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A few years ago i put up a bunch of swarm traps to try and catch some free bees...and then mr black bear knocked them all down, that was the following year, I rebuilt them and rehung them and they are still up..
the first year I caught several small swarms and transferred them to a hive box so they could grow in numbers and survive the winter...regardless to say none of the swarms survived...so I basically gave up on the bees till I have more time and finish up other projects....
but last month I noticed one of my swarm traps had some bee activity going on, and yes a swarm moved in, Im going to leave them alone till next spring, the swarm trap is a decent size that can hold alot of bees, I would say inside volume is about 80% of a deep...I am curious if they do better not being disturbed through the winter...
Ill know in spring..till then ill just keep an eye on them..
 

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Same thing here. A late swarm moved in here and I thought of just leaving them to their own habits until Spring so I eft them and just kept visiting them every couple of days to see how they were doing. Eventually, they just moved on and I am guessing that they went back to the hive they came out of.My homemade swarm trap holds 5 deep frames. That is propolis and beeswax smeared on the outside of the trap.

Plant Tree Wood Natural landscape Trunk
 

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Is there a standard design for swarm traps in the US? What do people like best or have most success with? In Australia it's illegal to leave boxes outside with foundation in them without bees- biosecurity etc. Last season I put a few single deeps around (that had had bees in them before), in good locations ( for a bee) with a light spray of 'swarm lure' lemongrass based oil, and although bees found it. no one moved in. It's coming into Spring here and of course I'm thinking swarm traps and i had heard of this guy and like his idea, so will try i this year:
This catches the scouting swarm, not the swarm from their new home. Good to hand near ones own hives if you think they'll swarm . here it is, tell me what you think:
Get a sturdy good sized bucket with lid. Coming out the bottom of the lid, extending vertically away is a length of wood about 6-9 ". On top of the lid, put another flat bit of wood to clamp the lid between them and hold together with big hook or eyelet hook, you need to be able to hang it. Gently melt some old black bees wax up, with some propolis in and a bit of the lemongrass oil, and soak a bit of hessian in it, then wrap around and fasten to the length of wood. The wood- lid apparatus is hoisted up high into a tree on a rope, the free end tied conveniently lower for you. When our hopeful swarm decides to hang out here whilst scouting for a new home. you place the bucket underneath and lower the swarm lid into it. Ta da.

any thoughts on this or other?
 

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I think that would be a great idea. Sounds like it should work. I looked up plans for mine but if you do a search for homemade swarm traps, you will be amazed what great minds come up with and would be legal in your neck of the woods. Most are rather simple and I like that. Mine,that you see above in the post is rather heavy with 5 frames of bees moved in. I now refrain from locating them higher then I can reach from the ground or from the back of my ATV. Good to have a pulley anchored above also for lowering if no help is around.
 

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I think that would be a great idea. Sounds like it should work. I looked up plans for mine but if you do a search for homemade swarm traps, you will be amazed what great minds come up with and would be legal in your neck of the woods. Most are rather simple and I like that. Mine,that you see above in the post is rather heavy with 5 frames of bees moved in. I now refrain from locating them higher then I can reach from the ground or from the back of my ATV. Good to have a pulley anchored above also for lowering if no help is around.
yes, if you get bear activity I imagine the extra height and pulley system could be handy. I will have another look around for swarm traps. Spring here, i can feel the quickening as if the sap is in my veins and its hard not to be excited. Although if you guys are dry up there, you'll know we're wet down here, hasn't stopped raining for a year and longer now, Eucalyptus forest all putting energy in vegetative growth and not a flower bud in sight. Most eucs will carry their buds for 6- 12 months before flowering. Lucky my planted flowering trees and bushes are established and starting to put on a good show- closest bees are the first to get there for pick of the bounty. Even so a token picnic- will be another very lean year. ( although even though i didn't get honey last year, I did plunder the crap out of one hive for a nuc split and everyone but me in my bee club sugar supplemented last season so token plantings must have some merit. Every plant i plant is for bees. yeah i get a just little obsessive.
 

