate your help!!

Jamie
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