Beekeeping Techniques

Swarm Trap Placement       

Where to Place Swarm Traps

It’s now almost Spring and time to set out some swarm traps. There’s nothing like Free Bees!

Most swarming occurs in the months of May and June, but swarming can start much earlier, especially in the Southern states.

Here in Georgia, I like to have all my swarm traps in place by the middle of March.

In fact, I already caught a swarm in the last week of February.

I use one thick nail to attach the swarm trap.

Most of my traps are corrugated plastic, so they don’t weigh too much.

Many experts say that a swarm trap should be anywhere from 12 – 15 feet off the ground.

I believe if you make the trap attractive enough for the bees they will find it.

In the past couple of years I’ve caught a couple swarms on the ground – one in a nuc box under an overhang and another one in an empty hive box where the bees had absconded the previous season.

With that being said, I place mine at least 6 feet off the ground. That’s comfortable for me.

One of the members of my local bee club broke a leg, because he fell off a ladder when retrieving a swarm trap that was too high up. Lesson learned.

So, I put the nail in the tree about 6-7 feet up.

Swarm Trap Location Ideas

Here are some ideal location ideas for setting swarm traps:

  • Best to place swarm traps in full or partial sunlight.
  • Place swarm traps at least 100 feet from any of your beehives.
  • Orient the swarm trap toward a south or southeast direction.
  • Locate near a source of water, such as a creek, pond, lake or river (within 100 feet is best).
  • Set the trap at least 6 ft off the ground.
  • Position along a tree line for a wind break.

And if you saw my previous video, by putting a hole in the board, it’s easy to place and more importantly, it’s easy to retrieve when a swarm arrives.

FAQ

How far apart should swarm traps be?

  • Most beekeepers recommend around 50-100 yards apart.

What is the best swarm trap orientation?

  • Ideally, the swarm trap should face a southerly direction.

How often should I check my swarm traps?

  • About once a week is usually adequate to check your swarm traps. There’s no urgency to move the swarm trap, because once the bees start to raise brood, they typically remain put.

Where is the best place to put a swarm trap?

  • Trees along the edge of roads and woods are ideal spots for locating swarm traps. Make sure there is a source of water nearby.

How do you hang a swarm trap?

  • You may either put a nail or screw into a tree or building or use a ratchet strap. The fixture should be strong enough to hold a trap full of bees (sometimes up to 30,000).

How long does it take for bees to find a swarm trap?

  • When a hive decides to swarm, the first step is to send our scout bees, looking for a suitable location for the new hive. After scouting a good location, it might take up to 5 days for the swarm to move in.

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