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yes, if you get bear activity I imagine the extra height and pulley system could be handy. I will have another look around for swarm traps. Spring here, i can feel the quickening as if the sap is in my veins and its hard not to be excited. Although if you guys are dry up there, you'll know we're wet down here, hasn't stopped raining for a year and longer now, Eucalyptus forest all putting energy in vegetative growth and not a flower bud in sight. Most eucs will carry their buds for 6- 12 months before flowering. Lucky my planted flowering trees and bushes are established and starting to put on a good show- closest bees are the first to get there for pick of the bounty. Even so a token picnic- will be another very lean year. ( although even though i didn't get honey last year, I did plunder the crap out of one hive for a nuc split and everyone but me in my bee club sugar supplemented last season so token plantings must have some merit. Every plant i plant is for bees. yeah i get a just little obsessive.
I feel sorry for you. I sure know what wet is because of continued raining. I served two tours in Vietnam and experienced two monsoon seasons. I never thought it would end. We were constantly wet either from rain or from sweat and no relief in sight because we had to live out in it in the jungles. No luxury to having shelter except for a poncho.
Because of beekeeping and believe me, I am very new at it, I am finding value in planting everything I can for the bees. I even have an app on my phone to identify what weed I am looking at. Before bees, a weed was a weed. I am even visiting my local nursery more then I ever did. Now we are on a first name basis.;)
 

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I would want to get them out of a trap right away.

To catch another colony and because they will build wonky comb (unless your traps have drawn comb) the longer you leave them in there the more it becomes a "cut out" as they will build any needed comb in any open space attaching to the box and lid or cross combing.
 
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I'm wondering the same. I might put them in a deep or NUC so that I could get them winterized properly so as to give them the best chance of survival through winter. In that swarm trap in my picture, there is quite a bit of room in the bottom below the deep frames. I captured a swam in the beginning of the swarm season but left them in there to long by the time I noticed that they were permanent residents. They built comb clear to the bottom of the box and it was all I could do to transport the frames over to a deep box. All 5 frames in the swarm trap were packed with bees and no more room for parking.
 

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I feel sorry for you. I sure know what wet is because of continued raining. I served two tours in Vietnam and experienced two monsoon seasons. I never thought it would end. We were constantly wet either from rain or from sweat and no relief in sight because we had to live out in it in the jungles. No luxury to having shelter except for a poncho.
Because of beekeeping and believe me, I am very new at it, I am finding value in planting everything I can for the bees. I even have an app on my phone to identify what weed I am looking at. Before bees, a weed was a weed. I am even visiting my local nursery more then I ever did. Now we are on a first name basis.;)
damn I can't imagine the horror of war, so I feel for you! If I ever put swarm "move in its a nice home here' traps, I put wired frames but with no foundation or drawn comb. anyway...

FOLLOW UP ON SWARM TRAP IDEA:

I was making it in my woman cave, my potting shed. Glorious spring day so I had the door open. I had melted over low heat my old black comb. When cooled, as per plan I incorporated eucalyptus resin*, some D- limonene*, essential oils on hand (- rose otto, jojoba, mandarin, chamomile, swarm commander, also eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, some ginger powder and asofoetida I powder.**) and some Vitamine E oil****

I noticed some buzzing around my head and didn't really take notice.. and then i did notice and the place was crazy with bees. it was very redolent and fragrant with the smell of all of the above and the bees were HIGHLY ATTRACTED! Pasted it all onto hessian, wound around a branch under the bucket lid, then put clean hessian on top because I don't want the sunlight destroying essential oils too quickly. Also, I don't want bees carrying it all off to their hives. When it cooled it was very similar texture to propolis. I've just hung it up so will report later if it's a good swarm attractant but it was a damn fine bee attractant. I'm sure bees can detect that smell under the outer layer. I'm so impressed I'm making more to paste on inside of my trap hive.

I'm just a little fascinated with propolis and it's awesome colony immune support properties. I think about it a lot.

- Eucalyptus resin was deep red, crystallised and did not melt, just blackened and volatised. I soaked it over night covered in vodka 40%, and sure enough next morning was a fragrant goop, looked like blood. Alcohol would have cooked off very quickly. * If in ignorance, D- limonene is citrus terpene, from citrus skins. did my reserch on this particular product, it's quite natural. Terpenes are indeed one of the phytocompounds in plant resins so I was happy to add a little ( just like a half teaspoon). When researching resins, asofoetida and ginger are actually a form of resin. Good enough for me. ****Vitamin E protects oils against oxidation.
 

