Wanting to get the queen from a trap out. HOW? [Archive] - Beesource Beekeeping Forums

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Randy Ray
08-15-2011, 12:23 PM
Now that I have found a wild bee colony and bees are excepting the hive body I've set in front of their hive with a queen cell in it, how long will it take the Queen to abscond? I think I have thought of a way to capture her on her exit but need to know when to place my gadget on the trap out.

08-15-2011, 12:35 PM
I have a trap-out that is just starting to wind down now (Cone placed July 20th. Currently only 2-3 bees exiting per hour). If the queen shuts down laying fairly quickly (say, within a week), it'll still take 3-4 weeks before all the brood/eggs hatch out.

Originally, I had planned on placing a large mesh box over the trap-out exit and work a nuc entrance with a feeder into the side of the box somehow. Logistically, this isn't feasible, I would need to check on them nearly daily. While the location isn't very far away, this isn't something I am willing/able to do at this time.

Instead, I decided to roll the dice on catching the absconding swarm with four nuc boxes baited with swarm lure in various places around the trap-out. With luck, the queen will take up residence in one of these. If you have frames of drawn comb to add to these swarm trap boxes (I don't) this will help as well.

Good luck in catching her.

Paul E. Turley

08-15-2011, 03:33 PM
the queen will not leave her brood. she must manualy be removed. I have never heard of a way to lure her out. good luck

08-15-2011, 04:50 PM
The queen stops laying eggs when foragers fail to return with stores, once the brood has hatched out the queen often absconds the hive with the last bit of bees to find a better home. Now just when that happens varies from trap out to trap out. A trap out during a flow may see the queen leave in 5-6 weeks due to the amount of brood, but a trap out during a dearth with a small brood area and you may see the queen leave in the first few weeks. Some keepers use swarm traps to attempt to catch the queen. Jim

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
12-06-2011, 05:11 PM
beeware.... The myth that you cannot get the queen with a trap is just not true. I trap several colonies each year and get the queen on virtuall every one of them. If I only want starts, I put her back in the feral source. If I want to eliminate the colony I move the trap with the queen in it.

Go to the Kelly Bee Company Website and read about the Swarm Harvester. If you don't understand how the system works, contact me at [email protected] and I will send you instructions and photos of actual bee traps in progress.

No charge for this information and service to beekeepers.

Will work every time.


12-13-2011, 01:07 PM
I went to Kelley's website and looked at it. Yes, please explain how it works. Someone wrote a negative review on the Kelley website because they could not understand how it works, so maybe you ought to write an explanation for them too.

When did my first few trapouts, I would have sworn there is no way to get the queen, but I now agree with you. This year I did 2 trapouts and I got the queen in both cases.

I think it has to do with the brood. If there is brood there, the queen would rather die than leave it, but if there is little to no brood, the hive will abscond within the first couple weeks of no food and water coming in. The queen will leave with all the bees in a swarm.

The thing newbies need to keep in mind is that she may still be pretty fat and not able to fly well, so the trapout should allow her to walk out and into the trap without having to fly.

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
12-13-2011, 04:34 PM
Troy... If you or anyone else needs information on the bee trap, send me an e-mail at [email protected] and I will send you the information.

No doubt it is the introduction of the frame of brood which brings the queen out of the feral source and into the trap. I have used this trap system for more than 20 years, and prior to learning about putting a frame of unsealed brood in the trap, the bees mostly used my traps for storage, and general buildup of the hive. Just on a whim, one day I put a frame of brood in the trap one day and I found the queen in the trap the first day, Once she sees the brood, she assumes that the trap is just another place for her to lay eggs and she will go back and forth between the feral source and the trap.

The only difference between the trap and the cone funnel method, is, using the cone you deplete the hive, by bees leaving the feral source and cannot get back in. It is highly, highly, unlikely that the queen will come out. Honey gets depleted, bees that leave for cleansing flights cannot get back in and the hive is depleted. The cone funnel method is a true and tested method and will work, it just doesn't have much success with getting the queen. Initially about all you get is field bees, then as the funnel is left in place you get cleaners, brood tenders, fanners, etc, as they exit for cleansing flights, or just to cool for a while, and then cannot get back in.

In the trap method, the bees move back and forth at will, The trap is sealed to the feral source with the two transitions, and becomes an integral part of the hive. The introduction of the unsealed brood, and brood comb causes the queen to investigate, who is laying eggs in her house, and when she finds no other queen it becomes a place to lay in the trap, and then move back to the feral source. As other frames in the trap are drawn out, the queen will return and lay eggs again.

I gave the material, and a trap, to Kelly a couple or three of years ago. I do not, and never have, received anything on the sale of the Kelly Swarm Harvester. I gave it to them so beekeepers would have another way to trap out bees. I had no desire to manufacture the swarm traps for sale, and Kelly did. So I gave them the data and a trap to copy. I have received numerous comments where people are very happy with the trap,and that is what I wanted. I have also received some comments that people needed additional information. The trap will work if you can seal all the entrances except one, and works best if you can place the trap very near the feral source brood nest. It is easy in trees and tanks, more difficult in houses, but will work. I trap multiple trees each year, give the farmer a half gallon honey, and take three to five starts out of each tree, then quit trapping so it can build back for winter.

If anyone has any questions, or if I can help you in any way, e-mail me at the address above. cchoganjr

12-14-2011, 08:45 AM
So it is basically a 5 frame nuke with an opening on the back that you seal to the feral hive entrance. put brood in it and they treat it like part of their hive.

If the queen moves back and forth. How do you get her, luck, timing?
I am guessing you add brood with no nurse bees?
How long does it take to fill up the box?

I do like the idea that you just harvest some of the hive then go back for some more without harming the feral hive.
I bet you could treat it like a honey super if you don’t add brood and don’t want the bees for whatever reason.

Cleo you might want to post on Kelley’s web site with basic instructions. Might help them sell a few more. Which can only help the feral hives.

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
12-14-2011, 10:24 AM
Flower Planter... Yes it is any size box,(Nuc, 8 frame, 10 frame) with any way to mate the trap to the feral source, and close off all entrances except the one you want them to go through. You can do it with two wooden tunnels, one that will slide inside the other, with two pipes, one that will slide inside the other, or any other way to attach them. With everything sealed, the trap becomes just another chamber for the bees to live, reproduce, and store honey in.

Yes, actually it is luck, as to getting the queen. However, when I have a trap in progress, and I introduce the unsealed brood (NO BEES on the frame) I normally find the queen on this or adjacent frames in the first 24 hours. It is not uncommon to get 6 to 10 pounds of bees on your first trapping in 24 hours, if, the feral source is a good colony. Once you introduce the brood, you get the mix of bees that you need to start a new hive, as cleaners, housekeepers, nurse bees, additional guard bees, fanners, etc will move out into the box to tend the brood, protect the brood, and prepare for more area to lay eggs and store honey/pollen Keep in mind, if you remove 8 pounds of bees, and you do not want to kill the colony, you will need to let it build back up, before taking the next start, unless it is a very large colony.

(To fill the box, or get enough to start a new colony), First trapping, normally, no more than 48 hours to get 5 to 10 pounds of bees in your trap. After that, it depends on size of the feral colony, and how fast they rebuild. I like to wait 3 to 4 weeks between taking the 2d start. If it takes more than 48 hours to get a minimum of 3 pounds of bees, it tells you the feral colony has been weakened, and you may need to allow it time to build back before taking those bees away. If you are wanting to eliminate the colony, just as soon as you have 3 pounds, take it and futher weaken the feral source, and start your new colony.

