Jess and I put out a swarm trap this year. Hard to say if it will work but here are the specifics.
Swarm season in the Pacific Northwest starts in May and runs through August depending on the weather and the nectar flow. Since this is the season we figured it could not hurt to try. We used one of the swarm traps that is available from several places…we got ours from Brushy Mountain. It is made of a wood pulp type product so will wear out over time and weather. We mounted it to a piece of 2′ x 2′ plywood that I cut a handle into the top and some strap notches in the sides. The goal here is to be able to hang it from a nail (if driving a nail is appropriate) or using nylon straps to strap it around a tree trunk.
I read lots of opinions on how to place the trap, which direction to face and how high it should be off the ground. You can get frozen in the thought process….my recommendation is just pick a place and run with it. There is always next year to try a new location. I’ve also had several stories within our club, West Sound Beekeepers Association, in which a swarm decided to move into a hive that happened to be empty but still in the yard…so I think the bees pretty much figure things out on their own.
Our hive is facing south east, so the morning sun hits the entrance and it is hanging from a nail on a post about 5 feet off the ground. I did put a piece of comb on the inside so that the smell would permeate the trap.
Stay tuned, if we catch a swarm I’ll let you know.
As you can see based on the post date it is July, we actually hung the trap the first part of June, I just didn’t get around to making a post until now. As the season wears on I’m less excited about a swarm…an old poem tells the tale:
A swarm in May is worth a rick of hay.
A swarm in June, worth a silver spoon.
A swarm in July isn’t worth a fly
I think the sentiment here is the later in the season a swarm sets up shop in a new home, the less time there is for them to draw out new comb and stock pile resources for the winter. If we were to catch one now I might just combine it back into a weaker colony.