One of the marks of a good book is that it has an immediate impact on what you think or do. Swarm Traps and Bait Hives by McCartney Taylor is one such book.
As a beginner beekeeper, I have a single hive, still in its very early stages. Having been established just before winter, it’s still a single box, yet to extend down into the second box. Honey is some way off!
My focus is therefore to grow the number of hives I’m managing, to perhaps two or three. This will increase my eventual honey output, as well as protecting me against hive failures.
I had heard about the idea of establishing bait hives, and had created two of my own. I couldn’t find much written about them, so I was planning to go with the idea of putting them each on a roof, and hoping for the best. I’d heard about “swarm lures”, and the potential use of lemongrass oil, but again, couldn’t find any real detail.
McCartney’s book came to the rescue, and just in time.
It’s not a long book, and it’s written in a very casual tone of voice. It does, however, provide exactly the information needed for beekeepers (new or old) to maximise their success at capturing bees.
As McCartney says, this is all about “getting bees for free”. Through a combination of good design, appropriate placement (and patience), beekeepers can grown their number of hives, while protecting local houses from bees creating rogue hives in walls, etc.
Step by step, the book walks through how to create a good bait hive, including plenty of real-world advice (he repeatedly says on various issues “don’t do it this way, I tried it, and trust me, it didn’t work”). More than just a how-to guide, McCartney aims to enthuse all beekeepers about catching bees in this way.
As he says throughout the book, “you will catch bees”, the only question is how many.
I’m going to revise my bait hives, and I’ll post the results. In the meantime, I’d strongly recommend this book for all beekeepers.