Since we last talked, I have acquired 2 more swarms. Someone gave my name to Animal Control Services in a nearby town and they called one afternoon with a swarm of bees in a stack of pallets.
Dad and I boxed them up and took them to his house. Thankfully, he already had an empty hive ready and we placed them inside and let them settle down. This cluster would have been so easy to spray and kill and I’m very grateful that this thoughtful company chose to call and have them removed instead.
The second swarm came from the same yard our first swarm came from.
Let me back up a bit. After the first swarm, my dad and I decided to build some swarm traps to place around our farms. I got the idea from a local beekeeping group and felt like our properties would be a great place to try them out.
Now, before you start thinking that I’m a bee stealer, rest assured they are not used to catch other people’s bees. (I’m not that far gone, yet)
Swarm traps are used to catch feral or wild bee swarms that are most likely swarming from a nearby tree.
We made our swarm trap from a deep super with a top and bottom piece of OSB (not the best choice but all we had) on the top and bottom.
It has a hanger board nailed to the back so it can hang in a tree. That’s really all you need to do unless my dad is helping with the building process.
As we were putting it together, Dad thought that instead of screwing the top completely down, we should make a hinged top. He said he thought he had a bucket of hinges somewhere in the barn (I mean who doesn’t?) and sure enough after an hour of hunting, he found them.
He put the hinges on and then decided we needed handles for the sides. And, you guessed it, he thought he had a bucket of handles somewhere so we started the hunt again until we found some. He put those on and then saw that the screws went through to the inside. No problem, he said, I’ve got a grinder somewhere and I’ll just grind those off. So we hunted and hunted until we found the grinder.
The hole in the front is 1-1/2″ diameter. It was supposed to be 1-1/4″ diameter but he looked and looked for that size drill bit but couldn’t find it (are you seeing a pattern here?)so we did a little larger.
Some sort of wire is attached on the inside to keep birds out of the box. I used tie wire for mine and dad used a little piece of chicken wire for his. That’s all I did for mine. Dad, of course, had to one-up me and make a porch on the outside of his. The wire is so he can close the porch floor over the hole for transport. I do believe he’s thought of everything and,once again, found all of our supplies in his barn.
Inside the box, we placed 5 frames we would normally use for a regular hive. 4 of the frames were empty and one had old brood comb on it. At the very back of the box, I taped a Ziploc bag that was filled with a cotton ball with 4-5 drops of lemongrass oil on it and a drinking straw. I zipped up the bag and left the end of the straw sticking out. I got a Q-tip and placed 2-3 drops of lemongrass oil on it and rubbed it around the entrance.
As we were making the traps, the guy that called me about the first swarm told me he had another swarm fly through his yard. Although they didn’t land there, I thought his yard might be a good place to place a trap. He agreed and we placed one in his backyard. A couple of weeks later, he called with a possible swarm and I went to check it out.
It was a good size swarm (you’re only seeing half of it in this picture) and was placed in a hive already set up in my bee yard and gives us a grand total of 6 hives. I proclaimed that I was finished and was in the process of taking all of our traps down when a friend told me she had bought a Flow Hive in January. She didn’t have any bees yet so I asked if I caught another swarm would she want it. She really didn’t have time to work with bees so asked me if I wanted to try out this new contraption.
How could I resist? So I put the traps back up, got out my screw gun and began to put together the hive. Here is the finished results.
So, once again, I’m on the lookout for more bees.
I’ll keep you posted,