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Thread: Swarm trap

  1. #1

    Default Swarm trap

    AS sold by Thornes, to prevent a swarm leaving the hive.
    The instructions say to close outer door before 10am and open after 3pm, but the design of the trap is such that drones can exit but not return into the hive, so are stuck in the trap overnight, and if cold and wet would be dead or nearly so in the morning.
    Would it not be better to remove the whole trap overnight?
    or is there a better design?
    Phil

  2. #2
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    There was a similar device called "The Brice Swarm Catcher" from the 40's. (No I'm not that old - I think it was in a book by Herrod-Hemsall). As you need to play with the trap each day in any case, by the time you have opened and closed it each day you might as well just inspect the colony weekly and save your money!
    A clipped wing of the queen can also be useful.
    These are not common as far as I am aware - of you get one, let us know how it works!

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam View Post
    There was a similar device called "The Brice Swarm Catcher" from the 40's. (No I'm not that old - I think it was in a book by Herrod-Hemsall). As you need to play with the trap each day in any case, by the time you have opened and closed it each day you might as well just inspect the colony weekly and save your money!
    A clipped wing of the queen can also be useful.
    These are not common as far as I am aware - of you get one, let us know how it works!
    I agree 100% with what you say about weekly inspections, but somewhere between the beekeeper who has a hive at the bottom of the garden and hopes to take honey off in the autumn, and the experienced beekeeper who has read all the books, some good some bad, then the all the courses, some good some bad, and has learnt in the school of hard knocks, is the beekeeper who has a demanding job, is a family man, and on the weekend that he should be doing an inspection has to go away for a family meeting. I think the swarm trap might be a suitable piece of kit for that sort of person.
    For myself, I have 2 confessions. One is that I now have a bee shed, and having been jealous in the early morning of the bumbles who were out working, my bee shed bees are now also out and about, while my others are still thinking of getting up! So they are much more active, and I don’t think the books were written for bees in bee sheds, I don’t trust myself not to miss a queen cell amongst the mass of bees, and being a belt and braces man would be happy to have a swarm trap on the entrances. My 2nd confession is that I’m a retired research scientist, so when I read the catalogue and see a swarm trap, I am intrigued about them and wonder how they work.
    But I am not happy with something that allows the drones out in the morning, but that doesn’t let them back into the hive. I have at times used starter strips, and am surprised at the number of drone cells that are drawn out, and I think drones have a more important part to play in the economy of the hive than is usually accepted.
    Hence my post to see what others thought about the swarm trap.

  4. #4

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    Can you provide an entrance into the super above the queen excluder? This would allow the drones to return to the hive, just not into the brood chamber.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    I understand your thoughts about understanding how the thing works. Maybe an improvement could be to have a 2 part device or another 'door' in it, so that drones could be allowed back in later in the day. Or a sort of porter "inscape" , just for drones perhaps? Something I saw at a loacl auction a few years back (and should have bought) was a hive entrance where you could put in some hanging strips of something so bees could go in, but could not escape. It was used to gather up bees before a pesticide spray, so they were safe inside the hive....

  6. #6
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janeoh View Post
    Can you provide an entrance into the super above the queen excluder? This would allow the drones to return to the hive, just not into the brood chamber.
    Not sure of you'd want drones in the supers as they might not clear through a bee escape and get stuck. If they do get into supers, you often find them dead having tried to get through the queen excluder.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Moss View Post
    I agree 100% with what you say about weekly inspections, but somewhere between the beekeeper who has a hive at the bottom of the garden and hopes to take honey off in the autumn, and the experienced beekeeper who has read all the books, some good some bad, then the all the courses, some good some bad, and has learnt in the school of hard knocks, is the beekeeper who has a demanding job, is a family man, and on the weekend that he should be doing an inspection has to go away for a family meeting. I think the swarm trap might be a suitable piece of kit for that sort of person.
    Hi all I’m very late to the forum this year.
    A Queen excluder under the brood box is much cheaper than a swarm trap and the drones will just have too cross their legs for a few days until the beekeeper has time to sort something out! Don’t find too many drones stuck in the Q EX. (I’m standing by for the brickbats)
    Last edited by lindsay s; 29-06-2020 at 01:55 PM.

  8. #8

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    Hi Adam, I did invest in that device, however my bees worked out that you could lift the plastic curtain and squeeze out. It may work in some circumstances? I think my bees may be geniuses though!

  9. #9

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    I now have 3 home made swarm traps! Once a research scientist, always one!
    Having removed them (unscrewed them) late afternoon and replaced them mid morning, I now have one with loose pin hinges, so I can remove the outer QE and take out one hinge pin and swing the whole caboodle to one side. the bees soon adapted to it, and those in the trap soon realised they were 'free'. Another has a standard hinge on one side, and a toggle to fix it 'shut' on the other, much more fiddly to make, and perhaps not an advantage.
    I think loose pin hinges both sides are best, as then the whole trap can be easily removed and replaced.
    I have only put a QE under the brood box when housing a swarm, remove it when comb drawn out and eggs laid. otherwise too many disadvantages.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Moss View Post
    I now have 3 home made swarm traps! Once a research scientist, always one!
    Having removed them (unscrewed them) late afternoon and replaced them mid morning, I now have one with loose pin hinges, so I can remove the outer QE and take out one hinge pin and swing the whole caboodle to one side. the bees soon adapted to it, and those in the trap soon realised they were 'free'. Another has a standard hinge on one side, and a toggle to fix it 'shut' on the other, much more fiddly to make, and perhaps not an advantage.
    I think loose pin hinges both sides are best, as then the whole trap can be easily removed and replaced.
    I have only put a QE under the brood box when housing a swarm, remove it when comb drawn out and eggs laid. otherwise too many disadvantages.
    Definitely loose pin hinges both sides, as if you catch a swarm you will want to remove trap and swarm to a hive to house it.

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