View Full Version : catching a swarm

02-18-2010, 09:03 PM
can you catch a swarm directly into a TBH? recommended or not?

02-18-2010, 09:42 PM
A swarm will take up residence in any empty space that appeals to them.
if your top bar is any where near another bee yard or other hive there is a chance you will get a swarm in it. you can make it more appealing to them by baiting it and or putting old comb in it.

02-18-2010, 09:57 PM
You can catch a swarm in just about anything. A cardboard box works nicely. If I have to climb, I like using an old pillow case. Then I dump them into a mini TBH I made just for such adventures. I leave the mini-TBH at the site until it starts to get dark. If there's no cluster hanging where the swarm was originally and there are a bunch of buzzing in the box, you can be pretty confident you've got the queen. Then, tape some screen over the entrances and bring them home. Keep the entrance reduced for a few days. Enjoy your "free" bees and transfer the top bars to your full size TBH at your convenience.

Funny the first swarm I got. I borrowed my daughter's little car and her trunk was full of junk. So I had to put the swarm on the back seat. I had forgotten the screen, so I stuffed grass in the entrances which fell out (of course), kept my fully bee suit and veil on and sped off for home. Got pulled over for speeding. When the officer came up to the car, I only cracked the window a bit so he could hear me. I said - I just captured a swarm of bees and they got out of the box! When he saw all the bees on the inside of the windows he just said, "Please drive more slowly and have a nice day!"

A new benefit to taking your bees for a ride!

02-18-2010, 10:01 PM
Opps, sorry! Thought you meant catching swarms, not baiting swarms into a TBH. Never baited one into a TBH.

02-18-2010, 10:22 PM
i made a deal with a local beekeeper to put a empty top bar hive in one or two of his bee yards. the plan is if thay swarm i will have a empty hive there for them to swarm into. i am going to put some old comb and lemongrass oil in them

02-19-2010, 01:00 AM
I haven't done it but it should work like any other bait hive. The only issue will be crosscomb if you don't notice it for a while.


02-22-2010, 06:41 AM
How do you keep wax moth out of the comb when you are using it as bait? It's a big problem where I am.

02-22-2010, 11:16 AM
So do you use the basic lemongrass oil that is found at like a natural food store? Here's a link to Amazon.com to see if this is what we're talking about.

02-22-2010, 11:30 AM
That is precisely the Lemongrass oil I use, actually. It works fine.


02-22-2010, 05:52 PM
This is from biobees.com. You will need to subscribe in order to view the information about the portable tbh.

I will probably be building a couple of these over the Spring.


I have also seen a large square plastic flower pots with a hole drilled into the side for an entrance with the top bars placed on top of the flower pot. I believe this is in the Barefoot Beekeeper Book.

03-04-2010, 04:10 AM
can you catch a swarm directly into a TBH? recommended or not?

I have done it and found the best bait is an old brood comb they go nuts over it!

03-04-2010, 08:17 AM
can you catch a swarm directly into a TBH? recommended or not?

Yes you can - if you make it small like home by runbbing the inside with an old comb squeezed into a lump - wax and propolis does the trick. A dash of lemongrass oil on the outside brings scouts in to take a look.

I have had more success baiting them into baskets that I have also used to catch and hold a swarm for a few days, as per this video http://www.vimeo.com/1373493

Straw seems to absorb and hold the smell of wax and propolis better than sawn timber, and a straw skep or basket with that smell becomes a bee-magnet.