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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

Even if you find one post on the subject, I've posted a lot on basic beekeeping skills like installing bees, harvesting honey, inspecting the hive, etc. so be sure to search for more once you've found a topic of interest to you. And watch the useful videos and slide shows on the sidebar. All of them have captions. Please share posts of interest via Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

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.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Monday, March 18, 2024

Beekeeping Tips for Spring: Making and Using Swarm Lure

 We appear to have begun an enthusiastic and intense swarm season in Atlanta. In most of the country, this month or in the next couple of months, swarm season will begin. 

I've been posting some videos on my YouTube channel that might be helpful in getting ready for spring.

One of the best ways to get free bees is to bait an old hive with swarm lure. Every year hives are driven to swarm because it is the evolutionary push for the beehive as an organism to split into two hives. Previous to swarming (when the old queen will leave with about half the hive - taking 75% bees under two weeks old) scout bees look for a new home. 

It's just like when humans move. When I moved during the pandemic, I looked at lots of houses that were for sale before I found the house I moved into in 2021. Bees are just the same. They send out scouts to find the right sized place for the swarm to move into and start a new life. 

Every year, old equipment in my yard is scouted by bees looking for a new home. And almost 100% of the years, bees move into the old equipment. Truly these are free bees. I didn't lift a finger to help. Just provided the empty space. 

I have a large top bar hive that was in my daughter's yard, empty of bees. They swarmed several times last year and failed to make a new queen and dwindled away. I moved it into my yard into a great sunny place and as soon as any semblance of warm weather began in Atlanta, the scouts began to visit. Last Tuesday (March 12) a swarm moved into the top bar with no effort from me. 

If you want to up the chances of a swarm moving into old equipment, then bait your hive with swarm lure. Here is a video I posted on YouTube last week of how to do just that - make your own very effective swarm lure. 

You use the swarm lure by smearing it not too lavishly on your old equipment. I typically put it around the inner cover, on the upper edge of the hive entrance, and on the top of a couple of frames in the top box. Here's a video on how/where to apply the swarm lure:


I've posted on this before but thought it would be a good idea to refresh your knowledge and put this right in front of you.

Good luck and I hope that everyone who reads this gets some free bees! 
Note: If you do, leave me a comment either here on the blog or on YouTube. 

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