Author Topic: Bee Swarm Traps  (Read 2398 times)

Tom Bri

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Bee Swarm Traps
« on: February 26, 2017, 11:06:55 AM »
My winter hobby has been building traps to catch wild bee swarms, come this spring.
I started keeping bees last spring with two hives from a relative, and have been trying to make this as mustachian a hobby as possible, as in, buying as little of the gear as possible and making as much as possible myself.

So, I built a whole bunch of beehives last year, but still only have the original two colonies. In theory, those two colonies should be splittable this year into at least two more, and if they do well, possibly more than that.

However, I still have a bunch of extra hives, so I'll need more bees to fill them. Thus, the swarm catchers. Every spring, bees in the wild will suddenly up and take off, with the queen, and fly away from their old homes, leaving a small bunch behind to raise a new queen. Those free swarms buzz around looking for likely places to live. The theory is that they will see the nice, cozy boxes I made and fly in and remain, happily making honey.

Depending on location, and how many bees live in the neighborhood, this may or may not work. At any rate, it's keeping me busy. I'll be ecstatic if I get even just one. Oldtimers amongst beekeepers claim to catch many swarms a year. I guess this is at this point mere potential badassity, and not yet the real thing.


Kansas Terri

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Re: Bee Swarm Traps
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2017, 11:29:05 AM »
It is February: if you want enough bees to split your hives, FEED them now!

With a steady supply of feed, they will raise more young. When the hive gets crowded enough so that they are at risk of swarming, split the hive. Then you will have 4 hives PLUS any swarms you may catch.

Tom Bri

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Re: Bee Swarm Traps
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2017, 07:03:38 PM »
They have plenty of food. One was low, and a very weak hive anyway, going into winter so it has been fed. The other started with two deep boxes and a honey super full, and still has plenty.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Bee Swarm Traps
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2017, 02:23:49 PM »
And instead of waiting for a swarm to find your empty hive, why not advertise that you will collect swarms?  I've seen people get healthy hives started from wild hives in trees that have fallen, and swarms that have landed near schools and playgrounds. 

Tom Bri

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Re: Bee Swarm Traps
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2017, 01:10:43 AM »
And instead of waiting for a swarm to find your empty hive, why not advertise that you will collect swarms?  I've seen people get healthy hives started from wild hives in trees that have fallen, and swarms that have landed near schools and playgrounds.

Lots of people do that. I have not gotten around to it. Also, it often required cutting into trees and buildings, and I would need to get a few tools, and decide if it is worth the trouble.

Tom Bri

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Re: Bee Swarm Traps
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2017, 11:16:22 PM »
Badassity win!

Two of the bee swarm traps are chock-full of honeybees. One I left in place, on the edge of a woods near a meadow of flowers (bee Eden), and the second I put in the back of the minivan and took home, where it is now ensconced under my peach trees (mustachianly grown from discarded pits) in the back yard.

Next step is to transfer them into regular beehives.

nouveauRiche

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Re: Bee Swarm Traps
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2017, 11:20:36 AM »
Awesome.  Sounds like they worked great.

LessIsLess

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Re: Bee Swarm Traps
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2017, 01:40:19 PM »
Badassity win!

Two of the bee swarm traps are chock-full of honeybees. One I left in place, on the edge of a woods near a meadow of flowers (bee Eden), and the second I put in the back of the minivan and took home, where it is now ensconced under my peach trees (mustachianly grown from discarded pits) in the back yard.

Next step is to transfer them into regular beehives.

Have you gotten any honey out of these hives yet, or is that next year? 
Have you gotten any honey yet, or is that next year?

Tom Bri

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Re: Bee Swarm Traps
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2017, 10:38:59 PM »
I got 30 or 40 pounds of honey last year. Those were new hives so can't take too much.

From the new swarms I won't take any honey on purpose this year. They need all they can pack away before winter. However, I did move one swarm into a standard beehive today, and the process is very messy. I ended up having to trim their natural comb  to fit into the frames. The edges all went into a bucket and I got a few pounds of honey. Have not measured it, but less than ten pounds certainly.