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Using bait hives

Bait Hives are great for getting the closest thing to free bees as well as locally adapted survivor genetics, as possible.

When feral or managed hives throw a swarm, it will look for a new place to build a nest. It might as well be mine.

Setting up a bait hive

In my experience, the most success I have in “trapping” bee swarms is by using an 8 frame single deep box hive.

This is very much in the natural specs that studies show that swarms in the majority seek in terms of available space.

It helps to add a frame or two of drawn comb in positions 5 and 6, and possibly a third if available, in 7. Foundation-less frames with guides will suffice for the rest.

People talk about using attractants to lure swarms in such as Queen pheromone or something else. I have found that if already drawn comb is used, especially that comb which has been cycled through a hive already around 2 to 3 years old, is attractive enough to get scout bees attention.

Once the bait hive is put together it can be put in place. Desirable locations are within about 100 yards of a known hive that has thrown swarms before. Also, placed in a tree or high location about 10 to 15 feet high is known to be well identified by scouts as well.

Checking and "harvesting" a bait hive

Because swarms come prepared to build a nest due to gorging on honey before leaving the old nest, checking weekly on bait boxes is not a bad idea. They will start drawing comb right away and if the drawn comb was installed, they will grow that much faster.

Once the hive has been confirmed to have a colony inhabiting within, it can be relocated to the apiary. Screen closed the entrance to prevent egress and allow ventilation. Use a ratchet strap to keep the lid, box, and bottom board firmly closed together.

Transport the bait hive to the apiary and if the bees have drawn and cover 6/8 frames nadir a second box at the bottom of the hive stack with plastic foundation in positions 4 and 6 with the rest being foundation-less.

bait_hives.txt · Last modified: 2017/08/14 12:15 (external edit)