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Building Your Own Swarm Traps

I’m a newbie but I baited and caught a swarm in a wooden nuc hive, regular low opening with frames inside. The frames just had starter strips at the top. I used swarm commander. I had the bait nuc set at about shoulder height in the backyard. In hindsight, I should have put it where I wanted the hive to stay as I then had to eventually do a short move. Once I baited the nuc it took about a month before the swarm moved in. I was checking every day for the first few weeks then sort of gave up on it. One morning I saw all these little specs backlit by the sunrise from the kitchen window. I was pretty excited! Beginners luck :laughing: We have had a swarm or two pass through before so I wanted to give it a try before procuring through other means while waiting for my flowhive to arrive. Also in hindsight my hive would have been more advanced buying a package but the season was a write off with the drought anyway.

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I just put one in. Scouts measure the size of the box by flying around inside it. If it is too crowded, they may not choose your trap. :blush:

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Have you had luck with a brand new frame or a drawn comb frame probably work better with additional scent?

I think to attract a swarm to a trap is much more successful if you put a very light smear of lemon grass oil on the floor of the trap, add a built out frame and a couple with wax foundation. Don’t overuse the lemon grass oil as too much seems to be a ‘turn off’ to bees. Plastic foundation will not attract bees as you will find else where with the hassles to get bees using Flow Frames in the forum.
Make a trap to attract bees to not only come to it but to stay.
Cheers, Peter

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Thanks all :+1:. I will give it a try this weekend.

An old brood frame seems to work best. :blush:

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Beware of catching a swarm from your own hive !!! Think about it… A hive doesn’t usually swarm without a reason so good hive management is a priority over setting swarm traps up.
If you do catch a swarm keep it away from your hive, even if you have just one as your profile says. A swarm may bring a disease that will wipe it out and kill your own hive as well, so keep it separated till you know what you have caught. Don’t assume anything with a trapped swarm.
Cheers, Peter

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I caught my first swarm 5 days after I placed out trap. Used an 2 old brood frames and some swarm commander. What excited for me and my kids to pull up to on the 4 wheeler.

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Good on you Eric, a great sense of achievement than just buying a nuc. Give the swarm time to settle and check for a good brood pattern.
Cheers

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I think we need to look at a swarm trap from the point of view of a scout bee. A scout bee from a large primary swarm would probably dismiss a 5 frame nuc box, in my view. I’d be thinking along the lines of the same volume as 2x 8-10 frame supers combined.

A large primary swarm would probably fill one 10 frame super, then the second super is for the colony to expand & grow into, which I’m thinking the scouts would be taking into consideration.

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Guess what @JeffH? My favorite bee researcher has actually studied this question! :blush:

Tom Seeley found that scout bees from primary swarms prefer a volume of 40-45 litres when given a choice of sizes. That is the equivalent of approximately one 10-frame Langstroth deep box. I don’t remember which book he described the study (probably Honey Bee Democracy), but the study is definitely published in a research journal too, so it was careful research. :wink:

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I also did it with the enjoyment and help of my 5 and 7 year old kids. We had a blast. I’ll give it another day or 2 before I take down out of tree. Would you guys suggest re queening a swarm typically?

Thanks Eric

I’ve never set up a swarm lure. On reflection, 2 deep boxes might be a bit too big. I remember reading about the 40 litres, I think it was you that posted a while back. A 10 frame deep bee box out the back caught what I reckoned was a primary swarm a few years ago. It had a migratory lid on it.

We were given a bird nesting box where a colony had moved in. The internal volume wasn’t all that big, therefore it only lured a smallish swarm.


As you’ll see in the video, it wasn’t a big swarm.
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