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Swarm Traps

Updated: May 2, 2020

When baiting the trap I think most people use far to much attractant in their traps and this can lead to the newly arrived swarm absconding shortly after arriving. What has worked well for me in the past is applying 5-6 drops my bait scent to a cotton ball or pad and placing that into a ziplock baggie with 3-4 pinholes in the bag. This allows for the attractant to be released slower and over a longer period of time. When I set up my traps I place the old brood comb to one side of the trap, not in the center to ensuring the space for the scout bees are looking for. The remaining 4 frames are built with just a short 2in section of starter strip to ensure the bees will draw the comb straight in the frame. I hang my trap at a convenient level to work with approximately 6-8 feet in the air. The hole in the support bars on my trap allows the trap to be hung off a branch or a couple of wood screws if a broken branch is not available.

I try to check my traps every couple of weeks but with the space provided for drawing comb, I have had swarms in traps for as long as 5 weeks without issues. I will try to wait until I see pollen being taken into the hive before moving the newly trapped swarm into my bee yard if possible. But have successfully moved seams the evening after they have moved in. If I have to move a swarm immediately I will usually leave them in the swarm trap until I see pollen coming in but ensure I place the trap a close to the final hive location as possible.

For the last two swarm seasons, I have placed two different style traps in very close proximity and baited them with differing baits. And what I have found is the swarms prefer a trap with a little more space and only the one drawn frame in the trap. While the traps with no brood frame, multiple frames or less open space were not occupied. But as always bees do not read the manuals and will do what they want at the end of the day.

Feel free to add your comments or question or even your experiences with swarms

Swarm Trap

Constructed from ¾ inch plywood if using different lumber, changes dimensions as needed.

The Top is cut at 21 X 9¾ inch with rails around the edge to allow a good seal to keep bee's in and water out. Rails are cut from scrap 1X12 used in the construction of hive bodies and cut as follow2@ 22 ½ X 2 inches 2@ 9 ¼ X 2 inch glued and nailed to the top board plywood.


Sides are cut at 19 ½ X 18 with an entrance hole drilled low on one side with two ¾inch holes drilled connecting to each other. Install ½inch hardware cloth to the backside of the entrance to keep birds ETC. out. Ends are cut 17 3/8 X 7 3/8 inch with ¾ ventilation holes centered 3 inches from the top covered inside be 1/8 hardware cloth.

The Bottom is cut 19 ½ X 9

Handles/Rails are cut 9 x 3 and installed at the top of the box to give you the desired 5/8 frame rests to install standard Langstroth frames. (See Illustration)

A Trap hanger is constructed from 2X4 lumber and is cut 1@ 24 inches and 2@ 10 inches drill a 2 inch hole in the top of the 24 inch hanging bar to slip over a tree branch or screw. The 2 10 inch pieces are mounted to the back of the trap and provide space for the cover to sit flush and keep bees in and weather out.(See Illustration)

Trap is baited with your choice of scent's Lemon Grass Oil, Commercial Lure, or Queen JuiceInstall a drawn brood comb frame in the center of the trap and 2 frames with starter strip in both sides of that. This gives the scout bees the illusion that another colony has made a home here before also allowing the space to measure the desired 30-40 liters of space to start a colony.

Hang you trap 6-10 feet off the ground and enjoy the free bees.

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