Swarm Trap Hive in the Apiary
Yesterday was a gorgeous day in terms of sun and warmth, this in mid May, expect there to be #swarm activity.
When thinking about honey bee swarms it is all too easy to overlook your existing colonies, they will swarm too, even when managed some do slip out.
This year I thought that should any of my own bee colonies swarm and seek out a new home, I would lay on a the equivalent of a five star hotel close by.
The hive is brand new, from the ground up to the roof, it also has been populated with heavily waxed foundation, however!
It is made entirely from plastic, even the foundation (Pre made honeycomb base that gives the #bees a real head start).
This year I am trialling twin wall plastic beehives, why you may ask?
Well to be honest the bees do not care as long as the space they occupy is safe, dry, can be defended easily, not susceptible to rodents and other critters, to keep them happy the space must also be as easy to temperature regulate as possible! If the colony are spending a lot of time, therefore expending a lot of energy, heating or cooling the space, they are using more stored food than a colony is a space that is easier to regulate.
Note it has three entrances, yes three! Two at the bottom, a great feature as one entrance can be closed for new colonies making it easier to defend against other colonies, when the colony is up to full strength the 2nd entrance can be opened.
Additionally their is a third entrance, it is not too visible but it is actually fitted to the queen excluder (Half way up the green boxes, the white strip/divider on the right hand side), this is a filter that fits between the brood box (The box at the bottom where the honey bee brood are housed) and the super (The box on top of the brood box that is used to store food).
The queen excluder does just that, allows smaller worker bees through but not the larger queen, so the queen is restricted to the brood box and does not lay eggs in the honey stores.
The third entrance is used at peak flow in summer, it allows workers to go straight to the honey store rather than traverse to the store via the brood chamber. I will not have it open in autumn or early spring.
Another great design feature of this hive is that the mouse guards are incorporated in the entrance, which can be closed entirely for transportation, if needed.
The plastic hive is twin walled so insulated in winter and insulated against the sun in the summer, let’s see how the honey bees get on.
I have ten of these ready to go, last year I built the hive as I caught a swarm (The swarm was temporarily home in the collection box), this year I aim to be ahead of the rush.
Hope you enjoy the ramblings, picture and video, I will be posting details for each swarm collection this year, but if you want to see something particular or have honey bee questions, please do get in touch.