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How late in the season can I put a new hive out if I’m trying to attract a swarm with lemon balm?

 
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I was wondering, if I’m planning to put out an empty  Warre hive to naturally attract a swarm using lemon balm, what would be the timeframe to do that in so that the hive could produce enough honey for winter stores?
 
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Welcome to Permies!

It would depend on a lot of factors regarding your local conditions. Can you tell us where in the world you are? How long is your growing season? Do you know of any dearths in your region?
 
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Also, you are proposing the wrong lure.

Lemon GRASS attracts swarms, not lemon BALM.

A few drops of Lemon Grass Oil (LGO) is all you need per swarm trap. They are incredibly sensitive to it, as it mimics their nasanov pheromone.
 
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:Welcome to Permies!

It would depend on a lot of factors regarding your local conditions. Can you tell us where in the world you are? How long is your growing season? Do you know of any dearths in your region?



Hello Joylynn,

I’m in zone 7 in Tidewater Virginia. Average first  frost date is October 15th. I’m not aware of any dearths, but I’m not experienced with honey bees so I don’t know for them.

Thank you,

Ethan
 
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Michael Cox wrote:Also, you are proposing the wrong lure.

Lemon GRASS attracts swarms, not lemon BALM.

A few drops of Lemon Grass Oil (LGO) is all you need per swarm trap. They are incredibly sensitive to it, as it mimics their nasanov pheromone.



Hi Michael,

I read on the Internet that beekeepers used to rub lemon balm leaves on hives to attract bees. Would that not work too, albeit a little less efficiently than LGO? I have that growing here is why I ask.

Thank you,

Ethan

 
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I live fairly close Ethan. Around here mid July is about as late as we see swarms. Any swarm captured that late would almost certainly need supplemental feeding to survive the first winter. The lemon balm might work but I too suggest going with lemongrass oil & a bit of used beeswax if you can get some. Good luck & welcome to permies.

edited to correct ... lemonGRASS oil ... not lemon oil. Sorry for any confusion.
 
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I highly recommend Swarm Commander spray, but get the real stuff from Soods Bee Company. It sounds unnatural but it's made of lemongrass oil and natural queen pheromones. If you can't get it I recommend lemongrass oil,  not lemon balm. A very small amount will do.

I think you should try to get your hive up as soon as you can. It will increase your overall likelihood of getting a swarm before season's end. As Mike mentioned you may have to feed a swarm later on. Even if a swarm perishes it's not a waste because they will have built out comb for next year's bees.  
 
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Mike Barkley wrote:I live fairly close Ethan. Around here mid July is about as late as we see swarms. Any swarm captured that late would almost certainly need supplemental feeding to survive the first winter. The lemon balm might work but I too suggest going with lemon oil & a bit of used beeswax if you can get some. Good luck & welcome to permies.



Thank you Mike, that is helpful.

Ethan
 
Ethan Brown
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James Landreth wrote:I highly recommend Swarm Commander spray, but get the real stuff from Soods Bee Company. It sounds unnatural but it's made of lemongrass oil and natural queen pheromones. If you can't get it I recommend lemongrass oil,  not lemon balm. A very small amount will do.

I think you should try to get your hive up as soon as you can. It will increase your overall likelihood of getting a swarm before season's end. As Mike mentioned you may have to feed a swarm later on. Even if a swarm perishes it's not a waste because they will have built out comb for next year's bees.  



Thanks James. Ideally I would want to get the hive up as soon as possible, but first I need to acquire one! I’ve been wanting to add bees for a while but I’m involved in so many projects and have limited financing that it is something that keeps getting pushed back. I’m eyeing my stimulus check and weighing if it is the right opportunity to make the plunge. But by the time I get the check and order or build the hive, I’m just trying to figure out if it would be too late in the season to get started this year.

Thanks for all the info.

Ethan
 
James Landreth
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Do you maybe have the means to build a log hive? They aren't as challenging as you might expect and can be done cheaply, depending
 
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In southern Missouri (zone 6a) swarms fly from early May to early September, and early-September swarms (6 weeks before the frost date) sometimes are able to collect enough reserves to survive the winter. Otherwise you can give them a frame of honey from another hive and then almost ALL September swarms I catch make it through the winter.
 
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