Sunday 21 April 2013

Lets attract some bee's

It's that time of year when we need to get ready for the swarming period. The bee's are flying, well at least mine are, and producing brood after a very quick look during the last calm sunny day.
That much activity I had to open the second entrance.

Box with lid and frame on bank
where bee's fly down the  garden

This means the scout bee's will be hunting up potential new homes for when the colony decides it's time to go forth and multiply. So what do you need to do. The answer is simple get those bait boxes out. What I hear you ask are bait boxes. Well for those who have just built their hives at the 'big hive build' they will do lovely, in fact each one could be three bait hives if you make more follower boards. For myself I use square flower pots from wilkos, sounds low tech but last year I attracted 3 swarms into my bait hives. 

A little more detail then:- 

1 - A suitable size container, needs to be about 6-9 top bars.
2 - Some old honeycomb if you have any(attached to a top bar).
3 - One or two drops of lemongrass oil(not the aromatherapy stuff).
4 - Lots of patience.
Another on top of the boys play shed destined to bee
'shed bee's ' if any are attracted.

Get your boxes all ready and then put them out, if possible in an area where you see bee's flying on a regular basis and then wait. Every couple of weeks top up the lemongrass.

One word of advice if you do attract a swarm and are going to house it in a full size hive, do it as soon as you can as they will only allow you to do so for a couple of days at most. After that if they decide to stay you will only be able to follow the 3 foot 3 mile rule.


  1. Hi Dave
    Bait box built, 1 comb in it and have lemongrass stuff in freezer , how close to the existing hives should / could I put it ? or does it need to be a reasonable distance , we've not got a large back garden

  2. Hi Mike

    I would say not directly outside the entrance, with your garden they would probably find it quite soon. As a general rule try and keep them about 3 foot apart. However there is no guarantee your bee's will go for it. They will normally only swarm locally if there is plenty of forage. Sorry it's not an exact science.

    Cheers Dave

    1. popped one of mine back up the tree where it was sucessful last year. Same box so it's got a bit of comb left in there from where boyd cut them out for me after a bit of juggling on his way down the tree!