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Session 2 of 2022’s Permaculture Technology Jamboree roundup finishes up with its batch of instructors (Samantha Lewis, Michael Otten, Jim Juczak, Austin Durant, and Jacob Wustner) and their topics of choice.

Jacob hypothesizes that the more defensive a colony of bees is, the better they are at dealing with parasites and other internal threats, or that the defensiveness against external threats is a trait of them taking the colony’s welfare seriously.  Although all but the most hardline of bees will be fairly placid during a honey flow, and most commercial bees have been bred to be fairly docile, if you get a hybrid strain of bees, then they’ll likely be fairly defensive.  All things that the new-bee won’t be aware of.  One of the bigger keys to getting a successful colony is getting bees with good genetics, and the best way of getting those is from wild bees via a swarm trap, but if there’s commercial bees in the area then the traps can also get swarms off of them.  Still, getting some bees is better than not getting any.  Just don’t be surprised if the domesticated colony fizzles out after a year or so even with good genes.

For catching swarms, try putting the trap 10-20 feet off the ground, using lures made of lemongrass, propolis, or beeswax, and if you’re making your own traps, try using old wood instead of newly cut.

The swarm traps Jacob made during the PTJ have a lip on the back for screwing or otherwise attaching them onto a tree up off the ground, a removable side that can let you see into and extract bits of comb from the trap, and are tall and narrow to get fewer combs that can be more easily removed with less damage done to them.  

Relevant Threads

2023 Permaculture Technology Jamboree website

PTJ Event 2022 - Bee Track! New Hive Designs
Bees forum

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