I have started making up my bait hives for the coming swarming season. My swarm season starts late February until end of April. This year, I am going to put out the usual motley crew of different boxes but I am going to add the ones that will from now on be my standard bait hive. A double warre box, set up as mentioned in my last post within the layens shell. A double warre is the perfect volume for a swarm being 36 litres. I have successfully baited swarms in 25 litre boxes but the 36 litre size will be more attractive to the scouts. The best attractant apart from volume is tempting them with some really old brood comb. I kept back some old comb just for this purpose. This one gnarly old comb was cut into two and waxed onto warre top bars. I took my time waxing these combs onto the bars using hot wax and an artist brush to make sure every adjacent cell was bonded with wax to the bar on both sides.
I repeated the waxing on a second bar.
I set the combs with the bars with a blank bar inbetween them. This is important as these combs are oddly shaped and do not match each other. This is how it looks from underneath, you can't really see the bar inbetween them but it is there.
The other tricks I use to bait swarms is to put a drop or two of Lemongrass oil in the hive to make it smell good to them. Together with the aroma of the old comb it should be irresistable. The yellow tub is a gel form of the same stuff that you smear outside the hive to give them the hint of the nice smell that is worth investigating.
My final trick is to paint white around the entrance to give a good contrast so that the scouts know exactly where to go. This really works!