Use this one strange trick to catch a swarm this season
Posted on April 30, 2018.
Did you know that honey bees are attracted to the smell of lemongrass essential oil? It's true! In fact, lemongrass essential oil mimics the nasonov pheromone that worker bees produce and use to communicate with other bees about orientation and recruitment. In a honey bee, the nasonov pheromone is made up of a variety of components including citral. Citral just so happens to be one of the main natural components found in lemongrass essential oil. Funny how nature works!
Because honey bees are attracted to the sweet grassy and lemony fragrance, we have found that lemongrass essential oil is an effective swarm lure. It can encourage a swarm of honey bees to move into a cavity such as a nuc box or hive. The best way to use lemongrass essential oil as a swarm lure is by making it into a spreadable paste. Here's an easy recipe:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 ounces of pure, filtered beeswax
- 20 drops of pure lemongrass essential oil
- Glass measuring cup
- Pan of boiling water
- 8 oz. plastic or glass container
1. Add olive oil and beeswax to the measuring cup. Place measuring cup in a pan of boiling water and gently warm until completely melted.2. Add 20 drops of lemongrass essential oil and stir until well combined.
3. Pour mixture into the plastic or glass container and let harden into a spreadable paste.
Once you have your lemongrass paste ready, simply spread it on the different surfaces within your nuc or brood box including at the entrance of the hive, on the top bars of your frames, on the top of the inner cover and around the edges on the top of the brood box. It helps to also have drawn out comb within your nuc or brood box as well, but you can also try it with new frames and foundation.
Hopefully, within a few days, scout bees from a swarm will come to check out the smell of your lemongrass scented box and go back to tell the rest of the bees about the wonderful new home and they will move in. Unfortunately, using lemongrass essential oil does not guarantee that you will catch a swarm, but from our experience, it definitely increases the chances.