I trap several trees each year, and yes it an unlimited source, as long as you don't weaken the source and kill it. Yes, if you only put foundation, or foundationless frames in the trap, the bees will normally treat it as a place to store surplus honey, and will likely place honey in all the frames. In this case, about all you get, as far as a mix of bees, is guard bees who move out to the front of the trap as soon as all entrances are sealed, housekeepers who start cleaning the trap and frames, and fanners who ventilate the hive. To get the mix of bees you need to start a new hive, you really need the frame of brood. Short of adding the frame of brood, the queen and nurse bees etc, will only move out into the trap, if, they are pushed for space, and they start treating the trap as part of her brood nest.

I haven't checked the Kelly web site, but will. As I have stated before, I DO NOT and NEVER HAVE received anything from Kelly on the sale of the Swarm Harvester. I gave them the idea, and the plans, two or three years ago, just to help beekeepers. I did not want to get into producing and selling traps, and Kelly did.

If I can help anyone , let me know.


12-14-2011, 10:37 AM
A trick that sometimes work is to put frames of open brood and larva in your bait hive and set up the bait hive so that the bees leaving the tree must pass through it. The nurse bees in the feral colony will smell the brood and come out to cover it, often the queen will come out with them to try and find the invading queen.

12-14-2011, 02:56 PM
" I haven't checked the Kelly web site, but will. As I have stated before, I DO NOT and NEVER HAVE received anything from Kelly on the sale of the Swarm Harvester. I gave them the idea, and the plans, two or three years ago, just to help beekeepers. I did not want to get into producing and selling traps, and Kelly did. "

You should, it is an asome idea and more people should know about it, and how it works.

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
12-14-2011, 05:20 PM
bluegrass.... that is the essence of the process. You are exactly right.


12-14-2011, 08:52 PM
bluegrass.... that is the essence of the process. You are exactly right.


I think we are revealing all the secrets that separate the beekeepers from the beehavers. I can't even remember who taught me that trick, but I have used it several times with good results. If she can smell the foreign brood she will come out to investigate. Then you just gotta keep her from going back in.

12-23-2011, 12:04 AM
Thanks for the insight on this method!! I have just the tree for this!! And this colony is a true survival colony. It was sprayed by a friend of mine BEFORE he called me. It appeared to have died off when I checked it, no activity. While working the other day I drove by the tree and got out to check it out and show a co-worker, well wouldnt you know..........BEES!! I am going to offer a trap out as the neighborhood (primarily my buddy) wants the bees gone............I get the bees, and the bee's get to prosper without being exterminated!! Will have to give it a go in a couple months when things warm up!! That is, if he doesnt spray them again!!

12-27-2011, 06:34 PM
I was lucky to catch Cleo at one of Kelly companies field days and watch his presentation a couple of years ago. During the presentation he mentioned several times that you could build your own trap very easily or if you dont do woodwork that Kelley had them for sale.I thought it was very cool of him to suggest that you build your own before he mentioned that you could buy one. I had already made my own and had been using it for a couple of years prior to seeing him. But the coolest thing about Cleo was that at the end of his presentation he gave everybody his phone number and said if you have any questions,just give him a call. Not a lot of guys out there that would open themselves up for that much access. I've called him a couple of times with questions and he has always been great to talk to. He's the real deal and if he says its true I believe him.

12-28-2011, 12:50 PM
OK, that makes sense why in my trapouts this year I caught the queen. I had put brood in the Nuc so they'd have something to make their own queen from - assuming the trap would not catch the queen.

She smelled it and came looking, and I caught her. Now that I know the trick I will use it more often. I stumbled on it by accident too, i just did not recognize the cause and effect like Mr. Hogan did.

Assuming you want to catch the queen. (I do) What about using something along the lines of a triangle escape with queen excluder material in the center instead of 8 mesh. This would allow the workers to come and go and once the queen walks out she is trapped. Then once the queen is in the new box, and the brood is hatched out I could change the triangle board for a screen cone and trap out all the bees too.

12-28-2011, 03:49 PM
I have some questions...........if I set a trap and put a frame of brood in it, and it draws the queen out.......how much time do you think it takes for the queen to actually go into the trap?

And like Troy said, how do you keep the queen in?

If you get the queen..........will the brood bees move out of the cavity into the trap as well? What are the odds of the remaining brood bees making another queen?

I was asked to remove a large hive of bees from a sycamore tree by a pumpkin patch and would like to do a full trap out and then screen the entrance of the tree to prevent future swarms from moving in, would this be a good idea?

Sorry for all the questions, ive never done a trap out and would like to hear peoples experiences! Thanks!..............Jason

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
12-28-2011, 05:34 PM
troy...I don't see why that would not work. Would be worth a try. Any way to get her out into the trap (the unsealed brood) then something (I use that small red funnel, it is a bee escape that goes in inner covers below honey supers) so she cannot get back to the feral colony.

Bee Ghost.. I normally find the queen there within 24 hours. With a good feral colony, it is not uncommon to get 6 to 10 lbs of bees, and the queen within 24-36 hours of placing the frame of unsealed brood in the trap. With the unsealed brood, she will likely stay there for a day or so, and lay in any remaining cells in the brood comb, then she will go back and forth to the feral colony. After that you just have to check occassionally and find her in the trap laying eggs. When you find her, close off the end of the tunnel (transition inside the trap) The trap has a small red funnel, (it is a bee escape, sold by Kelly, Dadant, Maxant, for about 5 for $2.00. They go in inner covers before harvesting honey. Once you close the end of the tunnel off, ALL bees must come out from the feral colony and go through the small red funnel to get into the trap and to get outside. When they return, they find they cannot get back through the funnel, and they stay in the trap. If they are field bees, and they cannot get back to the feral colony, they deposit pollen/nectar in the cells in the comb in the trap. Next trip, since they left from the trap, and deposited pollen/nectar in the trap, they don't even try to get back to the feral colony. Now the trap is their home. As more bees come through the funnel, (field bees, cleansing flights, rest, etc. the trap population builds. As the trap population builds, the feral source is depleted, and dies.

During a strong honey flow, the feral colony left in the tree, may make themselves a new queen, ( if there is a viable egg back there) but it will be in vain, as there are fewer and fewer workers, cleaners, nurse bees etc to sustain the feral colony. The honey also gets depleted, as no more nectar is being brought in, and no honey is being made. All the bees come into the trap through the red funnel and the feral colony is no more.

Trees are easiest to trap, because you can place the transitions very near the feral colony brood nest. The queen has less length to traverse. Houses and old buildings are more difficult, because typically, the brood nest is not where the entrance is, and it is more difficult to seal off all the entrances/exits. If the entrance is several feet from the brood nest, the queen might not come that far to investigate the unsealed brood. If you can seal all entrances, and unless the brood nest is several feet from the entrance, the queen will come into the trap looking for another queen. Who is laying eggs in my house,

Odds are good during a honey flow that the feral colony will make a new queen. All they need is a viable egg. But, as field bees, cleaners, nurse bees, fanners, etc, come through the funnel and get trapped inside the trap, the population inside the feral colony decreases and it cannot sustain itself.

If you have a problem, or questions, you can contact me at [email protected] and I will do my best to help you.


