1.) Install the trap at either the end of the day, or early in the morning. I don't know if this really matters, but at least there is a chance that bees leaving will learn not to come back the same way. Which is good. In addition, placing some grass across the entry isn't a bad idea, like you do when you move a hive. Anything for them to start realizing that the pathway out and in has changed will help.
2.) Place the trap so it sits right on your bottom board. If your spacer on your bottom board extends past the face of your hive body, you might need to notch the trap, or cut the spacer back. You don't want your bees leaving out the sides (i.e. you don't want a gap there). The trap wants to be tight to the hive on the sides and top. It should be below the handle, if not, that needs to be plugged too.
3) Rotate the cleats back to about 30 degrees or so, and screw them to the sides of the hive. Use some sheetrock or deck screws (or anything), something 1 1/4" long or longer. Even nails would work fine (leave the heads out a little so you can remove them). Remember to push the trap tight to the hive body so there are no gaps for bees to leave through. The traps don't weigh much, so the cleats should be sufficient.
4.) Allow for a foot or so clearance below the trap . This is very important. You want at least a foot or so open below the trap, as the bees are going to drop down from the entry, and fly out. That's the plan anyhow. So if they are right on the ground, get the hive up on some blocks. If there is grass in the way, cut it. Again, the will eventually swoop down low to get in and out, as will the hornet, if it ever shows up.
However, heads up: what you will have for for a week at least (in my experience), is mayhem. Bees don't seem to learn how to navigate this new entry very quickly, and some never will. In three hives I have tried this with, they tend to land right on top of the hive where the "skylight" is, and find their way through the mesh.
But eventually they do- or at least some do- start coming and going by dropping down below the front screen as they return. Given long enough, they'd all do this. But within the month or two they are installed, you will find plenty just crashing into the front screen as they leave and climbing through it, or going up into the trap itself, and climbing through the mesh there. I didn't see a point where they didn't do that, even after three weeks of the trap being installed.
Is this a problem? I don't know. It will certainly make them easier targets for hornets, and I think part of the purpose of the trap is to get the hornets to follow bees that are swooping low to return and exit, so the hornet does the same and approaches the entry. Having never seen or caught an actual AGH, I don't know if this is an issue. I doubt it is- as this is the trap used in Japan, but I don't know for sure.
Is there a faster way to train them? Possibly there are some methods.- and I'd love to hear from anyone who's been successful. Maybe blocking of the skylight for a week would help? I've also considered putting a piece of cardboard from the bottom of the front of the trap, back to above then entry. That idea seems to me to be very promising, but I haven't tried it.
The Japanese websites don't mention this being a problem at all, and the videos don't show any bees massing on top of the traps, so possibly they get used to it after a month. Which also suggests, that if these traps become common in the years to come, they need to go on right after Blackberry around here.
Ideas on this topic are welcome- there are a lot of unknowns at this point!
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