Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Survival Bee Keeping - Scouting for Bees part II

Since I kinda got off on a  tangent with part one of this topic the other day I thought before I go on to actually catching swarms I should finish hashing the scouting part out a bit.

I really only covered one way of finding out if there are honey bees in your area this time of year and it was by cutting trees and seeing if any show up. This time of year they don't have a lot to forage on and inevitably if there is a hive close and you are sawing up wood you will get some foragers coming in to steal some sap.

However there are other ways to scout an area for honey bees. The Kimber-troll suggested covering yourself with honey and running naked through the woods. Believe it or not that would actually work, although this time of year it might be a bit cold and muddy on the bare feet. Allowing a bit of honey to sit open on a nice 60 degree or warmer day will bring in honey bees if there are any around.

A shallow bowl of honey is also used when you are "Bee Lining" a feral colony. By letting the bees come and get some honey then watching which direction they fly off to you can walk in that general direction and will eventually find the hive. It takes a while though.

Other methods are to watch outside trash cans, especially those at large businesses where the employees take breaks outside. They will throw away half cans of soda and the honey bees will come and forage there during warm days when nothing else is blooming. Compost piles believe it or not will attract honey bees in Winter especially if there are fruit remains thrown out in them.

Around here one of the earliest blooming wild flowers is Henbit and Deadnettle. It is not uncommon to see large patches of them even in early March some years. These blooms come out long before the bees have built up enough or produced drones enough to think about swarming so if you see bees working them you know it would be a good place to set up a trap.

Whenever someone gives me permission to put up a trap on their property I will walk around a bit and observe or use some open honey just to see if foragers show up. Bees will typically like to move a good distance from the parent hive when settling in to a new home so you don't want your trap too close.

Next up I will show the various types of traps I use and how I bait them to be more attractive to a honey bee swarm.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!


  1. thanks for this. totally got the first steps. do you recommend that we start putting fruit scraps in a pile halfway down the river road from the house? and see if we can attract wild bees that way? also - do you have an opinion on crocuses? we are thinking about getting 100 crocus bulbs for a really great deal and planting them in little groups all around the perimeter of our cleared yard and house area. we can get them for a really good deal and they will bloom in march even if they are covered in snow.

    can't wait for the next installation on trapping wild bees. glad that you got JUGM and Sandy back to work with the tractors! (for anyone who doesn't know what i am talking about - check out PP's previous post " Tractor Time".

    where he keeps getting pics of Sandy and JUGM - i don't know!)

    much love buddy! your friend,

    1. Sweet Kymber,

      I'm not sure where PP is getting those pictures either, lol.....

    2. The tractor post from yesterday had two blondes though. I am confused over which of you is blond and which not at this point. Some type of chameleon thing is going on here.

  2. Preppy - Do have any idea of how many feral bee colonies you can find in a year, or more appropriately, how many you would like to find?

    1. TB - I currently know of about four feral colonies around my area. I am sure there are many more on private property I don't know about though. I personally like the feral colonies around because it is a never ending supply of swarms come Spring.


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