Swarm Traps

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IMG_20130311_155812_039Every year bees have the habit of swarming. This is because of a number of reasons but mainly they feel like they get crowded and need some room so the queen takes off and about half the hive with her. Bee Keepers try to keep this from happening in their hives but it happens. Wild hives swarm as well. This is really how bees multiply and spread out. It’s also a good way to get some free bees. I have two people who want to get some bees this year and I of course am always on the lookout for another hive. Last year I heard through our local bee club that a guy was making swarm traps and had already caught a lot of swarms, like 50+. I joined him for his swarm catching expedition. The way he did it was to have some boxes built that he hung up around the county. These boxes were pretty slick in their design and while he did not invent them it seemed to be me he had pretty much perfected it.  If I remember correctly his rules for catching swarms were these. Hang the trap about 10 feet up. Brace it against whatever you hang it in so it doesn’t swing in the wind and the bigger the box the bigger the swarm but you know they are insects so no guarantee.

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I got three swarms from him last year. I collected a couple of swarms on my own last year as well so I want to hang three traps up. Two at the spots where I collected swarms last year and one near my hives in case one of my hives swarms. Here is how I built them.

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These boxes are made from scrap so there is not an exact size. You can make them any sizes but  the only thing you need to keep in mind is the size of the frames you place in the box. My first box had 6 deep frames. The ones I’m making will have 5 deeps. The tops are made from bent tin. And the front of the traps have a sliding tin door that closes so when you go and collect the swarm it’s easy to keep the bees inside. There is a vent hole at the top with some hardware cloth covering it. There are two handles to make carrying easier and the traps hang by a chain attached to some rope thrown over a branch or some such thing.

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