Frequently Asked Questions

How soon will swarm traps ship?

Retail units and fully assembled units should ship by early to mid-March.  (We’ll keep everyone posted on this as we know swarm season is rapidly approaching.)

Are honey bees included?

No, they are not.

That would defeat the purpose of the product, right?  All perks involving the trap will contain what you need to catch local, healthy honey bee swarms, leading to a cheaper alternative to bee packages.

Why is my swarm trap a different color?

As we are continually improving our product, the color and texture of your refuBees Swarm Trap™ may vary slightly from the pictures and videos online.  Think of it as a “2nd gen” purchase.

When is swarm season in my area?

It varies by your location.

We’ll give you the answer a college professor gave us as we researched the product early on…

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Because this hummingbird has zero body fat, it requires the nectar flow to begin in an area before it can migrate north.  What does this mean in relation to honey bees?  They’ll start foraging once sightings of the ruby-throated hummingbirds start regularly in your area.

Swarm season is generally delayed a week or two after this, but keep a close eye on the map, around then it is a good idea to have your trap ready if not hang and bait it.  (Other types of bees, like bumble and mason, will begin to forage before honey bees, another indicator swarm season is approaching.)

(Note: If this particular hummingbird does not migrate to your area, consult with a local beekeeper.  He or she should be able to give you info about swarm season for your region.)

How often should I bait the swarm trap?

Every 7 to 10 days AND right after an extended period of rain.  Not only does the rain wash some of the swarm lure off the trap, after a good rain is also prime time to catch a swarm.

Remember not to overdo it (or you might run out of swarm lure), and use your cotton swab to apply the lure around the entrance and as much inside the trap as possible.

Hooray!  I caught a swarm, now what?

First, make sure it’s a swarm and not just scouts.  Easiest way to tell is to check the trap around sundown, because scouting activity will drop off with the decrease in temperature.  If you can see (or hear) the bees inside chances are you’ve got them.

Second (and because you’re sure), congratulations.  It feels good, doesn’t it?

(Remember not to lose track of time!  It’s easy to get caught up watching the bees come and go from the entrance, or walk your property locating the current hot spot they’re foraging.)

Now it’s time to reach out to a local beekeeper.  If you don’t know any, and turned up zero results via friends and family, a localized search on the internet for “swarm removal” should get you what you need.

Explain you have the honey bees in a swarm trap with medium frames, and make sure to be available to the beekeeper during the early morning or late evening hours.  This ensures most of the bees are inside the trap, and we don’t waste good honey bees!

Also please explain you’d like the trap back once the beekeeper has taken the 24 hours or so before transferring the bees into the new hive.

(Transferring the swarm into the hive too early could result in part or all of the colony absconding to the trap’s original location.)

How long does swarm season last?

Not long enough!

For Ohio, where we’re located, it starts mid to late spring and runs (maybe) until the end of June depending on the weather.

Although it’s possible to occasionally catch a “summer swarm” your best bet is in the spring.

Any additional tips to catch a swarm?

Along with the swarm lure, it’s a good idea to provide the honeybees with a water source.  Bees require water for everything from nutrition to regulating the temperature in the hive.

A water source can be natural like a nearby stream or pond, or man-made like a shallow birdbath or a simple cup of water refilled regularly.

Another little trick we use is to make a simple sugar solution in a spray bottle.  Before reapplying the swarm lure we’ll spray sugar water just inside the entrance to the trap a few times and wait a few minutes before swabbing the entrance with the swarm lure.

By doing this, the bees are attracted to the lure, but grab a quick bite as they drink the simulated nectar.  Bribing the scout bees isn’t a crime in this instance.

How many traps should I hang on my property?

It might go against our corporate self interest, but being truthful (and wanting every supporter to be as successful as possible), the fewer options the better.

If you’re on an acre or less, one trap (maybe two tops) will work.

The issue is the more traps you hang and bait regularly, the more choices the scouts have.  This may seem like a good idea, but it actually backfires, because an overwhelming majority of scouts is needed to agree on a single location before the swarm will settle for good.

Too many choices will confuse and divide them.

Where should I hang the trap?

Near the edge of your property and approximately 6 feet high.  This isn’t so much for the bees as it is for your human friends and family.

Kids especially may be “too interested” in the trap which could lead to a variety of problems.  It’s also a good idea to discuss the product with your neighbor so they’re aware, and take into account any feedback they may provide, specifically allergies.

CAUTION: Remember honey bees are live creatures and can sting!  It’s strongly suggested you observe them from a distance and let an experienced beekeeper remove the swarm once it’s settled.