Monday, April 4, 2011

April 4th 2011

Bait hives
As swarm season is about to start its time to set up the bait hives.
Previously I've made up a few frames with foundation but this year I bought 20 sheets of wax coated plastic foundation instead as I found after awhile the normal foundation turns stale and is useless after a few weeks of hot weather. The trick I use is simply added a few drops of lemongrass oil on the top of a couple of the frames and wait. 
The lemongrass oil scent seems to attract bees like iron filings to a magnet. The idea is when a colony swarms they then settle some where and send out lots of scout bees to find a potential new home, once one of the scouts finds some where suitable it returns to gather more bees to come and inspect the site before they in turn return and so on until a critical number decide to take a look then the whole swarm moves in. Last year the 4 frame nuc I left in the garden had plenty of bees interested but I guess it wasn't big enough to house a good sized swarm unlike the empty Dartington hive which attracted a massive swarm. So this year I have a langstroth medium chamber and one of the new 6 frame poly nucs I bought sat out in the garden about 4 feet off the floor in a sunny spot ready and waiting. 

I'll let you know if I have any luck.