This innovative and easy to use trap mimics the ideal space needed for a swarm to begin a new hive. The inside volume (~40 liters) and entrance size (~2 square inches) are replicated from the studies done by Dr. Thomas D. Seeley in his scientific exploration of the swarm in the Honeybee Democracy. The trap has two tiers of 5 Langstroth deep frame rests. The trap is designed to be hung from a tree branch without having to climb into the tree. Timing is the most important part of catching swarms. Early spring is typically swarm season. It is far better to have traps out early rather than late. The ideal location, the second most important part of catching a swarm, is defined by a few different characteristics. First, there needs to be a nearby water source, less than half a mile away ideally. Second, the bees seem to appreciate a tree line overlooking an open area like a field. And lastly, the trap needs to be 10-15 feet off the ground. There are a few other things that will attract a swarm after the location is established. Bees are attracted to the smell of wood, old comb, Swarm Commander or lemongrass oil. We recommend putting 1-3 frames preferably with drawn, empty comb, on the top frame rests. New foundation or the plastic wax covered foundation will also work. Place top bars or frames with starter strips of foundation in all top bar grooves. This is so bees do not build comb on the underside of the lid. Leave the bottom frame rests empty. The wood smell will come from the frames and the cardboard lining inside the trap. The entire vial of supplied Swarm Commander or Five to ten drops of lemongrass oil on the frames will be sure to get the scout bees to investigate their new potential home.
The body of the box is made from CON-Pearl new style of polypropylene board, made in Germany, that is extra strong and stiff, UV and weather resistant. The lid is made from UV and weather resistant corrugated PVC. There is one entrance hole and two screened ventilation openings for keeping bees cool during transport. There is also a pre-punched removable hole in the lid for addition of our feeding jar adapter to encourage the swarm to stay put in their new home. Use feeder only after lowering from the tree. The whole trap without frames weighs less than 4 pounds. Made in USA
When location is chosen, hanging the trap is rather simple. Be sure that the limb or structure can support at least 100 lbs. A limb of at least a 3in diameter should be chosen. Hanging the trap is a simple process; refer to the pictures below for help. Once the branch/structure is chosen, hanging the trap is a matter of tying a few knots, hoisting it up, and securing the ends of the ropes. First you will need to run a rope, the “hoisting rope” (minimum of 150 pounds working strength), under both straps on the top of the trap. Tie a loop that is 20 to 30 inches in length. We suggest a standard bowline knot. Tie two smaller ropes to the straps in the center bottom of the traps as shown. The long loop when hoisted over the branch/structure will add stability to the trap in the air. After tying the loop, hoist the trap to a “workable level” to secure the two bottom ropes and adjust the hoisting rope so that the trap hangs level left, right, front, and back with the entrance slightly tilted towards the ground. This will encourage any rain water that might enter the trap to drain out. After final adjustments, so the trap hangs properly as stated earlier, hoist the trap so that the top of the trap is 6-8 inches below the branch/structure. Secure the loose end of the hoisting rope. Now to secure the bottom stabilizing ropes, anchor them to the ground at roughly a 45 degree angle from the bottom of the trap. Tent stakes work well for this, or anything heavy/immovable that you can secure the ropes to – logs, rocks, other trees, etc.
Collecting the swarm:
Check your trap often; it is much easier to transport, transfer, and carry the growing hive before they get too big, heavy, and/or before they build comb everywhere. Once you’ve established that there is an active hive in the trap, you will want to collect them at sundown when all the bees are inside the hive. Always wear beekeeping gear for safety. To lower, unsecure the two stabilizing ropes and then lower rope and gently lower the trap until you can close the entrance door. The entrance has a foldable tab that seals the entrance. It is a good idea to use tape to add extra protection from the tab popping open. After the entrance is closed securely. Remove the two stabilizing ropes from the bottom straps. Then continue to lower the trap to the ground. Open the two ventilation windows by folding the flaps up and tucking them under the lid. Loosen the straps and lift the lid just enough to tuck the flaps under. Retighten the straps and untie the hoisting rope. Be careful to keep the trap upright and stabilize during transportation. Beware that the trap may be top heavy, as the bees will begin to build comb and store honey at the top. The bees are now ready for transport to their permanent home/bee yard. It is a good idea to feed them with the Swarm Trap Feeder as soon as possible.
Transferring the swarm:
When you have transported the bees to the yard, we recommend to leave them in their new spot for at least 24hrs before attempting a transfer to their new hive body. You can open the entrance door now and close the vent doors, unless it is very hot over 80 degrees in the day, move them to shade at the hottest part of the day. If you want to leave them in longer, add more frames and the top feeder jar to encourage them to stay; swarms are finicky if too much stuff happens. They will just pack up and move somewhere else. When you are ready to transfer, simply remove the frames that they have built on and place them in their new hive (during daytime hours). Place their new hive in the same spot the trap was in so that the foraging bees will find their way back to their new home. Continue to feed your new “free” bees. The trap may be reused to catch another swarm.