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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a Master Beekeeper! Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.


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Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Lure of Lemongrass Oil

Today I got home from the mountains to find it sunny and warm in Atlanta - perfect weather to open the hives. I opened Bermuda to find it bubbling over with bees. The brood has been mostly in the bottom box, but today they are also raising brood in the second box. They had eaten all the sugar syrup I left them last weekend. I wanted to check on the brood situation and to open up the brood space while in Bermuda. I removed several frames from the brood box and spread out the brood with an empty frame between frames 2 and 3 and another between frames 7 and 9.

I then did a powdered sugar shake - the bees grumbled in a bee-way by buzzing and flying around. You can see how much they have to clean off by looking at the bees in the above picture.
In Mellona there wasn't quite as much activity and there are fewer bees. They too had eaten all of the sugar syrup I had provided. I made some at 3 PM before going out to the hives at 4 PM. It was still warm but I put some in a Ziploc bag, laid it on the top box and slit the bag. I don't think the fact that it is still warm will be an issue. After all the bees like to be in the 90s themselves.

I noticed some drone cells being made in each of the two hives. With spring coming soon, the girls are ready for some males in the picture to mate with queens, should a hive need to make their own queen.
While working on the bee hives, I thought I might try to lure a swarm. I have an empty deep on the deck. Today I lifted out each frame and shook off a few dead roaches who had wintered there. The hive has a few frames with starter strips and mostly drawn out brood comb. There are a few plastic based foundations and some with none. I used lemongrass oil (this is an effective lure for swarms, according to Michael Bush and others on Beesource and Beemaster) and dropped about 10 drops on the center 5 frames. For good measure I put a few drops at the entrance as well.

Swarm season will be on us in March so I want my bee hive to be an appealing place, should a swarm come along. I love it that on the bottle of lemongrass oil, there is the word: INSPIRING. Let's hope the oil draws a swarm and INSPIRES it to live on my deck!

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6 comments:

  1. Hi Linda.
    You can make a soft cream by melting a quantity of wax with (olive) oil or Vaseline and add the lemongrass oil. By doing this you have a slower vaporization of the oil and longer effect. Put some on the frames, under the top cover and on the entrance. Good luck!

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  2. Thank you, Beehappy, for keeping up with my bee efforts all the way from Greece - I'll try the cream approach and write about it here. I'm always sad to sprinkle that oil, knowing that it won't last very long before needing to be replenished. Thanks so much! Linda T

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  3. Hi;

    Don't wait swarm. If you want, we send you colonies from Turkey...

    A suggestion for swarm capture..

    Put old frame into the hive...

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  4. HalilBilen,
    You are so sweet - first you offer me a queen for my dead one back in January and now you are offering Turkish bee colonies. What a generous man you are! I do have old frames in the hive box that is set up as a swarm lure, so maybe that will help.

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  5. The Kennedys Five8:38 PM

    Thanks for sharing all your ideas with us! Your site has been such a help to us as we begin our bee-keeping venture. Tried this lure idea tonight. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Linda I also use a bee lure here in South Africa, I live on the west coast near Cape town my mix is as follows melted bees wax olive oil lemon grass oil and wheat germ oil. regards carl

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