Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Build Your Own: Swarm Trap

Here is a quick swarm trap based upon the plans for 10 Frame Deep (Minimal Tools) this is based on suggestions and previous swarm traps by Tim Ives, and some good old scientific backing from Tom Seeley.

Tom Seeley did a number of experiments on swarming behavior in his book Honeybee Democracy, which created an outline of what bees find desirable when selecting a space for a new hive.You can find a short PDF written by Seeley entitled Bait Hives for Honeybees here.

His experiments concluded that a desirable nest site for a honeybee must be: 40 litres in volume, and have an entrance of 15 cm sq.(2.325 inches) So some fancy converting and sacrificing had to be done to come up with the closest, and most practical solution. The above design, is 1/4" larger than a standard hive body. This is to accomodate no innercover (simply plywood roof), no bottom board, and still maintain beespace.

Swarm Trap: 1.5489 Feet - 43.86 Litres

The entrance however is a little trickier. to find the radius I needed I performed the following equation
r = Square root (15cm2 area / π )
= 2.19cm

or, 0.862205 inches. 
d  = 2r
= 1.72441 in

Consulting a decimal to fraction sheet, gives us: 1 23/32" (1.7188) as the closest match, but good luck find a hole saw that size! So common hole saw sizes in mind our choices are limited to:
1 5/8" (1.625)
1 3/4" (1.75) 
Either should work fine, but 1 3/4" is the closer match.

Conversely you could cut a slot for an entrance. This will work better for keep mice, birds and other pests out. So keeping with the theme of working with more common hand tools. Lets figure out what we need. For this youll need a drill and a jig saw, or a router with a 3/8 bit. We need to create two holes for our jig saw to get in to cut the slot, 3/8ths is beespace so lets use that.

2.325 inches - 0.11 (the area of a 3/8" circle, we need two but in the end theyll be half circles)
= 2.215"

2.215 / 0.375 (the width of our slot)
=5.9 (or six inches to keep it simple)

Homework out of the way lets get to building. Ill show the modifications to the previous design. If I leave something out refer to it.

The height of the sides has been increased by 1/4". This maintains correct beespace on the bottom and top as we are not using an inner cover or bottom board.

Next we need to add our hole. The lower on the box the better according to Seeley.

 If you want to cut a slot and do not have a router, start like this. Find your middle, make a mark. Go up about an 3/4" and make a 6" line. 

Next drill a 3/8" hole right at the end of each line. (the picture shows the circles radius)

 Then using a dremel, thin jigsaw blade, etc. make two cuts at the top of each circle to complete your slot.

The final step is to add our floor and roof. For that find scrap plywood 16 3/4" by 21 1/8" and screw to the hive body (you will want to be able to remove the top to re hive your swarm).

Thats it for now, happy hunting!

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