Every summer beek-chatter is consumed by a number of topic including: nectar flows, honey production and robbing but the most common topic is swarming – the honey bees’ natural reproductive response.
Rather than invasive management of the hives we prefer to bait all our sites with catch boxes and so far this seems to be a successful approach.
Our bait boxes are around half the size of a normal National Brood Box. When I started looking for designs I began with the 12mm Plywood Nuc by Martin Adams that can be found all over the web but ended up working to the following design by yours truly.
I like to place our boxes a few feet up in trees with a little shelter although this presents another problem – securing them. Don’t worry if you don’t have a suitable tree – beek-chatter tells me its not an essential ingredient with a good bee smell and some old comb coming out as number one.
If you are looking to mount the boxes in a tree I can suggest using cabinet mounting strip and having a plate strapped tight to the tree with the box slotted on. This makes it easier to remove when you have successfully caught a swarm. There is a good chance once your location has been selected once it will be again. The right hand bait box has caught ~5 swarms over the last two years (not all from our apiary!)