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If you have vacant hives, can you just bait them?

 
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exmar
Nurse Bee


Joined: 16 Apr 2014
Posts: 28
Location: SE Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 3:21 am    Post subject: If you have vacant hives, can you just bait them? Reply with quote

Novice here. Have one Lang hive with a very active colony. Will be placing two more tomorrow which were given to me. Just completing a TBH per instructions at this site. So, will have three vacant hives.

Have missed the "ordering season" her for packaged bees, from the information I've read, that doesn't seem to be a bad thing. "Miscellaneous queens of unknow temper," miscellaneous bees who have to be coaxed to accept the new queen, etc.

Lots of info on "trap hives," but haven't stumbled across any as vacant hives being used for that purpose. It seems to me that sitting outside near the existing hive would be better than sitting in my barn gathering dust. Rural setting, I own a farm, and I know of at least one wild colony down in the woods. Should I locate a hive(s) near there or will the scouts travel and lead the swarm 2,000 feet to the bee yard?

My "half fast" plan is to make a very creamy salve of beeswax, olive oil and lemon grass oil as a lure to be placed in the hives. i've read that keeps the lemon grass fragrance longer without replenishing.

Again, I'm a novice, any thoughts or opinions would be appreciated.

Thanks for your time,

Ev
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1051
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have nothing to lose and bees to gain, so yes, bait them!

A couple of drops (literally) of lemongrass oil in each hive is generally enough. If you can put any clea comb in as well, so much the better. You have rubbed the insides with beeswax already, or varnished them with shellac and propolis?
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trekmate
Golden Bee


Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1123
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

biobee wrote:
A couple of drops (literally) of lemongrass oil in each hive is generally enough.

If I'm not going to be near the bait hive I put around 10 drops of lemon-grass oil on a tissue, seal it in a zip-lock bag and put 2 or 3 pin holes in it. The smell will slowly permeate into the hive and last for a month or two.
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exmar
Nurse Bee


Joined: 16 Apr 2014
Posts: 28
Location: SE Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses! The two langs have been refurbished. placed on concrete block and concrete slab stands (standard in this area) and baited with the lemon oil infused tissue in a zip loc and "needled." I placed these between the hive top and cover (if that's the correct terms) thinking the oil scent would work it's way up and down to be detected by any interested bees. Any bees that respond would have to travel through the hive body and small super to get to the bait, thereby seeing what a wonderful new home awaits them. (well, it's a theory anyway. Smile )

Now that's done, can finish the TBH and get it set up.

Thanks again,

Ev
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1486
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clearly despite it being an eminent seat of learning, Cambridge bees do not read the books. So much for Prof S's work saying they like a cavity of about 40litres in size. I have a swarm that has moved into a 5 frame national nuc box (without frames). I saw them investigating about a week ago and three days ago noticed the activity had greatly increased.

Instead of lemongrass oil I rub lemon balm, melissa officianalis into the sides of the hive but the bees still chose the nuc box rather than the Warré on the same allotment site that had been set up to welcome swarms.
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There no point having an empty hive sitting there doing nothing. There are only two possible outcomes 1) you catch bees, 2) you don't catch bees. Any chance is better than no chance at all.
Just make sure you reduce the area down with followers boards a little (approx. 10-15 bars i think). Make sure there is no light coming in, so solid bottom or cover over mesh bottom. Reduce entrances to a single 7/8 - 1" so it is easily defensible. Best of luck.
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exmar
Nurse Bee


Joined: 16 Apr 2014
Posts: 28
Location: SE Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the responses.

24 hours later, just went down to see what was happening, both new hives had a few bees flitting around outside, while there "observing," noticed one or two bees entered each hive. That's more than I expected, time will tell. Don't know if they were scouts or just bees from the adjacent hive which wandered over to check out the aroma?

Ev
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exmar
Nurse Bee


Joined: 16 Apr 2014
Posts: 28
Location: SE Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, missed "biobee's" question. No, I did not rub with wax or linseed oil/wax. These were hives given to me and required a bit of cleaning, scraping, repairing and painting. As a novice, it seemed to me there would be plenty of residual wax, aroma, or whatever from the previous inhabitants? And these are langstroth hives which had previoiusly been painted white, so seemed easier to wire brush, scrape, etc. and put on a coat of exterior latex. They were given to me by a fellow who currently has about 40 lang hives and has agreed to help me learn about beekeeping. He's a little "unsure" of the TBH I was building, but was also interested in some of it's advantages.

I will finish and bait the TBH by next week!!!

Ev
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1051
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Always a good idea to scorch the inside of old equipment with a blowlamp before use, as this is the only thing (short of boiling in caustic soda) that will kill AFB spores. It also melts lumps of propolis and wax, which soak into the wood and can only improve it as a bait box.
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WileyHunter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 125
Location: Batesville, IN USA

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A great tool for scorching the boxes, those weed killer "flame throwers". You can pick them up for like $30 at Harbor Freight. Make sure you get the one with electric start and trigger which gives you a boost. They sound a bit like a hot air balloon, and are surprisingly loud (just ask my neighbors, lol!).
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exmar
Nurse Bee


Joined: 16 Apr 2014
Posts: 28
Location: SE Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, this is where a novice like me really needs the advice of those more knowldgeable. Everything I've read indicates that beeswax is very flammable, "double boiler to melt wax, have fire extinguisher handy." etc.

Now, the old hives had been stored in a barn and were very dry, there was some reisdual wax inside, add a "flame thrower" type ignition source and things wouldn't be good. I asked the guy who's helping me and he said that if he suspects "bad" things, he just burns the hive. Alternative here is to boil in lye, or send to Columbus, (State Capital) where they're irradiated, very costly in shipping and cost of the service. The hives he saves are not "suspect" and he's comfortable just cleaning frames enough to be servicable and reusing. He's been doing this for 50 years or so and I am learning a lot from him.

Maybe a more modest heat source like an electric heat gun or small propane torch with a "flame diffuser" would be appropriate. Not familiar with the term "blowlamp." "Two countries separated only by a common language?" Smile

Thanks for all the information, this forum is fantastic for helping to sort out all the information/disinformation abounding on beekeeping!

Ev
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