12-28-2011, 09:40 PM

Thank you very much for your response, very good information there!! I am going to convert one of my deeps into a trap with a removable solid board (i like SBB and will transfer it onto one when the trap is removed) and a migratory cover. The basic concept if I am right is to funnel the bees into the trap, of course getting the trap as close to the cavity as possible, right? Then the bee's go through the tunnel and into the back of the box and procede out the entrance. I will check out the trap design on the website mentioned. Thanks again!!..............Jason

12-28-2011, 10:59 PM
When the deep super is first attached to the transition piece, it seems like the returning foragers would try to enter near the back of the deep super instead of the front where the entrance now is. Is that not a problem? How long does it take for them to figure it out?

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
12-29-2011, 06:18 AM
heaflaw, yes, initially the bees will try to enter at the end of the deep super (near original entrance) if you install the trap during the day, and field bees are already in the field. First step is to install the transition on the tree, close off all entrances and let the bees go through this transition, (you can see one attached to a tree in my photobucket) for a couple or three days. Then always try to mate the trap (your deep super) to the tree, very early in the morning,(before daylight and before the bees become active), or on a cloudy, rainy day when bees are not flying. Same principle as moving bees. This way the bees come through the transition, through the trap, then to the outside. They are then orientated on the front of the trap, not the rear. When the bees become active, the first thing that will happen is, guard bees will move to the front of the trap. Initially all you get is field bees, then housekeepers will start cleaning the trap and working the comb you have put in the trap. After a day or so add the unsealed brood, (no bees on the comb), and that brings nurse bees, more housekeepers, fanners, and the queen to investigate this brood, and to tend the brood. That is what gives you a perfect mix for a start, or to start depleting the feral colony.

If you are going to trap next Spring, go ahead now, and install the transition on the tree, close all the entrances except the transition, and let them get used to coming and going, through it, and only it, on any days this winter they are flying. Construct whatever you are going to need to support the trap, (boxes, portable deer stand, cables) whatever, now, so when Spring comes all you need to do is slide the trap over the tree transition and seal the two transitions with duct tape.

I don't recommend adding the trap now, (wait until you are ready to trap in the Spring,) as that will invite mice to move in.

Hope this has been helpful. cchoganjr

12-29-2011, 07:27 AM
Cleo- Wow thank you for the information, looking forward to trying this in the spring.


12-29-2011, 08:25 AM
How about instead of using the small boxes as the passageway to the deep, use a short piece of dryer vent hose. It could be easily turned in different directions and you have more leeway lining up the deep.

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
12-29-2011, 10:25 AM
Dryer hose, two pieces of pipe or PVC, build a wooden tunnel, any way to mate the box with the tree is all you need. Keep the distance between the trap and the tree as close as you can. The two tunnels slide inside each other and just makes it fast and easy to remove the trap from the tree. I typically slide the trap off, and then slide another trap on for the next trapping. Three to five starts per year is normal for a good tree, I have taken as many as nine in one season.

One reason I use the wooden tunnels is, if I can attach the transition to the tree securely, I let the transition support the trap. Push the trap onto the tree transition, duct tape together, then the trap is hanging to the tree, supported by the transition. If this is not feasible, then use boxes, cables, deer stand, whatever you need to support the trap.

The main reason for the wooden tunnel is that it is easy to drill a hole in the wooden tunnel and install the small red funnel. It is easier to drill in wood than pipes. If you are only going to take starts from the tree, you don't need the funnel. It only comes into play when you are wanting to eliminate the colony by preventing bees returning to the feral colony.


Cleo C. Hogan Jr
12-29-2011, 05:30 PM
Here is a link to my photobucket which shows two traps with the transitions already on the trees for next Spring.



01-02-2012, 11:23 AM
I would like to publically thank Cleo for sending me info and pictures on how to trap out bees!! It takes a very good person to take their personal time to send a wealth of knowledge to someone they dont know. Thanks Cleo!! Will follow up with with pictures from my trap outs!!...........Jason

01-30-2012, 10:51 AM
Thank you CCHOGAN! Because of the height, I think I'll be doing some very creative adaptation, but I believe this thread had the answers I needed.


01-30-2012, 07:46 PM
Having looked at Cleo's photos, and the design of the swarmharvester trap, and talked to my mentor, learning about making a funnel out of 1/8th inch hardware cloth, which I have an ample quantity of. I'm also thinking about drilling a clear bee exit, and just mounting the box bracket around it. (waiting for customer approval about that. hmmm... this has potential. 1150

My mentor says it's pretty impossible to get the queen out. But I have a strange character trait - tell me it's impossible and I just put in more effort....


Cleo C. Hogan Jr
01-30-2012, 09:14 PM
Gypsi.. Your mentor is mostly correct. It is almost impossible to get a queen "out". The difference here is, with the trap as I use it, the queen is not going "out". She is simply going into another chamber of her hive, much the same as moving up into a second brood chamber, or moving laterally, , since the trap is sealed and is an integral part of her hive. If you make the transition out of wire, enclose it with black plastic so it doesn't appear as daylight between your source and the trap. Try to get your trap as close as you can to the feral brood nest so she doesn't have to come very far to go into your trap. Good Luck. cchoganjr

01-30-2012, 09:25 PM
I have a locally made deep not good for much but a cover box over a feeder, I think it will make an excellent trap - without much sacrifice. A 1x4 wooden box mounted to the side of the house, a smaller 1x tube going both out and into the deep, I will have to put some 8 ft 2x4's under the solid bottom tray/entrance to hold it up, and get some large staples (dadant apparently cut them from my order) to tack the bottom tray to the deep, put a cover on it, comb in it with some empty frames, and some lemongrass oil. Will I need any kind of feed in it?

For tonight / tomorrow, just going to build the wood tubes, try to mount the solid wood box bracket - that will be sufficiently tricky - I wouldn't trust duct tape to hold it on 8 ft in the air. some wings of hardware cloth that I can staple to the siding at top and sides, a piece of duct tape going to the brick?

I figure this will be almost as much an adventure as a cutout before I'm through, but I'm having fun, and it's for a good cause.... Beees......

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
01-30-2012, 10:29 PM
Gypsi.... If I understand what you ae doing, you are mating the deep to the feral source. If so, you don't need lemongrass oil or feed. What you have done, is, give the bees another chamber, much the same as putting another deep on top of a single deep, except in this case it is adjacent to, not over, the feral source. Unless you have unsealed brood to put in the trap about all you will get are guard bees at the new entrance, a few cleaners who will clean the walls, floor, and frames in the trap, and later some field bees who will likely start using it as a place to store surplus honey. It is the unsealed brood that brings out the queen to investigate who layed those eggs, and nurse bees to tend the new brood. Unsealed brood is the key to making this system work. Additional drawn combs gives the queen a place to lay when she comes to investigate. After placing a frame of unsealed brood, you will normally get enough bees in 24-36 hours to start a new hive, and most often you will have the queen, as she will stay in the trap with the drawn combs and lay them full, then return to the feral source to lay eggs.

I never start trapping too early in the Spring, because you need to give the queen a little time to build up the feral colony and need the room to lay more eggs.

Houses are the most difficult to get the queen because typically it is more difficult to locate your trap close to the feral brood nest. Quite often the bee entrance in a house is not close to the brood nest. Quite often they enter the house and then may go several feet to the actual hive. The trap works best in trees and tanks because you can mate your trap very close to the feral brood nest.

Good Luck.


