Friday, June 14, 2013

FREE-BEES....bee ready!

it's SWARM SEASON - it's your chance for FREE-BEES!

ok - a CHALLENGE for you - fellow beekeepers...have you made yourself a SWARM CATCHING BOX?  The one previous to this one (shown) - I made from a nice heavy duty PRINTER BOX.  (and it's served it's days well...but I've been THINKING about "improvements" every time I've used it.)

Now - some beekeepers might pull-up with an open bed truck...and just catch the swarm directly into a prepared 10 frame hive (with the bottom board probably NAILED in place - for non-slippage).  and this method is perfectly fine for those with TRUCKS :)

However - I find that I like a little more ENCLOSURE of the bees - when I have to use the CAR.

My preferred box is a nice big - heavy walled kind...WITH A LID.  even if it's without LID - you could use a SHEET too.  I make my "catch" into this box and make a quick get-away home to HIVE THEM FOR REAL.  I guess we could call this the TWO SHAKE method :).

My previous box was big enough to catch the swarm WITH or WITHOUT a 10-frame box inside.  Yes - I could set a 10 frame deep inside (with frames)...but I found that this SLID AROUND in there and would crush bees. It also made it pretty HEAVY.  Heavy is fine on the ground...but balancing on a ladder?  In doing a couple catches with or without frames inside - I decided that I think the bees DO LIKE something to hang onto.  With the frames inside (either drawn out or not - doesn't matter) bees CLING to the frames.  Without the frames - they're pouring up the sides of the box.

So - the DESIGN changes I made in my new box.  First off - I built this one from scratch - from a product I have at work called COROPLAST - (corrogated plastic) I could get the dimensions I wanted inside to HANG THE FRAMES.  I used the thicker 1/4"...which I believe you can purchase something similar at a Menards/Fleet Farm as a 4 x 8 sheet (1 sheet is enough for your box and lid). A VELCRO lid - easier to get on quick without crushing bees.  An optional use VELCRO TRAP DOOR with ramp on the bottom for bees to march in from ground level.  A securable/expandable area inside to hang frames from, and ventilation in the cover.  Besides the one sheet of coroplast, I used duct tape, a very sticky double sided tape, a utility knife, straight edge, measuring tape, and adhesive velcro hook & loop and some window screen.  No nails or glue or power equipment required.  A HINT if you're working with a product like coroplast.  "score and bend".  When you make the main box bends from base to walls - don't cut all the way through - score and bend it.  Jot down your measurements and make yourself a small scale prototype on you know where to cut and where to score/bend.

You could mess around with the dimensions.  This box is big enough for a LARGE swarm....looking at it in it's DONE could have been less than 31.5" long.

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