In my quest to capture a swarm of bees to populate my Top Bar Hive, I decided to make a Swarm Trap using the methods described at Beekeeping in Ontario. Using mismatched equipment I already had on hand as well as surplus resources from my previous hives such as empty drawn out frames, I created a Swarm Trap!
Putting together a Swarm Trap takes no time at all, from start to finish – about an hour! I used a deep hive body that I first built back in March of 2012 which I hadn’t used for anything because the dimensions were off from the standard equipment I use so it made for the perfect box for a trap.
I began by first drilling a 1-inch hole in the front of the box as the entrance and attached a floor board. In it, I put four drawn out frames from one of my dead out hives in the middle of the box along with empty frames on either sides for support and to keep everything from shifting around inside as the trap was lifted into position up a tree. Before closing it up with a roof, I inserted a couple of absorbent cotton balls with a few drops of Lemongrass Oil on each and closed it up. Not having access to commercial swarm lures, I used lemongrass oil instead which is similar to queen pheromone and is used to entice scout bees to their new home – this combined with the scent of beeswax (drawn out frames) should be sufficient to attract a swarm. Lastly, I affixed a brace to the back end of the hive body which is used to screw the trap to a tree.
Ideally, the swarm trap should be placed at a height of 15 feet and facing south. I placed my Swarm Trap about 10 feet up in a poplar tree facing south east very close to the roadway on the opposite corner of the property and away from my current hives. The logic here, that the prevailing winds would blow across the property and catch the waft of lemongrass scent emanating from the trap and be carried towards the road and into the passing traffic where it would further be carried along until a scout bee catches wiff of it and follows it back to the swarm trap.
Here it is! The swarm trap will remain in the tree until mid-June and I will report back here with the results (if any). Thanks to Chris Inch of Beekeeping in Ontario for the DYI post on How to Catch a Swarm of Bees. Enjoy!