Saturday, June 2, 2012

Not Quite the Way it is Suppose to Work

Bee swarming has become more of a problem for us in recent years. Bees swarm when they decide they (the worker bees) want to raise one or more new queens and find a new home taking honey with them to establish a new hive.  This leaves the original hive weaker, less worker bees, and less honey.  Prior to finding a new home they pause outside the hive, usually in a tree while scout bees search for a new home.  In the past we were lucky enough to notice the bees waiting to find a new home and were able to capture them.  This was always a hit or miss operation, requiring luck and depending on how high up in the tree they were an element of danger. This past winter we read a book describing how to build and set up swarm bait traps.  We liked this idea since it allowed the swarm bait trap to act as the temporary home and took some of the luck and a lot of the potential for an accident out of the capture.  The trap is baited with lemon oil and the dimensions are right for the bees to consider it a home.  The way it is suppose to work is that they will set up residence inside the trap and we would block the entrances at night and remove the hive to an area we are going to set up a new permanent  hive and transfer the bees the next morning.  Well as you can see it didn't quite work out the way it is suppose to.  The bees decided in their wisdom to establish the colony below the swarm bait trap.  We were still able to capture the bees and it didn't require a ladder which was the whole point of using the traps in the first place so we are not complaining.   This is also a way to capture bees for your garden and use the trap as a permanent home.  The name of the book is "Swarm Traps and Bait Hives" by McCartney Taylor.