2 May 2017

Success with a bait hive.

Beginners luck you might say. It was exhilerating to find a swarm this afternoon having deployed the empty box just this morning.
Scout  bees were seen to be entering almost immediately my work was done, hoisting the box up  into a tree, about fifteen feet off the ground.
I plan to leave them undisturbed for a few days before removing to a more permanant location about two miles away.

A few drops of lure scent was used at the entrance holes. The first fine day for a week and after some heavy overnight rainfall. A time when nectar flow will likely be very good. I had heard that swarming has begun quite early this year, so chose to make haste and was well rewarded. We have a small commercial apiary in the grounds of Powderham Castle about half a mile away. Whether this swarm sprang from there or was from a feral colony we may never know.

A version of my horizontal top bar hive containing twelve hooped bars of standard width.

Well secured to the tree

By late afternoon a full swarm had entered inside. 

Three weeks later and another swarm is bagged from the same tree. Roughly the size of a rugby ball and installed into one end of a top bar hive that already has a small colony at the other end. Separated by two queen excluders and eight empty bars.
If Phil Chandlers suggestion for combining two swarms in the one top bar hive works, I shall be quite delighted, but first they the have to go through the tricky stage of getting to know one another through a barrier of paper separator.

The transfer is made without too much disturbance of the hanging cluster of bees by use of the battens as described in my later post.

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