Build a Honey Bee Bait Hive: 9 Steps (with Pictures)Journal of Insect Behavior. Chemical signals influence the selection of potential nest cavities by honey bee reproductive swarms. Attractants for swarms include the odors of old dark honey bee brood combs, odors from noncomb hive materials and propolis, and Nasonov pheromone, the odor released from the Nasonov glands of worker bees. Based on crossover and choice test experiments, swarms were shown to prefer, among otherwise identical cavities, those cavities containing Nasonov pheromone over cavities with only comb or other hive odors, cavities containing old comb over those with only noncomb odors or propolis, and cavities containing noncomb odors or propolis over those without bee or hive odor. The data support a model based on a hierarchy of olfactory attractants used by honey bee swarms, in order of highest to lowest: Nasonov pheromone, comb odor, noncomb and propolis odors, and, finally, absence of bee- or hive-produced odor. Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
The art of trapping Bees. Swarm traps/bait hives
Hierarchy of Attractants for Honey Bee Swarms
All you need is some scrap plywood, 4 to 5 frames and some essential oil. What is a swarm used box for? Wild bee swarms can be looking for a potential home for a variety of reasons. Hive damage is one reason, but a more common reason is that the original colony grew too big for the hive. In this case, the colony will make a new queen and split the colony in two. The swarm will take off and find a temporary home often on the side of a barn, in a tree branch or other less convenient places like under a picnic table. The swarm gathers as a giant ball of bees clinging to each other with the queen safely in the middle, being tended by her workers.
Step 1: Cut Pieces to Size
If you're a beekeeper, or an aspiring beekeeper, you can catch your own honeybees using a bait hive. Learn how to build a simple swarm trap from inexpensive plywood. Once built, the swarm trap can be hung from a tree to catch wild honeybees. The traps are based off of Langstroth Nucleus hives and are 40 liters in volume. According to an experiment done by Cornell the 40 liter size was optimal for attracting swarms of honeybees.
Wild honey bee colonies are a precious resource which can be diminished through trapping. If you catch wild swarms, please help preserve and increase local honey bee populations by following natural principles: giving them the freedom to swarm, not subjecting them to any treatments, and preferably using foundationless comb so they can raise sufficient number of drones and pass on their valuable genetics to other colonies in your area. For an in-depth discussion of sustainable natural beekeeping methods, please see Keeping Bees With a Smile. Thank you! Beekeeping begins with the bees.
Bees have been known to live in some crazy places. If there is enough room to build comb honeybees will try to live in it. This is good news to beekeepers because it means you can literally use anything with the proper dimensions to make a swarm trap. The most common types of traps are 5-frame Nuc boxes, standard frame hive boxes, peat pots, and bankers boxes. Each have their pros and cons, but they all work.