With the beautiful weather around, Caitlin and I think it might be worth while trying to catch a spring swarm in our fourth, currently unused hive parts.
Whenever bees swarm, they're splitting their population to find a new home for the departing collective to start up a new colony. They're basically just looking for ideal condition suited to their grown and development. It stands to reason that an unoccupied wooden bee hive should be just that!
From what I can research, traps and just need a couple things. There seems to be a real desire to want to place them high, something we're not looking to do. But, we can do some other things to help swarming colonies find our space:
- ideally, fully combed frames
- at least one frame of dark comb
- applying a few drops of lemongrass essential oil into the box
- wax and propolis scent
It's a total gamble, but we've got nothing to lose by putting it out. Worst case scenario, the hive goes unused and is availabe if we find we need to do an emergency split. Best case scenario, we gain a fourth hive for free that we can use to improve the overall success of our apiary!
We'll likely put that out during the long, Memorial Day weekend and keep it through to July 4. Whatever happens, happens. But we're feeling lucky.