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I feel sorry for you. I sure know what wet is because of continued raining. I served two tours in Vietnam and experienced two monsoon seasons. I never thought it would end. We were constantly wet either from rain or from sweat and no relief in sight because we had to live out in it in the jungles. No luxury to having shelter except for a poncho.
Because of beekeeping and believe me, I am very new at it, I am finding value in planting everything I can for the bees. I even have an app on my phone to identify what weed I am looking at. Before bees, a weed was a weed. I am even visiting my local nursery more then I ever did. Now we are on a first name basis.;)

All plants are good plants, don't get me wrong. Observation is the best skill, look at world through pollinator eyes and pay attention to season. It's good to have a relationship with your local nursery person, they can give you excellent advice. I buy plenty of plants because even though I have good propagation skills when you want it you want it Now and not waiting 12 months. However, i am aware that most commercial stock is grown with neonics, and as you probably know, they are persistent and systemic. i.e. they don't break down readily in nature, and systemic means they are in all parts of the plant- inc nectar and pollen. (I live in an area with little agriculture so although there's less natural or man grown forage, I'm happy that they don't get little agricultural chemical exposure, and it's worthwhile a small amount of effort to control what I can.) The plants I do buy though, (full of neonics), I make sure I inoculate evrything in mycorhiza. Mycorhiza are a fungal inoculant, known and shown to enhance health performance, immune function and nutrient acquisition. Fungi are also the guys who will break down complex chemicals- if you want soil detox, think fungi. So hence every plant is inoculated to hedge bets against neonics and for general health.The plants I do propagate I am happy that knowing I have control over the soil they are in.

For instance,- use of propagating skills- I saw an early spring **** flowering prolifically (and bravely), and I thought that will make a great windbreak for one of my hives in 2-3 years time. ( 1 year to grow and settle, develop good roots, 2nd year enough growth to outcompete out rabbit plague, 3rd year plant. If I buy such plants from commercail soources I don't have precise knowledge over when it's flowering in my climate.. This winter just gone, on still, cold days, I saw my bees foraging 15m away in sheltered microclimate, and 10 m away but they ignored the plant I know to be good winter pollen and nectar that was 30m away. So the rest of the foraging year, they can sort them selves out but in winter with the energy gained/ deficit equation of forage vs flying expenditure, this where i control my plant choice - for winter/ spring forage I choose plants very specifically for useable forage and proximity to the hive, and if I can't buy them, I take cuttings or grow from seed. and there are no neonics or systemic chems in plant
 

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Darn,I never gave it a thought about the chemicals they hit the commercial plants with. I surely didn't know that the chemicals stay in all parts of the plants for their life either. I just bought some Sedums and Hysoops yesterday and planted them in my raised bed.
 

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those sedum 'autumn joy" etc cultivars are a bee magnet. hyssops good too. nice work- good on you:). I don't think enough people plant for bees or pollinators. Heleniums are one of my favourite American imports for bees- great pollen. I think we should revive one of the bee plant threads

oh yeah, for the resin mix above, i soaked black bees comb in alcohol overnight, strained it out, then did the same with resin, added resin liquid goop, essential oils and comb alcohol and pasted on trap hive walls which have been scratched up. With the shed door closed. Alcohol will evaporate off. Now for the waiting
 

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I have never been a very good gardener, never had a green thumb. My vegetable gardens are always a hit and a miss because of fighting weeds and what nots, the what nots being pesty bugs that do my plants in. I don't like to toss insecticides on my plants.
I've been pretty busy these past couple days with tilling and running the disc with the tractor on a large section of my property so I can plant Milkweed seeds. I found two Swam Milkweed plants growing on my property. Yo would think that in 45 acres, I would find more but two is all I found. I gathered pods from them and my beekeeping friends came through and gave me some of their pods so now I have my work cut out for me. I think soon, it will be good to go ahead and plant them. I tried the cold stratification last year and put some seeds in the frig but they never came up so I thought about how Milkweed pods open up in the fall and are carried off by the wind to spread their own way. Good enough for them, good enough for me.
I think you are going to have a very interesting swarm season. Your mixture sure sounds like it will draw the scouts in without hesitation. Must give a full report on out swarm trap outcomes.
 