01-30-2012, 10:34 PM

I did a lot of youtube viewing over the last week. And when I ordered from Dadant, I ordered Beequick. The present method for keeping the bees from leaving their nest via the interior of the house involves napkins stuffed in the crack. After I have the connection to the deep trap, and the trap installed, but no funnel, and worker bees are out there storing stuff, what would happen if I sprayed Beequick into the nest from the inside of the house (the direction I do not want them to move) then re-plugged their interior exit?

I have been helping a friend of mine feed his bees up to get his queen to start laying, so by the time I am ready I may have some brood or eggs to draw the queen. They are taking candy and sugar well now.


Cleo C. Hogan Jr
01-31-2012, 06:27 AM
I have never found beequick to be very effective, in any application, (perhaps some people have), and I have never used it in a trapout. If you used the beequick, and if the bees come rushing out as they evacuate the hive, unless you have a funnel or a wire cone installed, there would be nothing to keep them from just going back as soon as the odor is gone. And the odor might linger in the trap and cause bees to hang outside the house until the odor is gone.

This trapping principle works when you fool the bees into thinking your trap is just another chamber of their hive. And they start treating it as home. Once you put the brood in the trap, you are going to get bees, lots of bees, and hopefully the queen. In order to eliminate the colony you will need to install the funnel or wire cone so bees can't go back to the feral colony. Don't close off the tunnel until the queen has had a chance to get into the trap. I doubt that she will come through the scree cone or the funnel. I don't know that I have ever had one to come through it.

Good Luck. cchoganjr

01-31-2012, 08:03 AM
I have never found beequick to be very effective,

Thank you Mr.Hogan I thought I was the only one that couldn`t get that stuff to work.

01-31-2012, 08:29 AM
Guess Beequick is another fine scientific investment I've made then, LOL... Thank you Mr. Hogan. I'll be finding out where the feral hive is going in and out over the next few days, and converting a couple of semi-worthless deeps into attachable swarm traps... Woohoo! nothing goes to waste.

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
01-31-2012, 09:53 AM
Bee Go will work, but always work it 8 miles away, make sure you are up wind, wearing a respirator, 40 feet underground in a bunker, with a 6 million cubic foot per second ventilation system.

Beequick does smell good. I have often wondered if you put it on like aftershave, could you work AHB, or agitated bees. cchoganjr

01-31-2012, 06:42 PM
Here is a link to my photobucket which shows two traps with the transitions already on the trees for next Spring.

I sure do appreciate your beesource posts, pictures and also your youtube video showing how to make a handhold. I don't know if you are taking requests or not but I'm going to be bold and ask for a video showing your swarm harvester in action.

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
01-31-2012, 07:25 PM
It is in the works. I did not have access to a video camera until a couple months ago, and I had so many people wanting a video to go along with the written material on making "D" shaped hand holds with a skil saw.

I have been trapping for about 25 years, and have still photos of traps in progress that I have sent to perhaps 75 people in the last month. (anyone that wants them, e-mail me at [email protected]) In recent years I have not done as much trapping because gas is so expensive if the trees are several miles away, and lately I just don't have the time.

If you notice on my photobucket, I have the transition on two trees and will start trapping them in mid April. I took three starts from each of these this year. I plan to make a video showing each step of the process as the trapping progresses. I hope to get three from each this year, and if I find any other local trees I will trap them also. Have promise of at least two more, just have to wait and see.

Link to Photobucket..... http://s841.photobucket.com/albums/zz339/cchoganjr/

Always happy to help beekeepers.


01-31-2012, 09:00 PM
I have never found beequick to be very effective, in any application, (perhaps some people have), and I have never used it in a trapout. cchoganjr
My experience has been that Beequick works fairly well for getting bees out of honey supers, but will not get nurse bees to abandon brood at all.

01-31-2012, 09:43 PM
well, I just need some honey. I've got the Beequick. I will be building 2 trap hives in deeps, based on the diagram from Kelley - I've got 2 deeps that will never do for stacking with supers, etc, courtesy of extremely poor workmanship. And I now have a 2nd house that wants their bees removed alive, a bit farther away than the first one. The experiment is ON... I have got to cut wood and put it together when I am awake enough to keep fingers attached.


02-01-2012, 08:52 AM
If you can work it out with the home owner, you could have a gold mine there, and get a bunch of new starts from this hive. This will also ensure the bees use up all the honey in the old comb, preventing any other pests like ants and cockroaches.
A frame of brood from a friend every few weeks and in return give them some starts.

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
02-01-2012, 09:06 AM
I really thought someone would pick up on my comments about BeeGo. cchoganjr

02-01-2012, 10:51 AM
It is in the works.

That is really good news. You are a wealth of knowledge and I know several of us await that video. I have a few opportunities to use the swarm harvester and need to send you an email so that I can get your detailed instructions. I for one think that there should be a sticky on this forum where you can post the instructions. Barry, are you listening?:D

02-01-2012, 07:54 PM
If you can work it out with the home owner, you could have a gold mine there, and get a bunch of new starts from this hive. This will also ensure the bees use up all the honey in the old comb, preventing any other pests like ants and cockroaches.

I'm hoping so - maybe not all from one homeowner, but think how many sevin dust kills this could prevent. Getting the queen on a trapout is unknown in my bee club locally. Unless the hive can be cutout quickly, apparently it is a dead loss, and whether an exterminator or a beekeeper, the bees are killed?

I still want to know who killed all the bees in my neighborhood in 2010. Probably I already have met them, maybe I don't want to know.
I'm thinking about a magnetic sign that says "bee rescue" for my truck, if this works. I'm finishing building tonight, going to test mount the swarm catcher 8 ft up on the inside of my garage wall to test balance, support, etc. Will take pictures of the equipment and post them.


02-02-2012, 10:05 PM
I guess I offended half off the people who do removals, I do apologize, I tried to edit the post from my cell phone, blew the browser, and now it's too late to edit.. It was not my intent to be mean and sarcastic. Rather to be honest.
Bees most serious disease issue in my part of Texas (DFW) appears to be humanity, particularly humans with Sevin dust. I just don't see the disease and varroa issue creating half the challenge that suburban civilization with pesticide use is doing.

I had regular work today, about 12 hours of it. I have not figured out how to attach this modified deep swarm harvest 8 feet above the ground, and 8 feet below the eaves of the house, and have it not vulnerable to wind, and not creating a hazard to humans below. A box of bees on the head would not be a good thing. But it is my sincere intent to figure out how. I got in this to do better removals, and to have bees to pollinate my garden, and other gardens. Honey would be nice, income from bee removals, splits, nucs, would be nice. But my first thing is to keep a few bees alive around here. I think the Swarm Harvester idea is a very good one, if I can adapt it to houses. Because there just aren't that many bee trees in the city.



02-03-2012, 01:16 PM

Get three 2x4's that are 8' long. Two will be for the "back legs" and the third is to make a platform to rest the trap out hive on. If is wood siding, drill a couple holes in the 2x4 and screw the platform to the house. Make sure you have attached the 2x4 legs to the front of the platform first, just makes things easier! If the house is stucco/brick, use a masonary bit and drill a couple holes then insert the expandable plastic inserts in the hole, like the ones used for hanging pictures in sheetrock. After your done with the trap out, remove everything and use a putty to seal the holes.

Hope this helps!!

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
02-03-2012, 03:59 PM
BeeGhost has the right idea. I normally use 4X4 for this type, but, 2 X 4 will work just as well. Nail a board or two (like steps on a ladder), so the 2 X 4's will be more stable. Use a sturdy ladder to work the box or around it.


