Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Checking the Swarm Traps

This time of year I have to check the swarm traps I have out for the bee swarms about every two to three days it seems. Swarms will not really try and take over their new homes from other critters or so I have read and observed myself. Right now is also the massive ant colonization movement time and those pests LOVE to take over my swarm traps.

I know for a fact I have already lost one swarm this year due to the ants moving in faster than the swarm could make up it's collective mind to do so. The bees had built themselves up to some serious scout numbers in that trap and then the ants just took it over until the bees had to go somewhere else. It doesn't take the ants long to take over a trap either, sometimes doing so in less than a day.

The truth is swarm traps always catch something but rarely is it a swarm truth be told. On Sunday I checked the trap that was hanging where I caught the swarm last Thursday. I replaced that trap Friday afternoon with my extra trap and by Sunday it was totally over run with ants. The traps that are in serious ant geography I could really clean out every day I think but it's the other traps that seem to be outside the ant zones that hold the real surprises.

One trap location that managed to pull in two swarms last year has not shown one bit of activity for the last week or so which is very odd. When I pulled it down it had two wasps nests started in it and the largest spider I have ever seen around here. It had to be a wolf spider since it wasn't a tarantula but I have never seen a wolf spider that big before. My guess is it had been preying on the bees when they went to check out that particular trap.

So far this season I have found a small green tree snake, a pair of flying squirrels and a tiny bird in my traps when I go to clean them out. Needless to say I been putting on my bee suit whenever I open a trap just in case.

If a trap is drawing in scout bees I usually leave it alone because cleaning it out would more than likely remove it from their collective home choice anyway so it is best to assume it is ok for their needs right then and there. This year however I think the swarms have a good selection of hive locations to choose from as my traps do not seem to be getting anywhere near the attention they got last year.

Oh well I pretty much expected that turn of events. I imagine I will have more luck the longer the swarm season goes however as the choice locations are taken over.

We will see.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!

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