Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bee Yard Layouts (Tip)




   If you are raising your own queen bees then you know how important it is to have good drone stock in range. Or maybe your planning to setup more yards this year. In this article I want to share a tip on laying out your yards. Bees fly roughly 2 miles from the hive and with this knowledge I took it a step farther. Just to make sure my bees were able to reach each other from different yards.

In order to follow these steps I am about to share with you. The following will be needed.

1. A county map ( Of  your bee yard county)
2. Translucent Plastic Folders
3. Thumb Tacs
4. Drawing Compass
5. Scissors
 
   Now on your county map look for the "Scale Information". This area is usually located in one of the corners of the map. You are looking to see how big 2 miles is on your map. For instance on my map 2 inchs is 2 miles. So with that information I can now set my drawing compass and begin preparing my circles.






Now as you have probably noticed I suggested Translucent Plastic Folders for this project. This is just what I could find that had color. The color stands out more than just clear sheets. So I cut the folders into sheets. Then using the compass I set with my map scale. I draw a circle for each of my bee yards on the translucent sheets. Then using the scissors I cut them out.


After finding your bee yards on your map. Place the circle over your yard. Usually the drawing compass leaves a hole in the middle of your circle. This hole will mark your bee yard. This is where I used thumb tacs but then I realize not everyone has there county maps on the wall. So in this case I suggest clear box tape. Though this would be a permanet solution.




We have finished laying out our yards. Now look how easy it is to see where your bees can reach from their hives. You can now see which hives are linked together and which ones do not reach one another. It helps to know where your bees can fly. Not only for breeding reasons but for foraging too. Now you can see if they are reaching that field of sweet clover or whatever it may be.












Friday, March 8, 2013

Swarm Trapping



As each year passes I try to grow my apiary. A real simple way to do this is swarm removal but there is another way to catch swarms without even being there. Swarm traps, These traps are usually baited with old brood comb,  lemon-grass essential oil, and maybe even queen lure.  I personally use all of these ingredients with my traps.

  Once a colony decides it's going to prepare to swarm. Scout bees begin looking for a new cavity to move into. A baited trap can lure many scout to it to check out the environment. If all of her needs are met then she will return home to tell the colony about the find. They will look for a few key features in a new home.


1. Trap to be of at least 40 liter (10 frame deep)
2. A 1" entrance hole
3. 6 to 10 feet off ground
4. Baited with Old brood comb, Lemongrass oil, Queen lure


  Some people choose to use a container that is easier to maneuver over a deep box. There are a few options available on today market.  After all it can be a little tricky to get a 10 frame deep 6 to 10 foot off the ground and secure it to a tree. I started using a 10 frame boxes and they worked so I have just stuck with them.

 Another important key in swarm trapping is the location of the trap. A honeybee uses landmarks to identify their location. Try to stay with in these guide lines. Think like a bee, what would stand out as a reference point to you? This is where you place your traps.

1. Edge of pastures
2. Along water ways
3. Tree lines
4. Fence rows
5. Near bee trees (Feral colony)

  Don't be a afraid to experiment with different location. You will learn hot spots. For instant I set traps last year not knowing if I would catch any swarms. Within a month after setting them I had caught a huge swarm. I transported the swarm to a new location. I had reset the trap and within 2 weeks had small capture. Probably from a different colony or maybe a after swarm. But either way I consider this to be a successful location and will try it again this year.

Swarm Trap Setup Tutorial


Make your own Swarm  Lure


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