02-03-2012, 04:54 PM
I think I'm going to expand on BeeGhost's idea. I have a 6 ft tall tower shelf in my garage, built for a closet 10 years ago, overbuilt, 2x4's and 3/4 inch thick removable shelves. If I need something for varying heights at varying times, and sway proof to boot, I add the extra 2 ft of height at the bottom with both vertical and angled out boards that widen the foot print at ground level. Bolts with butterfly nuts.

I want stable, sturdy, storeable, and re-usable easily. Because I have a funny feeling this may be a common situation. when not in use, gold up the lower legs, stack the saw blade sharpener, insulation and junk back on it in the garage.

I can also use ground anchored ties (when we get wind here it is serious wind,) and a couple of drilled in bolts to the house, either into masonry, or into solid framing through the siding. Got customer's permission to drill the bees a new entrance, so I can mount to all siding, I'll caulk the edge they've been using and drill the hole on Monday when it's colder. I also have figured out how to improve on the napkin situation to block the interior access. Home Depot sells this wonderful foam tube to stuff in window frames in different diameters. I use 3/8 on my aluminum windows, removable caulk but not sticky, just foam. I think 5/8 would totally block the bees access to the house, since the LIGHT is what is drawing them. Only 2 bees got in since my last visit, a huge improvement. Afterward, can leave the stuff in place or remove, either way. Maybe $5. Thanks for all your help. Eating dinner, and testing my support stuff. I'll be out on my day job for about 14 hours tomorrow.


02-06-2012, 08:23 PM
There's a couple pics of a simple hive trapout stand, on my website http://www.crrpainting.com/crronpainting/bee-removal-2/
for reference.

02-06-2012, 08:34 PM
Wow Rick, that's a tall one. I've got my 6 ft, well braced closet shelving unit painted (for weather proofing - it's 10 years old but never been rained on. Building the lower 2 ft, adjustable section tonight if I can stay awake, and then I think I'm ready to set it up early tomorrow morning. I had some truck issues that interfered with today's schedule greatly. (and almost stranded me Saturday evening coming home from "work" 50 miles away after dark, not fun.) L brackets with screws going into the mortar holding that at the top? Yes.


02-06-2012, 08:52 PM
L brackets with screws going into the mortar holding that at the top? Yes.

Gypsi Actually, I just used some plumbing strap that comes in a roll.. attached with masonry nails. same thing on the slab on the bottom. Has to stay up for quite awhile, and didn't want any kids knocking it over.

02-06-2012, 09:08 PM
I've got pipe strap. and that is an excellent idea. With no fence to keep people away from mine, while the homeowners won't mess with it, I don't know if there are unsupervised children on this street. Kids do find trouble. I've got to get the liability waiver signed as well. Before I put anything up. In the morning.


02-07-2012, 07:58 PM
The trap is set. I drilled a 3/4 inch opening into the center of the trap entrance, and I caulked up the areas where the bees had been coming out around the left corner of the siding with pure silicone caulk. L brackets on the very solid tower, L brackets on the trap mount, screwed into 2x4 behind the siding, I'm comfortable that it's not coming down. Homeowner would NOT have been comfortable with us drilling into her already crumbly mortar and brick. 1212 It's all good. She knows where the bees are supposed to come out, and now, we wait. When we see them using the hive, I need to get open brood?


02-08-2012, 11:31 AM
You need to put a couple frames of brood in there now. So they have a reason to go in, and stay.

02-08-2012, 11:35 AM
Also, I don't know how you have that hive setup (maybe some kind of entrance in the rear?) But you ultimately want a funnel/cone facing slightly up or down , with the entrance to the bait hive at the same level, and right next to their current entrance.

02-08-2012, 02:19 PM
Those bees aren't going to be going anywhere for a couple of days, it's cold out. So I have a bit of time before I buy a nuc to steal its brood (no, I'm not kidding - I have zero bees until my ordered nucs come in April). On the setup, the larger wooden tube (about 4.5 inches square) wrapped in black plastic is bolted to the house. an inner tube, roughly 2.75 inches square, slips into it, and into the back of the bait hive. Standard solid bottom board with bottom entrance is screwed to the hive, facing away from the house, so they exit the tube into the hive, and exit the hive to the outside world. (Dadant missed my staples on my order). And for an eventual funnel, before I solidly mounted the inner tube, I stapled windowscreening around it. Right now, it's wide open. A twist tie will turn it into a funnel when I'm ready, after the queen is in the bait hive.

I put in 5 frames on the side away from the entrance. 2 covered with comb (sprayed with BT), 3 empty, that I can swap out for brood when I get it. No LGO - don't want to attract a new swarm to the box. and I did my best to seal their other exits, inside the house and out. So now, before I get comb, I wait to see if they will come out the 3/4 inch diameter hole we drilled in the siding, at the center of the dual tubes. We'll see.

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
02-08-2012, 02:46 PM
Gypsi...Yes you need drawn comb now or else you will have to wait until the bees run out of space in the feral area for them to move out into the trap and go to work. Without drawn comb, the guard bees will move out to the new entrance, some cleaners/housekeepers will move out to clean the trap, and that is perhaps all unless you have the funnel in place. Even then, the field bees will have no place to deposit pollen/nectar until cells are drawn. Wax drawers will not come out until they need aditional comb.

ktmwoodsrider..... I believe he is using the Hogan Swarm Trap Method and the trap has become an integral part of the colony. Connected to the feral colony in the rear. The bees do not leave the source except through the trap. Can only get back in, through the trap. Once he introduces unsealed brood, he will get nurse bees, housekeepers, fanners, drones, everything he needs for starts, and if the rear entrance is not too far from the feral brood nest, the queen will come into the trap to investigate how eggs got into her hive. At that point she will start laying in the trap and can be moved with the bees in the trap. cchoganjr

02-08-2012, 02:48 PM
I gave them 2 very full frames of drawn comb - deep frames. The 3 empty frames are pretty much spacers til I get brood. and until they come out and find the box, and it warms up, the brood would die of cold. How is my timing?

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
02-08-2012, 04:41 PM
Looking Good. First warm day that bees are flying, check to see if they are exiting and entering the trap from the front.. Guard bees should have moved out there. This will also tell you if you have all the entrances/exits sealed. Would really appreciate it if you will keep us informed.


02-08-2012, 05:39 PM
I will absolutely keep you informed Cleo - but weather for bees may not break until Monday. In the meantime I'm contacting bee club members looking for brood, and we meet Monday night. So Hopefully, warm weather, bees exiting through the Hogan Trap, will coincide with my finding brood...

Thank you for all your help,

02-08-2012, 08:25 PM
I checked my trap out today as well. Not many bees were exiting the trap, maybe one or two in like 10 minutes. So, I took the trap down and checked inside and found some bee parts and mouse turds.........not good. So upon removing the swarm trap I seen more bees coming out of the entrance I made in a minute then I did in the whole time I was sitting there!! I think the mistake I made was putting the trap on to early without letting the bees get used to the new entrance/exit for a few days or a week before joining the trap. So, I am going to leave the trap off and just let the bees do as they will for about a week. Its suppose to be around 70 here the next few days, so I will probably set the trap again on Monday. I should be able to scrounge up a frame or two of fully drawn comb, but being a new beekeeper I am short on that end!!

