Setting up a honey bee Bait Hives

If you have bees or want to in the future, it's a good idea to set up a bait hive. 

A bait hive is an empty hive with food, "bait" to attract a swarm of honey bees. Yes, you will get robbers, but they will know where your hive is if they are looking to split. It's much easier for you and them to have a hive they want to get into than to get them out of a tree or your barn or house. 

It can also bring bees to your property before your plants start to bloom. 

So what's a bait hive? 
Here I have 2 hive boxes set up, one is normal, filled with frames, but there is a divider between and this divider holds a jar of honey or in this case, sugar water. 

You can use a full frame of if you already have bees, or a nuc box, but this works well too. 
The other thing about this is the cover on the front entrance. The bees will want to have a small entrance when they are first starting out, so they can easily protect the hive while they are getting established. This is just a piece of wood with a cut out, easy to make, you can attach it if you want, but I just set mine on here. Once the bees are established, you can take this piece off. 

You'll leave the top box open. You put a divider between then you put something yummy and enticing to draw the bees in. I use sugar water. So this has a notch that holds a jar lid, and the lid has holes in it. 

With a little bit of luck, we will have some robbers checking out the hive soon, which will have the potential of being a swarm moving in. This method is also great for feeding bees in the winter if you need to do that. I prefer to leave them enough honey to get through on their own, but sometimes if you get a late swarm or other hive issues, you may need to help them get through the winter. 

Hope this helps you get an easy swarm!


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