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I have never been a very good gardener, never had a green thumb. My vegetable gardens are always a hit and a miss because of fighting weeds and what nots, the what nots being pesty bugs that do my plants in. I don't like to toss insecticides on my plants.
I've been pretty busy these past couple days with tilling and running the disc with the tractor on a large section of my property so I can plant Milkweed seeds. I found two Swam Milkweed plants growing on my property. Yo would think that in 45 acres, I would find more but two is all I found. I gathered pods from them and my beekeeping friends came through and gave me some of their pods so now I have my work cut out for me. I think soon, it will be good to go ahead and plant them. I tried the cold stratification last year and put some seeds in the frig but they never came up so I thought about how Milkweed pods open up in the fall and are carried off by the wind to spread their own way. Good enough for them, good enough for me.
I think you are going to have a very interesting swarm season. Your mixture sure sounds like it will draw the scouts in without hesitation. Must give a full report on out swarm trap outcomes.
I have tons of milkweed and golden rod all over the place, I get thousands of the monarch butterflies each year on my property as the milkweed is their food....I figured most open land would have the same...but I guess not...
 

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I have tons of milkweed and golden rod all over the place, I get thousands of the monarch butterflies each year on my property as the milkweed is their food....I figured most open land would have the same...but I guess not...
Exactly, I thought the same thing. My one neighbor, although a mile from me has probably a whole acre of Milkweed on his 2 acres of ground. I on the other hand feel very neglected with having 45 acres of fields, woods and marsh land and only found two plants.
 
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Same thing here. A late swarm moved in here and I thought of just leaving them to their own habits until Spring so I eft them and just kept visiting them every couple of days to see how they were doing. Eventually, they just moved on and I am guessing that they went back to the hive they came out of.My homemade swarm trap holds 5 deep frames.
 

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Gently melt some old black bees wax
This reminded me that I should have posted some time back a little info on getting GREAT results on refining some of that old black beeswax. Here is a site on YouTube that stresses the first part of the cleaning processes.
Having a hard time cleaning BEESWAX? TRY THIS!

The next part is "How light-colored do you want your beeswax? IF the brown beeswax is to your taste that is great, however, what if you want something that is really pure, like for cosmetics, or lip balm? You need a box frame with a metal interior, tilted somewhat, and a removable glass top. The box should have the lower end fitted with 45 degree angled metal to exit through a slot down into a container. The sun will lighten the wax more every time you put the batch through box. Of course you use fine netting that will allow the melted wax (from the sun) to filter through and contain all of the 'garbage' from the black comb. The beeswax can be made almost as white as the newly made pure comb from a new frame.

Sorry for being quite a bit off topic, but I thought this was important and wanted to get it typed out and in front of people.
 

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I have never been a very good gardener, never had a green thumb. My vegetable gardens are always a hit and a miss because of fighting weeds and what nots, the what nots being pesty bugs that do my plants in. I don't like to toss insecticides on my plants.
I've been pretty busy these past couple days with tilling and running the disc with the tractor on a large section of my property so I can plant Milkweed seeds. I found two Swam Milkweed plants growing on my property. Yo would think that in 45 acres, I would find more but two is all I found. I gathered pods from them and my beekeeping friends came through and gave me some of their pods so now I have my work cut out for me. I think soon, it will be good to go ahead and plant them. I tried the cold stratification last year and put some seeds in the frig but they never came up so I thought about how Milkweed pods open up in the fall and are carried off by the wind to spread their own way. Good enough for them, good enough for me.
I think you are going to have a very interesting swarm season. Your mixture sure sounds like it will draw the scouts in without hesitation. Must give a full report on out swarm trap outcomes.
yes, I hear you with the weeds etc. I don't use chemicals either and the bloody grass will outgrow most things in vigour. It has sent me crazy and is continually frustrating. Now I grow shrubs and trees in pots until a couple of foot tall so has sufficient vigour and height to survive rabbits and out compete grass. I put dwarf trees in orchard, stupid me, dwarf rootstocks have greatly reduced vigour, and do not do well against the all enthusiastic grass, whose fibrous roots will intercept all organic matter and nutrient. So what to do??? I have planted comphrey, the permaculture wonder plant, when it is in it's growth phase will shade out plants and is working well. It is late spring here and it has just started flowering. Then I grow nasturtium in a small pot, scalp an area of grass with the lawn mower, or fork it up, and without disturbing roots plant nasturtium with a small amount of fert to kick start it. I have thrown good desirable weedy plants around- here that's coriander, who will always self seed, sweet alyssum (annual Lobelia maritima)- also hard to keep down, and forget me nots (Myosotis alpestris ). My new favourite allium is elephant garlic, not to eat but to leave in the ground and multiply for the big sugar filled multiple flower heads that the bees love. I've inoculated clover (Australian soils do not naturally have rhizobium species to facilitate nitrogen fixation, must inoculate) On the closer to house, more frequently seen and managed sites, I fork up grass and every season fork away encroaching grass and expand the area of mulch, planting immediately, inc nitrogen fixers. Crimson clover is my favourite ornamental garden, warm season, self seeding nitrogen fixer. Anything in the brassica family- wild turnip weed, forage turnips, canola, rocket etc has high protein pollen. so that's my start of self maintaining flowering plants. Species almost as weedy as grass, but easier to control if you should wish, and that self seeds. I'm getting mobile chicken house in there this summer also. When I put the chickens through in their mobile pens, I'll successively run them through to exhaust plants metabolic energy, fork weeds out quickly, then mulch, let weed seeds germinate, chicken again, then plant green manure crop- vetch is nice and dense and can grow fava / broad beans annual rye or wheat with it ( supplement chickens), and buckwheat and a legume in warm months. Undersow, chop n drop, cycle through. that's the plan....I'll keep you updated. Basically I keep some small areas under tight control, and the rest I only whipper snip, mow to reduce fuel load ( fires) and control is light and sketchy at best. As trees and bushes grow they will create more fungally dominated soil and shade and slowly grass will lose it's advantage ( grass likes microbially dominant soil and lots of light). If you have locally flowering 'weed' or wildflower species they're probably your best bet. You are in winter now, your milkweed must be cold stratifying now?