02-08-2012, 08:40 PM
I am anticipating similar problems. I would have preferred to just attach the mount to start, to let them get used to the new opening I drilled (no way to mount anything over a 6 inch seam where brick and siding meet so I caulked that closed.)

But if I did a good job sealing all openings, maybe they will check things out. Time will tell.

If I have to take the trap down it will be easy, as what is screwed on with brackets is the mount, and my shelving unit, not the hive. By the same token, if I get one queen, brood, bees, and I suspect there is another queen being made, I can swap traps at that time, without changing the mount. (still have to build trap 2, but I have another useless deep, so it will take all of 15 minutes. And in a week or 2, free 2nd hive? hmmm....

02-14-2012, 04:43 PM
I hope you don't mind me jumping into this thread too. Thank you to Cleo for sending me pictures and suggestions; I too am convinced this is the way to go to start extracting an old feral hive from my neighbor's fence. It will be wonderful to see how all of these turn out!

My immediate question is how warm should it be before I 'should' open my one and only hive (which appears to be doing great...lots of activity) in order to steal a frame of brood for this trap? I have much work to do setting up the transition first, then setting a trap close to the entrance (on a slope), so anticipate at least 2 more weeks to go by before I join up the trap and transition. I'd like to just draw the queen out immediately if I can once they are joined and take them away..... this is a case where the homeowners do not want bee and want them out as soon as able.

I have either a 5 frame nuc or maybe will modify and use one of my 8 frame deeps for this.

Once I get the bees; do I need to move them at least 3 miles from the hive so they do not return?
thank you!
Kimberly, Novato CA (newbie)

02-14-2012, 08:22 PM
CA Bees - the bees need us all!

I have a member of our local bee group ready to provide a frame of brood for mine. It finally warmed up today. My truck is in the shop near where my trapout is set up. I need to confirm the bees are going through my trap (and no other entrances/exits), and then how long do I wait before I add that frame of brood? Temp went to nearly 70 today, is holding warm (over 55) all week. But night time temp is 40 Thursday night, 34 Saturday night. Don't want to chill the scarce brood.



02-17-2012, 08:26 PM
Well I guess I killed this thread. On the news front, I went to see the trap today, and the bees are moving in and out of the trap entrance, foraging for elm pollen. I think I caught part of an orientation flight about 1 pm today, after the sun came out. Still a bit cool - I've been thinking about this stuff:


Super Boost - brood pheromone - recommended by Michael Bush, but NOT for this purpose I suspect....


02-17-2012, 11:27 PM
No, you didn't kill the thread and I hope you keep reporting on your progress! I am going to work equipment this weekend for my fence extraction...first create the entrance and let them get use to that and fashion a swarm trap to attach to it in a week or so. I'm in no rush as the weather has turned windy/cold. I have to set up empty hives for any swarms I capture or trap as well. I have to decide where else to set my traps; I don't have many and hate to get them ripped off.
Please do let us know how it continues to go and remember pictures!

02-18-2012, 09:26 AM
I'm only setting 5 swarm traps remote right now - til I build a couple of plywood traps. And tops and bottoms on these - are 3/8 inch plywood. Old or sub-par homebuilt equipment - nucs good enough to hang frames for traps, but that would never work as part of a double nuc stack since the frame ledge is the wrong height. I'm screwing the lids and bottoms on. That way I don't lose telescoping tops and good bottom boards if they get stolen.

In the meantime, Cleo, are you around? I've got bees flying through, high of 53 today, low of 47 or so, but low in the 30's tomorrow. Is there a temperature guideline for installing the brood frame? (My guess would be warmer)


02-18-2012, 09:28 PM

I would probably wait a bit. I just checked my trap out hive on Friday and very few bees were coming and going. More activity than before, but still not the activity that I am confident with to keep a frame of brood alive. Probably a couple weeks out before things really start happening. I am assuming that major activity is needed before the frame should be installed, but like you, this is my first trap out as well!!

02-21-2012, 11:23 AM
The hive in the fence here in Novato is showing NO Activity at all whatsoever so I am waiting to make sure they are still alive. A friends double deep super hive died out almost overnight....completely full frames of brood and honey...probably mites..this is across the street from the fence feral hive. Another friend lost 4 hives from 8 (Petaluma)...we are being hit hard. My hive is still strong...took the top feeder off since I am no longer feeding them (fed them because they were a new, small hive given to me going into fall) and the top feeder was full of crystalized sugar drawing ants.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a top between the frames and top feeder and they had draw comb up and into it! So when it came up so did two middle frames and smart aleck me did not use smoke ...wow, bees can sting thru jeans! Ouch and my poor red dog got stung too when she followed me as I was running... lesson learned.

Got the smoke and an opportunity to see they are filling out the frames nicely on my deep...will leave them alone for a couple more weeks before adding a medium super on top. Next day they were hard at work as ever...things are budding out here...so no worst for wear (3 nice welts on my thigh though...).

Swarm trap set in deep woods close to oak hive which is very active. Lesson learned...need to make them lighter! Used a medium super with screwed on thin plywood top and bottom...put 4 frames inside and lemongrass crushed (just ordered oil). I wanted to give them room to stay as I won't check it for a few weeks. Rethinking additional traps...I have degenerative disks in my neck and cannot carry heavy stuff too far...

Questions of the day: do you all put frames in your traps? Do you expect the swarm to stay in there for a few days before you can get to them?

Oh and we did have one swarm reported in Mill valley for those loco-yokos keeping track. I think spring is here...suppose to hit the 70s all week this week....

02-21-2012, 11:38 AM
I put all of the frames in the traps. I dont' want them to start drawing comb to the areas where the frames arent and from what I understand they will and seem to prefer it. I only check traps about once a week so that's the time they may be there before I realize it and then perhaps a day or so longer until I can get there in the evening to close them up and take them where I want them.

02-21-2012, 04:45 PM
For the same reason as delber I fill my traps with frames. I think it's prudent to use frames that will fit in your equipment. That way removal from the trap and into the hive is a breeze.

I use foundationless frames and find that the comb needs support or it will fall out in our heat. To that end I run fishing line through the frame wire holes in my frames. It is resilient and if you get a good stretch on it will last a long time. I find that bees will attach comb to the top bar but not necessarily to the sides and bottom. Eventually they do but it seems to take a long time. Until they get the job done the fishing line does a good job of supporting your comb.

If you are using foundationless frames in your traps or hives it is imperative that you keep your traps and hives level or you will have crooked comb problems. I like foundationless frames in my traps as it gives the bees space to cluster in the trap which I have read they like to do. I have yet to build a trap with a window on the side so I could watch this behavior but I've thought about it. Something along the lines of Dennis Murrels 4 frame observation hive:

http://beenatural.wordpress.com/plans/observation-hive/ (I've wanted to build one of these for years)

Of course this would mean I'd have to luck out and pretty much catch the swarm moving in so I could watch all this. It's on my wish list.

02-21-2012, 04:52 PM
Thank you all....I need to go re-visit my swarm trap and fill it up with frames....I will try the fishing line method as I too, do not have much success trying to get the natural beeswax to stick.

02-21-2012, 05:51 PM
Cleo hasn't been around for a while and I have a question. I don't understand how he blocks the entrance of the swarm harvester and where he puts the red plastic cone bee escape. None of the pictures I've looked at make this clear. Can anyone who purchased the WTK version or received Cleo's instructions shed light on how he blocks the tunnel and where he puts the bee escape? I'm imagining grooves on he bottom and two sides of the interior tunnel that let you slide a piece of luaun with the escape in it at the end of the tunnel. Any ideas?

