What is that thing up in the tree?
Have you seen one of these strange boxes strapped to a tree in your area?
No, it's not some kind of government spy box 🤣
What you've stumbled upon is one of our "Save the Bees" swarm attractant boxes. We strategically place these boxes around our area from spring through late summer. They're used to catch swarms of wild, locally adapted honeybees in order to preserve their genetics.
If you've found one of our swarm attractant stations, please do not disturb it. Rest assured, we check periodically to see if locally adapted honeybees have found our little attractant station and moved in. We must allow the bees to live in the attractant station undisturbed for a few weeks before we officially "catch" them.
"You catch bees?!"
In the spring and summer, wild, locally adapted bees who typically live in "bee trees" will instinctively split the hive by sending out roughly 50% of the hive's population along with the queen in the form of a swarm. The remaining bees will rear a new queen to perpetuate the original hive and the swarm will look for a hollow tree to start a new hive.
This is how bees propagate in the wild.
As much as 75% of swarms don't survive their first winter. This is due to many factors however, some of the most common causes of wild hive demise are...
- Logging (wild bees typically choose trees)
- Spraying of commercial crops with pesticides harmful to bees
- Humans who stumble upon bee trees and destroy them
We rely on the natural swarming behavior of honeybees to catch and move them to a protected location.
We place swarm attractants in strategic locations so that we can "trap" locally adapted honeybees and move them to our private bee sanctuary to ensure the survival of strong, locally adapted genetics. Please understand -- this is not a "trap" in the traditional sense of the word. We simply provide a suitable alternative to a hollow tree. The bees must choose to stay in our "trap". If they find it unsuitable, they are free to continue their search for a more traditional hollow tree home.
Once a swarm of bees has taken up residence in our attractant station for a few weeks, we will make our move. Under cover of darkness when bees are quiet and calm and there's no chance of leaving a single member of the colony behind, we will move the entire attractant station to our apiary where we will watch over, nurture and protect it to the best of our ability.