This is a journal I will be keeping to document my experiences, both successful and unsuccessful, in beekeeping. This will be my first year, 2011, keeping bees. We'll see how it goes. I will be keeping bees naturally, letting them build on foundationless frames, and without medication. This is also my first blog I have ever done and I am by no means a journalist or English major. So, if you see grammatical errors of any and all kinds don't be surprised. The looks of things on the blog will probably change several times before I come up with something that I like.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Swarm Traps are Built

While I don't have much to do, (as far as beekeeping goes) waiting on spring to get here.  I decided to try and build some swarm traps to put out this spring.  This will give me some extra bees if the opportunity presents itself.  And it is an opportunity to do some more woodworking.  Which I love to do.

I search the net trying to find some plans for the traps.  I found several styles including the five gallon bucket style, the concrete form tube style, and many others.  As I said earlier, I like to work with wood so I wanted a style that you could build out of wood. 

I found what I was looking for on Rob Overtons site.  By the way, he has a great site for beekeeping stuff.  With his trap, all that needed is:
  • 2 4x8x3/8" plywood
  • 1 4x8x1/4" Luan
  • glue
  • nails
  • corrugated plastic signs  (politcal signs)

This is the all the plywood and Luan after all the cuts had been made.  The left stack is the tops.  Middle stack is the sides.  And the right stack is the front and backs.  The bottoms are made from corrugated plastic. (like the political sign)  These can be picked up free during certain times of certain years.  I have a brother in law and cousin who works with a wholesale tobacco company and was able to get some tobacco advertising signs (which are the exact same thing) that they were going to throw away.

My little helper always pitching in a hand. 

This picture is showing how you would actually remove the top cover to access the swarm inside.  I used staples here so the top could be removed easily with a hive tool.
The completed traps.  The top left one has already been painted.  I just spray painted it with some black and green that I had laying around.  I don't want them to be noticeable when they are actually up in a tree.  You know how teenagers can be so mischievous. 

These plans will make a total of 15 traps.  I suppose I'll have to make a list of where all these traps get installed so as not to lose them.  I have what I call "some-timers" and will likely forget where I put some of them.

Total spent on the plywood and Luan was about $33.00 + tax.  I already had the glue and nails.  So these traps were built for around $2.20 a piece.  Not bad considering the fiber swarm traps you can buy from the catalogs are in the $20-$30 range, each.  The traps I built will hold the frames in them too.  So all you would have to do is remove the frames and place them in the hive if they started building comb before you could get to taking them down. 

I asked a couple of questions on Beemaster concerning the lure to attract swarms.  What I have decided to do is to dab some lemongrass oil on a ball of cotton and place it in a pill bottle.  The lid of the bottle will have some very small holes drilled in the top.  This will be attached to the trap somehow. 

Here is the album of the pictures taken while building these traps. 
Building the Swarm Traps
If I was to do this over again I would probably use a thicker plywood.  Say around 1/2" or so.  The reason being is that several times, when nailing  the sides and front together, the nail would come out the side because the plywood was so thin.  That may could have been remedied by predrilling each hole, but these are just swarm traps, I wasn't building a piano.  It's not likely that the bees will care either.


  1. this was a timely post. I am getting ready for my first shot at swarm traps. will be checking out these links as well. thanks!

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  3. I use a recipe from Linda Tillman for my swarm lure. Melt 1" x 1" chunk of beeswax (~1/2 oz) with 1/2 cup olive oil and 15-20 drops of lemongrass oil. Then pour it into a small jar and let it harden. It will be the consistency of shoe polish paste. I then use my finger and smear some on the frame tops. By mixing it with the beeswax, the evaporation is slowed down and it lasts longer. Keep it in a jar with a lid and it will last for years.


  4. Luddite, no problem, they are some great resources. Good luck.
    Rob, Thanks for the recipe. I must have missed that on her site.

  5. Hi, just curious if you had any success with your swarm traps you built.


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