with veg I plant lots of flowers around them to attract 'good insects' and it seems to work. Tall plants like tomatoes and beans I love to interplant with cosmos, short plants I use annuals crimson clover, alyssum, coriander (spring & autumn) & savoury. I made a veg bed out of concrete cinder blocks and the thyme, alyssum & armeria planted in the holes looks resplendent in full bloom, which it currently is. One year I put nasturtium under tomatoes and of course it went rampant, shading growth to 4 foot but the tomatoes, to my surprise, did not seem to mind at all and put a great amount of fruit anyway. Quantity-wise, you don't need much flowers to attract good predatory insects. In my experience, give or take, about 1/20 of veg growing space can be occupied by a flowering beneficial insect attractant plant. Do a search for plants that attract hoverflies is a good start for species choice. I don't mind dedicating some veg bed space because it serves my bees as well. They love their mass planted thyme and allium flowers

Good soil is also important- for pest prevention- people who load soil up with ridiculous amounts of fertilizer are not only instrumental in compromising river & water health but fill the plants leaves with nitrogen that the plant can't turn into protein, and all that useless nitrogen in leaves is like a calling card to insects. So take care of trace minerals and organic matter first, then add your NPK- in conservative moderation. Organic matter will beget soil biology who will cycle Nitrogen and hold in upper soil levels for longer, where the plant needs it- a little N goes a long way. All our nitrogen here for veg is from composts, chook poo, nitrogen fixing plants, or pee. Yep, we don't pee to flush that much. While N is a plant nutrient needed in larger quantities ( one of the big 3, NPK), I supplement no N except for the above and I grow about 40- 60% of fresh produce that we eat (variety of plant types) quite successfully.


i have attracted no swarms.. 😪 neither have mine swarmed. I'm almost finished my new hive and they will go into that soon, will see how much room they have, haven't opened up this spring yet. We are still get cold snaps down to freezing.. it's technically summer next month. Bees certainly look productive and happy. Another wet year with no flowering eucalyptus.. everyone at bee club is feeding theirs sugar syrup but I want my bees to adapt to local conditions. (Was same last year and they didn't starve over winter then). I have just planted some *****, another eucalyptus, grevillea and more ceonothus. For their token bee garden nutrition. Coming up for planting soon are winter flowering mahonias, one more leatherwood- delicious honey (Eucriphia lucida), Rhaphsiolepsis, Escallonias, osmanthus, and some more asters. With hollyhocks and dahlias etc. Spoilt bees. Good luck, I look forward to hearing how your milkweeds germinate and grow in the spring time.
 
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