We’re experiencing Fonzie-like weather right now—cool, but not harshly cold. Cool enough to change the song on a jukebox with the snap of a finger, but still warm enough to take full responsibility when it burns down Arnold’s diner. (Okay, suppressing my desire now to make this whole thing a Happy Days reference.) What I’m trying to say is that I can’t comfortably do full hive inspections because it’s still topping out around 50 degrees. But on sunny days this week my colonies were bringing in a lot of pollen, presumably from blooming maple trees. That new-found abundance of pollen is great, but it makes me worry that some of the stronger colonies could already be thinking about swarming. So before their scout bees settle on a tree cavity, I went ahead and put out a couple swarm traps a few weeks early. I’ve already seen bees sizing them up, so I’m glad I hung them earlier than normal this year. The downside to putting them out early is that the empty hives tend to attract other bugs, so they may not be pristinely clean during prime swarm season in May; I’m counting on the bees being mostly undeterred by a woodroach or two. Putting them out early also bears a small financial cost, because every week or two I’ll spray a little Swarm Commander into the entrances—not a huge cost, but it may double my yearly expense for swarm trap bait.
I’ve posted before about how I build swarm traps. I’ve had good success with these, saving me a few lost colonies. I’ve also seen at least one swarm ignore these traps and fly into the woods never to be seen by me again…breaking my heart the way Fonzie did to so many ladies in poodle skirts.
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