Swarm traps are a way to catch bees when they are swarming. Simply by placing an attractive, baited box in an appropriate location there is a chance that a passing swarm may settle and set up home. This is generally a better option than them setting up shop in your roof, chimney or water butt!
Generally swarm traps are placed within about 100m of known existing colonies, or in areas where bees are known to have swarmed in past years. There is no guarantee that bees will choose the swarm trap, but you can increase the odds of success by:
- Adding lemon grass oil to the box, which mimics the queen’s pheremones
- Adding old wax to the box
- Using boxes that bees have lived in before
- Using appropriately sized boxes.
I am always looking for people willing to host swarm traps, particularly those who have had swarms in their area in the past.
The arrangement I offer is:
- £10 deposit per box (to protect my investment in equipment) which is returned when traps are collected in.
- I setup the swarm traps, in locations agreed by the host.
- The host checks the traps once a week or so to see if there are bees flying – visual inspection from a distance
- I collect the traps back in at the end of the season and return deposits, usually around late August.
My swarm traps are homemade, simple wooden boxes – essentially a cut-down bee hive. They come either unpainted, or dark green.