Getting new bees can be expensive, and cutting them out of the floorboards of someone’s shed is a lot of work. Why not try to catch a wild swarm in something convenient before they setup shop someplace tricky? That is the idea behind a swarm trap. You build a space that is right for a new bee swarm, bait it with essential oils, and hope they show up.
The general consensus is that something like a 5 frame deep nuc is what they naturally look for in size. I only do mediums now a days, but hopefully they aren’t that picky. While we were building the screech owl boxes my bee buddy and I put together a set of swarm traps to try and catch some bees!
I started with the dimensions for a langstroth medium and cut the width down so that 5 frames would fit comfortably. I added a bit of height to allow space above and below the frames that would normally be there in a hive stack-up. Cleats on the side help with picking it up.
Five frames with foundation went into each box and they got their lids screwed on. The lid should keep it dry inside, but can easily be removed with a few screws once occupied. I wanted the trap up in the oak tree in my backyard. I added a tall piece of pine with screw holes so I could use long exterior screws for attachment.
I got a bunch of medium boxes put together in the mean time and went ahead with my lovely yellow paint for all of them.
I hope the bees aren’t put off by the wild yellow. Who knows, maybe it will attract them to move in.
The trap has been up in my oak tree for about a month now, and so far no bees. I have heard that lemongrass oil is supposed to attract them. I doubt it lasts more than a week or two, so I should probably refresh that. Oh well, now we wait.