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When to set out lures


#1

Flowers are starting to bloom and I was thinking about when is the best time to start to set out lures. My plum trees here in Portland are in full bloom but the hives are up on a hill south of Scappoose and the plum trees there haven’t started blooming yet. If we don’t catch a swarm how long should we wait before buying bees?


#2

RIch,

I’d get bait hives up now so that they are ready for the first swarms (usually the first couple weeks of April, depending on rain). We’re in the process of building and then setting out at least 20-30 throughout Portland.

You can’t bank on bait hives if you really want to get started this year. I’d put out the bait hives and join as many swarm lists as possible so you can also go catch swarms. This should ensure you get bees by sometime in May.

Best,

Matt


#3

I signed up on your list for two when we bought the hives. I guess we should sign up on more lists.


#4

Rich,

Aha! Our list is to buy a swarm of bees from us. Most lists out there will be for you to receive a phone call from homeowners when they’ve got a swarm in their yard. It’s the best way to get free bees. By being on our list, setting out bait hives and joining other swarm lists, you’ll have a pretty good chance of getting both hives populated without issue!

Matt


#5

Thanks Matt. Being on your list is insurance because the other options are chancy. I’ve spent a lot of time on the web trying to get up to date on beekeeping. Things have changed in fifty years when you only had to worry about foul brood, robber bees and bears. I’ve signed up on one list to capture a swarm and plan on some more. I plan build a few traps just for the experience but I may get lucky. You tube is entertaining as well as informative. If I hit the lottery and wind up with more bees than hives I hope you have a good inventory.


#6

Hey Matt, how many swarms did you get from your bait hives this year??

I want to put some bait hives up in my area next year, can you advise on tips and tricks?

Regards,

Janet


#7

Janet,

I, unfortunately, only had a few bait hives out this year. I caught a couple swarms in them. We had other customers we taught to use bait hives who caught dozens!

I recommend using a miniature version of whatever hive style you prefer. Place bars/frames inside the box and hang it or place it 10-15 feet up in the air, ideally with southeastern exposure. Put a couple drops of lemongrass oil (http://www.beethinking.com/lemongrass-oil) inside the entrance and wait. I also recommend reading Honeybee Democracy by Dr. Seeley (http://www.beethinking.com/honeybee-democracy) as it will teach you a LOT about the way swarms work and make decisions.

Best,

Matt


#8

Thankyou Matt! I did read Honeybee Democracy…Dr. Seeley is my hero! I now shake my head that I did not consider entomology as a career when I was in university…it just never occurred to me then that I could have spent a lifetime studying bees!

I have adopted his descriptor for honeybees: “sparks of wonderment”. Now when we are drinking coffee at the patio table, I say, “oh look dear, there go my sparks of wonderment!

Regards,

Janet


#9

How much is the cost of a BeeThinking swarm?


#10

boysnbees,

We generally charge $85 for the swarm and then a deposit on the box it comes in. We catch the swarm, put it in a nuc (usually), confirm a laying queen and seemingly healthy colony and then sell it.

Best,

Matt


#11

Has anyone caught a swarm in the Portland area this year, yet? I have 4 swarm traps the size of two Warre boxes side by side. I have one package installed and another empty Warre hive in waiting. I’m nervous that I’m waiting for swarms rather than a sure thing with the packages, even tho I know packages have their own issues.

Maybe we could post somewhere on this forum when and where people are getting swarms?


#12

We’ve caught 4 since March 28th, and we’ve got two more to go get today. We’ve also had at least one other customer successfully bait a swarm into a top bar hive nucleus box with lemongrass oil last week.


#13
boysnbees,

We generally charge $85 for the swarm and then a deposit on the box it comes in. We catch the swarm, put it in a nuc (usually), confirm a laying queen and seemingly healthy colony and then sell it.

Best,

Matt

How does one get on this list? I have a baited swarm trap and a baited hive but I’m trying to maximize my chances.