Thursday, June 6, 2013
No report on kitten taming today because I have been way too busy implementing my new anti-Ant and swarm capturing tactics.
Yes my super secret ant weapon came in today in the form of a couple of tubs of Tanglefoot which is some kind of sticky grease-like paste that ants apparently hate. I immediately took this stuff out and removed the swarm trap in the back yard which was full of ants of course and replaced it with my extra trap only this time I applied a band of this tanglefoot around the support hanger. After a couple of hours I went to check and noticed a couple of bees looking the trap over and a couple of hundred ants blocked by the tanglefoot trying to figure a way across it.
Take that you stupid ants......
Swarm season is rapidly coming to a close. While I have made splits and captured swarms as late as July that managed to build up and survive Winter the later it gets into Spring and Summer the less likely their chances are. I usually take my traps down the first part of July but so far this year I have only captured one respectable sized swarm and two little ones.
I have been operating on a theory that the bees out here have plenty of deadout cavities to choose from and my traps have been snubbed. Each day I check my Northern traps twice and there are always plenty of bees checking them out but nothing has moved in yet. As I mentioned I kinda thought maybe the city bees survived the drought and Winter better and that is why I have managed to catch two swarms at our property in town.
This morning another possibility crept into my thinking. Perhaps the real problem isn't a glut of housing inventory but a reduction in swarm size making my normal large boxes too much real estate for the swarms that are checking them out. That would also explain why my little breeding nucs are catching the swarms despite where they are placed because they are roughly half the size (or less) than my traps.
So I designed a stand I can place over a standard metal fence post and then bungee cord a nuc on top of it. While I cannot get to the theoretical optimum height of a trap this way it at least is a shot and a good way to put smaller traps out without attaching hangers and the like. Plus the tanglefoot is easy to apply to the fencepost to keep the ants out.
The two swarms I have captured in town has had the nuc box simply setting on an old cherry stump about three feet or so off the ground.
So today has been a tactic change day. We will see how it works. All my Northern traps are full of scout bees every day but something is keeping them from making the move for the swarms to occupy the traps. At this point I am just fishing in the dark and trying out anything I can think of. Not a one of my own hives has even acted like it wants to swarm yet this year.
If I haven't caught at least another three swarms by the end of June I will have to order some Northern queens (Iowa or Nebraska) and plan on making some splits and feeding them all Winter.
It's always something....
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!