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Old Speckled Hen

More hives or fewer?

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Send some my way for my 1st hive! I have a secondhand national hive that needs occupying, planning to put some empty frames in the brood box once I've assembled them, and bait them with pheremones. I'm planning to do 'natural-ish beekeeping' so I'll let the bees decide what size they want their brood comb. I'm assuming it doesn't matter about cell size for the supers and the seller gave me supers frames with foundation - the wire is rusty in places though - will the bees mind that?

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If you are going foundation-less the bees need some sort of guide so that you don't get comb all over the place. Put starter strips in the top of half the frames and foundation in the other half. Alternate them so that the bees will draw the comb straight. Next year you can work out the foundation based frames.Make sure the hive is dead level.

Don't waste money on expensive swarm lures. Lemongrass oil dotted at the entrance and on the top bars is just as effective.

Bees looking for a new home like a dark box with a small entrance so you need to close off the floor and close down the entrance.

I have bait boxes knocked up just to catch swarms. They can be fairly rudimentary as the bees are transferred toute suite.

If you have a blow torch then you can quickly whizz round the inside as bees like scorched wood too.

Scout bees will explore the box for space so don't fill it with frames. If you can beg or borrow a used old brood frame that is the best lure in the world. Put an empty frame by the wall furthest from the entrance, then the used frame.

Put your bait box at least six feet up. Mine are on flat roofs.

Good luck :)

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Forgot to say the boxes are polystyrene so I'd better not blowtorch them! Only the stand, floor surround and roof are wood. The lady did give me a super and a brood frame of drawn out comb so that should help. How do I shut off a mesh floor? It has an inspection tray under it. And will the rusty supers be a problem?

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