I thought I had some time to finish my second log hive before another swarm would take place. Not so. On April 18 two more swarms came out. These are cast swarms…more than likely the queen has not been mated yet. What to do? I had already used my back-up Warre and there were some work responsibilities staring me in the face…deadlines that couldn’t be put off any longer because “people are depending on you, Pat!” Okay, I’ll get the deadlines done first and get the bees figured out in the morning…it rained all night. My wife suggested I adapt a bait box. Last year after reading McCartney Taylor’s book on swarm bait hives, I had built nine swarm bait boxes and placed them in different spots hoping to attract a swarm. I was successful in two of them. One I gave away and lucky number 7 went into my new log hive.
After some initial resistance, I realized she had a good idea. The box is already built. I just need to add some Warre length top bars…it’s also a good size of 40 liters as recommended by Tom Seeley in his book “Honeybee Democracy.”
First job is to wax up some top bars…
The above picture shows only three top bars. I added a total of 12 because I wasn’t sure when I’d get another Warre and at the time I wanted to be able to add these bees to my next log hive if I ever get it done. I also tapped some panel nails in to keep the bars from sliding when I tilt hive with bees into the tree. The bars have a slot for the nails, so they will lift out easily.
I like the idea of a ‘quilt box,’ so I cut another bait hive down to make one.
I drilled several holes into the quilt box covering them with screen. That way the hive can breathe and keep the hive scent. I used myrtlewood sawdust for two reasons…feral bees live in myrtlewood trees and I had a lot of it left over from hollowing out my next log hive. Actually some of my bees came from a feral hive in a myrtlewood tree last year.
After bending branches and snipping them, we managed to get the majority of bees into the box.
A short video of swarm activity. The main video that shows us getting the swarm in the box has disappeared due to Pat’s incompetence.