02-22-2012, 12:56 PM
I just heard from him and will copy what he wrote me as I asked about the queen blocker too. He is pretty much away from the internet until March 9th. He had also sent me pictures and verified there will be two holes...one on the side attaching to the hive, one as an escape from the hive. The bees use it as a new chamber and when the time is right you put in a brood cell frame to lure the queen. This is where you use the queen excluder if your goal is to exterminate the hive (the one I'm targeting has to be gotten rid of per the homeowner). Otherwise if you are just gathering new hives you don't have to use it as your bees should create a new queen from the brood cells. I hope this helps:

From Cleo:
"The little red funnel is used to preclude the bees from re-entering the feral source if you are wanting to eliminate the feral colony. If you are takings starts, you do not need the little red funnel. It is a bee escape funnel, sold by Kelly, Dadant, Maxant, ( 5 for $2.00 or thereabouts), and others to restrict re-entry of bees into honey supers prior to harvest."

02-22-2012, 12:57 PM
P.s. he did not describe how to block the tunnel, I imagine you would block it same as a swarm trap with material of your choice when it comes time to move it!

02-25-2012, 07:59 PM
I checked my Hogan trap today, went to add a screen funnel to stop the bees from re-entering the wall. When I was last there, 2/17, they were flying freely from the house through the hive to forage. That would be about 8 days ago. I did add the funnel. I did not see one bee in my visit though. Not in the hive box, in the air around it. Temp was about 65 degrees, beautiful sunny spring day, I went up the ladder fully suited.

My thoughts are:
1. It was near 32 last night, maybe they decided not to come out?
2. Absconded for whatever reason.
3. Robbed out? Given that we've had pollen, elm, since I put it on, I don't think so.
4. Died, for whatever reason. There was a fairly hard freeze, maybe 27 degrees 2 weeks ago, after my last visit (will have to look up-thread to find out exactly when that was, I believe it was the day I dropped off the Ranger to the shop.)

Any other ideas - I'm open. In the meantime, the screen funnel is on the tube inside the hive trap, about 3/8 inches in diameter. Bees can come out, but going in will be difficult. I'll recheck Wednesday - if no bees I guess I'll cork the hole in her wall and take the trap down. We have steadily warming temperatures until then.


Cleo C. Hogan Jr
02-26-2012, 01:18 PM
Gypsi...Everyone. I am in Florida for three weeks. Internet service next to zero. Will be back in Kentucky on 10 March. Will catch up then.



Cleo C. Hogan Jr
02-26-2012, 01:31 PM
Gypsi... I would tend to believe that your bees have clustered again and will not come out until 50 degree plus weather. If you are having 32 degree nights, it is way too cold to be trapping. You need a good honeyflow, lots of brood in the feral colony, and the feral colony running out of room in order for them to mass occupy your trap. That is why trees work so much better than houses. They run out of room quicker.

If you introduce your brood too soon, the bees may abandon it,(in the trap), and cluster in the feral area.

Be patient, let the feral hive build up before attempting to trap.


03-14-2012, 02:33 AM
The pain with trees, is sealing the entrance, and placing the trap. You have to build a support, seal the entrance to the trap. Nothing is square. haha. You have to get creative!

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
03-14-2012, 05:48 AM
Chick... actually a tree is very easy to seal the entrances. Use a roll of 3ft wide black plastic and wrap around tree. As for support, attach your transition securely to the tree and the transition will hold the trap. If you can't do that, you can also use, (borrow one if you have to) a portable deer stand.

If that doesn't work, then be creative. HA!!!


03-14-2012, 08:14 AM
I waited on brood, but I did have a cone on there, so any bees in the outer hive might not have been able to return, and while we didn't get to freezing, they might have gotten chilly. Hope to get to check on the trap in the next day or 2. Other work has been very busy and I've been driving the wrong direction. We have nice solid warm weather now, at least for the next week.


Cleo C. Hogan Jr
03-14-2012, 09:04 AM
Here is a link to my photobucket account. The first two photos shows one trap, Horse Cave trap, with the brood comb wrapped around the transition to aid in getting the queen,( the bees actually go through the frames to enter the trap, and the second photo , Ridenour trap, shows the frames placed along side the tunnel for getting starts.


The second line of photos show the transition on the trees at Horse Cave and Ridenour. You can see how the transition is attached to the trees. and how the entrances are sealed off.

If you have questions, let me know.


03-14-2012, 05:17 PM
I don't know if there are even bees in that trap. Regular work keeps pulling me away. They'd best be self-sufficient bees.

03-18-2012, 11:34 PM
great, just what i need, more ideas of what to do
this is cool, another thing i can plan while waiting for bees

03-19-2012, 02:18 PM
Lots of good info here. I have a current trapout running right now. It's an extra deep super. I've removed several hives from the ceilings of homes, and this one was in the ceiling, but the celing had a very expensive radiant heat copper system embedded in the plaster, and I just didn't want to do that much work.

The deep is supported by 2 heavy steel reinforced shelf brackets. I think they hold 200 lbs each. (happened to pick them up in a surplus store).

The cone was about 1.5 feet long, and pointed down just about to the entrace of the hive box. The end of the cone was just larger than 3/8 inch.

The siding was aluminum on the 2nd floor, and brick below, and the entrance to the hive was between them. The best tape in this situation is aluminum duct tape. You peel off a backing, and it's moldable, waterproof, and bonds to everything. Great stuff.

I put the cone and the decoy hive up near evening on one day. I put some old brood comb in there. The next day, I brought my donor frame of eggs and capped brood with nurse bees. When I opened up the deep, a lot of the trapped out workers were already on it. As soon as I put my frame of larva on, within minutes, the bees started fanning, and I watched a lot of the clustered bees start marching to the entrance. It was awesome.

I'm going to set up a swarm trap a few hundred feet away. Eventually, I hope to clear the old hive of bees. I'll close up the cone to see if I trap any bees in it, then I'll open it back up again and let the hive rob whatever is left of the old hive. Then, I'll seal it, and fill the cavity with spray foam.

This has been my first trapout. Seems to be going very well. Any pitfalls I need to look out for?

03-19-2012, 09:27 PM
If you want to get the queen out of the feral hive, would you put in the cone in right off the bat to get them to not go back in the building or do you think she would not come out as soon with it in place even with the uncapped brood in your trap?

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
03-19-2012, 09:40 PM
Ranch84 If you have it, put some drawn comb in the trap from the beginning. This will entice cleaners to start cleaning it and the trap. Let the bees go through the trap for a day or so, then introduce the uncapped brood. This will entice the queen to investigate who is laying eggs in her house, it will also bring out more cleaners, fanners, nurse bees etc., You will need to check each day or so to see if the queen is on one of your frames. When you have three or more frames covered with bees, I recommend moving them, adding a queen and starting a new hive.
Fill the trap again and keep trapping and you weaken the hive, and it dies.

send me an e-mail. [email protected] and I will send info that will tell you everything. Also some photos of actual traps in progress from start to ready to move.


