Though there are various ways to attract bees, one of the most common questions surrounding this task is surrounding beeswax – but does beeswax attract bees or not?
The answer is yes, beeswax attracts bees to old or new hives.
Although there are various other ways to attract honey bees to the hive, beeswax is the one way that shows tremendous success. Beeswax rubbed onto the insides of the hive is one of the most successful ways available to attract bees.
Honey Bees Must be Attracted to Their Potential Hive
Through the ingeniousness of the local beekeeper, they know the tricks of their trade to attract and trap bees to their hives. It is through the ingeniousness of the swarm of honey bees who use the beekeeper’s hives to make the honey. Know that, and not all bees are honey bees.
However, it takes the whole life of one honey bee to make one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey. These calculations mean that it takes hundreds of beekeepers, thousands of queen bees, and millions of honey bees to stock our shelves with this liquid gold, filled with natural goodness and essential nutrients.
What is the Correct Bait or Trap to Attract Bees to Hives?
The beekeeper must first utilize bait hives or trap hives and provide the perfect conditions to attract and keep colonies of bees.
The societies of bees are highly organized, and each colony of bees has a queen responsible for laying the eggs that prepare the hive for a new generation of bees. All bee colonies have selected bees whose job is to search for the next perfect hive. These bees are called searcher bees.
The beekeeper provides everything for their bees except for the atmospheric and weather conditions, which are out of the beekeeper’s control.
When the temperatures are perfect in the environment, the beekeepers watch diligently, hoping that the next swarm or colony of honey bees will select these prepared hives for their next home. However, the scout bees must find a highly suitable hive or go elsewhere to find the perfect hive.
The beekeeper must provide a tremendous flow of nectar through nectar-producing plants close to the hives to attract bees. Nectar-producing plants bring colonies of bees to the hive sites and become a vital part of attracting bee colonies.
There are some things, like the weather, that the beekeeper cannot control, so they concentrate on things in the environment they can control, such as,
- Bait traps
- Well-planned gardening methods
- Hundreds of nectar-producing plants
- Various techniques to attract, catch and keep a swarm of bees
For the beekeeper to attract bee colonies, there are definite stages that the beekeeper must follow to assure the bees select these hives as their new home.
How Do Beekeepers Attract Swarms of Bees?
The beekeeper must provide a couple of things in order for bees to survive. Bees start to swarm when the weather becomes warmer, sometime between spring and summer.
The beekeeper must make sure that there are plenty of plants near the hives so the bees can collect the pollen. Collecting pollen means that the temperatures and weather must be favorable.
Bees are wise and intelligent creatures when selected to scout in search of the next ideal home. Bee colonies send out specific bees called scouts who look for a new hive. Beekeepers must know how to attract these bee scouts, leading the colony to their new hive.
Bee colonies are secretive and mysterious, displaying a collective process for their decision-making skills and never cease to amaze seasoned beekeepers.
Beekeepers must attract these colonies of searcher bees to a new hive by providing the bees with the essentials if the bees are to make the hive their home. These essentials must be in place simultaneously. Beekeepers are well aware of all the work needed to start new hives. The beekeeper must learn everything about bee scouts, which is the first step to successful beekeeping.
When the beekeeper is aware of scout bees in their area, they know they are interested in searching for new hives. Scout bees will search for areas of potential nests in different locations. These scouts then narrow their search to three or four sites from several different and potential sites before these scouting bees decide on the perfect nesting location.
The beekeeper helps with this process by using specific baits or traps to collect the swarms. Researchers find bees are the hardest working, wisest, and most intelligent insects. Searcher bees only pick the perfect nest and avoid possible hives when they sense that all is not perfect.
When these searcher bees pick the perfect site, the search does not stop. Bee colonies send out additional searcher bees who investigate the same areas. When these scouting bees agree that the nest is more than adequate, the whole swarm will descend on the hives.
During this scouting process, the beekeeper knows they must keep their distance and not disturb the hive areas. If the bees feel threatened, they may abandon the nest and find another area.
All it takes is for the beekeeper to intrude into the bees’ area, causing the bees to scout a different location. The beekeeper must decide what type of hive or trap the bees cannot turn down and may use beeswax, a top choice used to attract the scouts.
As you look around your home, you may see where bees have taken up residence in such areas as inside or behind your mailbox, under roof eves, or hollow cavities of trees all make great homes. Old vacated beehives make for a perfect new hive due to residual beeswax.
Ways to Attract Scout Bees
The larger picture for the beekeeper is to make the hive so attractive that the bees become trapped, making these hives their home. The successful beekeeper lures swarms to the hives by using scents or materials that the bees require to live.
Some beekeepers use an artificial pheromone solution or an old brood comb that shows a high success rate for the colonization of hives.
The bees produce honey from specialized glands after making their comb out of beeswax. The perfect comb allows less space needed and holds the most honey weight. Worker bees must do a lot of work to make a honeycomb. Honey Bees must eat up to two tablespoons of honey, making one ounce of beeswax.
How beekeepers attract swarms to the comb and how bees use it as a storage area for their honey is a fascinating process.
This process depends on how this storage interacts with the pollen. Researchers find that bee hives must have at least a two-inch-wide opening with a 15 – 60 cm space that sits a bit more than 20-inches off the ground. A wood frame can surround these combs. The bees store these combs away from the hive entrance.
Two Types of Honey
Honey bees are responsible for two types of honey in the honeycomb, called uncapped and capped honey. These types have to do with how the bees manufacture the honey. There is a white wax that covers honey and is called capped honey.
A darker wax covers the wet capped honey. Beekeepers say there is no difference in the taste or quality of either type. Interestingly, Bees have an assembly line going that may put human assembly lines to shame.
The worker bees make honey through the nectar of the plant. This nectar passes through the line of workers. While the nectar passes, worker bees mix it with chemicals from their bodies. The nectar is then ready to place the mixture in a cell.
Worker bees beat their wings on this mixture to help absorb excess water and environmental moisture. The great thing about honey is that there is no expiration date for honey when the honey is appropriately stored.
What is the Attraction Beeswax has on Honey Bees?
The honey must go into a beeswax comb. The beekeeper extracts the honey for different uses and flavors. The comb is what the bees use to store their honey. This honey has a slight coloration while stored in the hive. However, there are also various shades of honey, from light to dark.
Beeswax is a highly effective bait, considering all other bait that attracts honey bees to hives. Beeswax outlasts all other baits.
Beekeepers rub a small amount of beeswax on the insides of the hive. The scent attracts the scout bees to visit the hive and check it out for nesting. Wherever the beekeeper rubs beeswax in the hive, the bees build combs in that area.
For this reason, an empty beehive still attracts bees due to the residual beeswax leftover from the previous swarm. No matter where the old hive is positioned in the tree wood, scout bees can smell the residual beeswax within the wood. Beeswax works as an excellent material to attract new swarms.
As an added note, the protein part of the honey is the pollen. Honey is simply protein and sugar. The end-product, honey, depends on what plants the bees collect the pollen from, and the honey proves to be darker with more color than when in the comb.
Honey bees store brood, known as the new generation of bees, pollen, and honey in the comb in the larval stage. Beekeepers use methods that keep the baby bees and honey separate. One example is for the beekeeper to keep rearranging the frames. This method allows the queen bee to lay eggs where you want her to lay them.
Beekeepers who are serious about beekeeping must research ways to develop the proper ratio of honey versus pollen versus brood. This ratio creates a healthy hive.