How 4 months ago
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How to Attract Bees to a Bee Box

In most regions of the United States, swarm season coincides with spring, and the best time to set up your bait box is towards the beginning when bees are beginning to swarm and search for new homes.



Get your bait box ready at the beginning of swarm season.

In most regions of the United States, swarm season coincides with spring, and the best time to set up your bait box is towards the beginning when bees are beginning to swarm and search for new homes.



Use a sturdy box with a cavity 40 liters (or 1.4 feet) by volume.

Swarms usually will not choose boxes with cavities any smaller than this, but will sometimes accept a larger box. There’s no need to design a box that exceeds 100 liters.



Create a circular entrance near the floor of the hive, cut 1.25 inches in diameter.

The entrance should be able 2 square inches by area.



Include an old frame from a healthy have.

Bees love to live in places where other bees have successfully lived before. One danger of using an old frame is the potential of wax moths. The frame can be protected by applying a product known as B401 (also called BT or Bacillus Thuringiensis), which kills wax moth larvae as they try to feed on the frames or combs.



Make sure the upper part of the bait box is snug and dry.

Seal any cracks that could allow sunlight or water to enter the box.



Use a swarm lure to attract scouts to investigate your box.

Swarm lures are concoctions designed to attract a swarm by enticing the bees with odors that are pleasing to them or mimic their natural communication scents.



Place the bait box near an established feral hive.

Swarming occurs when a large hive divides its population, so if you can find a location near an existing, healthy hive, you’ll be more likely to attract scout bees.



Choose a well-shaded area that is easily visible.

Bait boxes left in direct sunlight will usually be abandoned. Pick a location that’s easily visible both to make it easier for scouts to notice and to make it easier for you to monitor.



Position the box several feet above the ground.

This helps keep the box dry, visible, and away from pests and robbers. Some sources recommend keeping the box 15 feet above the ground, but you can place it lower as long as you keep it elevated, dry, and somewhere you can easily inspect and retrieve it.



Carefully position the box in a way that makes it easy to retrieve later.

If you’re placing it on top of a stand or attaching it to a tree, attach it firmly enough not to move, but able to be easily removed later. If you choose to place the box in a tree, be careful handling the box especially if you’re using a ladder, as the box can be awkward to work with.



Look for flight around the entrance to the box.

This is an indicator that bees are either scouting your bee box or have settled in. If you don’t see any bees carrying pollen, give the box a few more days to allow time to see if a swarm has moved in.



Let the bees get settled in the box before moving them.

It takes a few days after the initial scouts arrive for the entire swarm to move in, and several more days for the swarm to get fully settled. Avoid moving the bait box too early, which could cause the bees to abandon the box and search for a home elsewhere.



After bees have settled in, transfer them to a permanent hive.

This should be done early in the season so the colony has time to store pollen and honey for winter.

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