03-19-2012, 09:49 PM
Thank you Very Much

03-21-2012, 09:23 AM
1485 My current trapout. Unfortunately, we're have a big early nectar flow (well, only unfortunate in this case) This deep box is almost full of nectar at only 10 days. What I've observed so far is that I have about 4 emergency queen cells, and some swarm cells that have eggs laid happhazardly, and some with 2 per cell. I had one emergency cell that was empty, but it didn't have the brown hairy remains of a hatch and it's only been ten days, so my guess is that they were forming a swarm cell and I have a laying worker somewhere in the box.

The box will probably get honey bound really quick. I don't really like the idea of adding a honey super on top of this hive. The weight might be too much for the tapcon screws that I used. About the only thing I can think of right now is to just pull any capped honey and replace it with empty frames until I'm sure that the old hive is empty.

Any other suggestions?

03-21-2012, 09:26 AM
I'd remove capped honey and swap for empty frames. Can't wait to go see mine today.


Cleo C. Hogan Jr
03-21-2012, 06:11 PM
RobWok..... Apparently the trap is too far from the feral brood nest for the queen and the nurse bees to come out into your trap and they are using it for honey stores. If this is the case, what you have in the trap is likely field bees, a few cleaners, a few fanners, and the guard bees. Not exactly what you want for a good start. You need nurse bees working the unsealed brood you put in there, lots of cleaners, fanners etc.

I would not put another box on top of that one, instead, i would move the nectar filled frames (give them to a weak hive or one that needs a boost) and start again. This time, when you add the unsealed brood, wait 24 hours and check, if you have three frames of bees, move them (bees on frames) (leave trap in place) and start again. Repeat until you so weaken the colony and it dies.


03-21-2012, 08:57 PM
Update on my trapout. Got zero bees, but the homeowner has zero bees too. I pulled the trap today and plugged the hole with a wad of duct tape. She needs that piece of siding replaced, I'll bid the replacement.

Meantime, have a licensed pest control guy for a partner for a cutout on Friday. It has at least 250,000 live bees. Time to catch some. They have not been sprayed and will not be sprayed. A bit of smoke and into boxes... and boxes. and boxes.


03-26-2012, 10:57 PM
New update on trapout. I plugged the hole, pulled the trap, and the bees started flying across the living room to visit the windows. Reinstalled Hogan swarm trap on Sunday 3/25, a little brood from my cutout. Hope to have some uncapped brood to add later this week, don't have any right now. But the bees are still there, they just never moved out into the trap, not even for honey storage. They are in a brick wall. It is trap out or sevin dust, and I'm not in favor of sevin.


03-27-2012, 10:14 AM
I hope it works Gypsi...stubborn bees! Would hate to see them poisoned! Can you plug all the other holes (how were they getting into the house)?

03-27-2012, 08:09 PM
When I plugged the exterior hole, they pushed my foam insulation out of the crack in the wall and started exiting through the house again. I need to more permanently seal that crack. But they do need to come out. On the bright side, I have uncapped brood, freshly laid eggs, in the top frame from my cutout. So I can now add uncapped brood to draw the nurse bees out. I have a fairly loose screen cone - the queen could get through even if she is plump. I may be too far from the broodnest, that I don't know about. But I am where they were entering and exiting, and the broodnest is in a brick wall that must be getting kind of crowded, it being spring and all.


03-27-2012, 11:12 PM
Gypsy & Rob: Please keep posting your experiences. I want to start one myself in a few weeks.

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
03-28-2012, 06:18 AM
I started my first one of the year yesterday, on the tree identified as the "Horse Cave Trap" in my photobucket account, and the photos I have sent to several of you. It is still early here to be trapping, but I thought I would let them get used to going through the trap. There were lots of bees flying, so it appears to be strong again this year. I took three good starts from this tree last year.

I will get some photos in the next few days and get them posted.


03-28-2012, 10:00 AM
I started a trap out in an old house about 10 days ago using Mr. Hogan's method. The entrance is only about 2 feet off the ground in some rotten boards. My idea was to use a graduated nozzle (tapered) from a shop vac. I attached it to the wall and drilled a hole in a MiteAway II spacer board and sat that on top of a deep box. After a few days I realized that I missed a crack around my funnel so plugged the hole. Hope to get back today to check and see how the progress is coming. Will try and get som pictures of my contraption posted.

03-28-2012, 11:18 AM
Yes please do keep posting on your progress. I am still searching for a tree away from a the trails I can try this method on but the beehives all seem to be 2 feet from the trails and I'm afraid my equipment would get stolen! The fence bees do not seem to have survived the winter. Now we are into our 2nd week of rain, rain, rain and I am just hopful my one and only hive will survive! I am so ready for spring for real!

03-28-2012, 01:23 PM
I checked my trap out really quick today and seen a few bees sneaking out from around the "tree shroud" that I put up. More duct tape and then I stuffed the heck out of everything with stuff I could find on the ground. Looked good when i left! The bees are using the trap out box but I just dont want any using an alternate route! I will set the funnel tomorrow and see if the frames load up with bees and hopefully have a strong start by the weekend!

Will the queen go through the funnel trap, or should I just add a frem of open brood first with the funnel off and hope the queen comes out to check things out? Also, if the tree is already crowded, would the bees push the queen out into the box to lay eggs?

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
03-28-2012, 03:50 PM
Bee Ghost...Others.... Let me share some of my experiences with trapping over the years. I am not saying that this is the only way, or that it is the best way, I am just sharing how I would do it, from what I have observed.

I don't believe I have ever had a queen come through the funnel. I doubt that she would, but she might. After the bees are going through the tunnel, all entrances are closed off except the front of the trap, and the guard bees are on the landing board, the first thing that happens is cleaners will clean the brood combs you put in the trap and the trap itself. When there are lots of cleaners in the trap, and bees are going and coming freely, place a frame of unsealed brood (NO BEES) in the trap. Don't seal off the end of the tunnel just yet. Let it be for a few days. Things will pick up very quickly. Nurse bees will move into the trap to tend the brood, more cleaners and fanners will move into the trap, workers will continue to come through the tunnel, gather pollen and nectar, and some will return to the feral colony, while others start to deposit nectar and pollen in the brood combs you provided. The queen will come into the trap to investigate the unsealed brood, in essence, wanting to know who is laying eggs in her house.

Numbers of bees will tell you a lot. IF, withing 24-48 hours you do not have 3 to 5 pounds of bees in the trap, (6-10 pounds is not uncommon the first trapping in the Spring, on a good source), it tells you a few things.
1. The colony is too weak to trap. If this is the case, just leave the trap in place and let it build up.
2. The trap is too far from the feral colony brood nest for the additional nurse bees, queen, cleaners, etc. to come out into it. Wait and see if the hive builds up and needs more room. Watch to see if workers are storing nectar in preparation for using this area as honey stores area, rather than another brood chamber, which is what you want.

If you do not find the queen in the trap or the queen does not start laying in the trap,
1. the trap may be too far from the brood nest. If this is the case, most often you will see formation of queen cells from the open brood you provided. The bees that moved out into the trap consider it a seperate place, rather than an integral part of their colony, and will try to make themselves a new queen. Once those cells are formed and capped, then, they will likely bring the queen out to investigate. If so, you will see the queen cells chewed up, or destroyed. If nothing happens to those queen cells, , those queen cells will hatch if you leave it in place, and you will have two colonies with a shared entrance. Your trap, and the original feral source. At his point, you will need to close off the end of the tunnel so bees can come out of the feral source, but, cannot go back. Get enough bees, and move, install a new queen, or, if those queen cells are still capped, let them continue making themselves a queen.
2. The queen does not need additional room to lay eggs. