13.5.1. Balloon preparation

1. Fix one end of the kite line to the winder.

2. Fix the ball bearing snap swivel to the other end.

This will prevent any twist of the line.

3. Chose the balloon size adapted to your experiment.

For carrying only a queen dummy (and optionally a fly paper), a smaller balloon with a diameter of about 150 cm (200 g) is adequate.

To carry a trap, the 300 g balloon inflated to a diameter of about 200 cm is more suitable

4. Fill the balloon with helium only at the experimental site since transportation of inflated balloons is risky.

5. After inflating, close the balloon’s mouth tight with some strong line leaving enough extra line to knot a loop.

6. Hook the snap swivel of the kite line into the loop.

7. Fix queens, dummies or traps 5 m below the balloon at minimum.

You can do this by fixing a loop in the kite line at this distance.

8. Hook queens in cages and trap equipped with snap swivels in this loop

To catch drones, the trap must be lifted from about 10 m to up to 40 m high. As mentioned above, the height of drone flight varies. On bright days, drones may fly preferably as high as 20 to 40 m, on a very warm day with an approaching thunderstorm they may fly between only 5 to 10 m high.

If the experiment requires that drones return to their colony, do not keep the drones inside the trap longer than 10 minutes (Fig. 36). Drones need enough fuel (honey reserve in their crop) for flying home. In this case, it is advisable to operate with two traps: one is lifted up while the drones from the other net can be marked and/or counted.

Fig. 36. Drones have to be released from the trap within 10 minutes to keep them strong enough for the flight to their home colony.

1293PN revised Fig 36