Getting honey from your Honey Cow requires you to have bees in your hive. Using a “bait hive” and some “bee lure”, we will “fish” for a swarm of bees to fill our Honey Cow.
Bees tend to swarm during the big nectar flows in late spring, early summer. You should have your bait hives set up well ahead of time. In some areas, people are able to catch a few swarms per year. It helps to have more than one bait hive to increase your chances. These simple hives provide an attractive home for the new swarm.
The simple bait hive we describe here is designed to fit with a Honey Cow hive. The top bars are interchangeable, so moving your new bees to the Honey Cow is quick and easy. Like with fishing, you must be patient and wait. Before you know it, you’ll have happy bees ready to join your family.
1X10 by 8 ft non treated lumber (cedar or pine work well)
24 X 1 1/2” wood screws
10 X 3/4” wood screws
A bit of white paint
Boiled Linseed Oil or natural wood preservative (optional)
2 X 11” by 3” pieces of sheet metal
1” cube of Beeswax
1/4 cup olive oil
Lemongrass Oil (100% natural/organic)
1/4” drill bit
3/4” drill bit
Wood rasp/ file
Fluorescent Marker (Yellow Highlighter)
Small glass jar and lid
Setting up your bait hive is the most important step. Experience shows us that you can improve your chances of catching a swarm if you do the following:
Situate a hive in a good bee location, one that has water, plenty of flowers, and is not disturbed by humans.
Place the hive between 8 and 15 feet high. Putting the hive in a tree or on a roof works well.
The hive should not be in full, direct sunlight, but a bit of broken shade works well.
Face the entrance of the hive towards the sun, being South in the Northern Hemisphere, and North in the Southern Hemisphere.
If you have a bit of old brood comb, it is good to place this in your bait hive as well.
Increase your chances of catching a swarm by making several bait hives, and placing them around your area.
Once you set your hive, leave it alone for 2-3 weeks. When you go check on your hive, just look at it from a distance, try not to handle it very much. You can add more bee lure every once in a while, like every month or so.
If you’re lucky, one day you will check on your hive and you will see bees flying in and out of the entrance. Leave the hive for another week, and then visit it after sundown. No bees should be leaving the hive at this time of the day. It is important to wear protective clothing while handling and transferring the hive.