Traps and Trapping

Pollen Trapping:

Using pollen traps the beekeeper can provide a protein source that can be supplemented to bee’s feed when raising queens or drones. This is considered by some to be a “black art” but there are no mysteries here. If queen rearing is to be taken seriously there is no point in producing substandard or inferior queens and drones too.

By feeding pollen along with honey and syrup beekeepers can ensure that full nutrition is available (whether the bees will avail themselves of it depends somewhat on how it is presented within the hive).

Pollen traps are not just gizmos for the gadget freaks. They serve an important purpose in providing spare pollen for breeding purposes as well as giving the beekeeper some idea of which crops their bees are actually foraging on.

The collected pollen can be fed to colonies that are raising queens or drones for a breeding program, whether open mating or mating is controlled by instrumental insemination.

Dead Bee Traps:

Collecting the bees that are ejected from the hive can give the beekeeper a lot of valuable information. If dead bees are removed and counted a pattern will form of the frequency of deaths at any particular time. Comparisons can then be made on the possible damage to bees from agricultural spraying operations.

Wasp Trap:

The common wasp (Vespa Vulgaris) and the German wasp (Vespa or Vespula Germanica) are guilty of much robbing of honey stores in bee hives and are a nuisance in the Autumn when there are few caterpillars for them to feed on. However traps can be simply made using materials that are to hand.

The image to the left shows the general idea in cross section. The container is a screw topped jar and the cone is soldered into the jar top is a brass WBC type, but any similar cone will do.

There are versions that have an “X” cut in the lid and the resulting four triangles are bent inwards to form the cone (care should be taken that the wasps cannot escape through the triangular slots that are formed by this method).

You can use jam dissolved in water as the liquid that serves both as an attractant and as the media in which the wasps drown. Honey bees seem not to be attracted to the sticky jam liquid.

You can also use half water half honey as long as the honey has been left to start fermenting. The bees will show no interest in the mixture if the honey has started to ferment. The wasps however will literally die for it.

Waxmoth Trap:

The wax moths Achroia Grisella and Galleria Mellonella can be very damaging. A very simple and effective trap can be constructed to catch them though.

Take a 2 litre drinks bottle (with lid) and cut a 30mm diameter hole just below the shoulder neck of the bottle, then tie some twine around the neck making sure the knot opposes the 30mm hole.

Now put in the attracting mixture which consists of 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup sugar and 1 banana peel. Top up with water until 75% of the bottle is full. Now hang it up nearby the apiary.

Do you have any more tried and tested traps and designs you would like to share? Why not add them to our blog or send them via email.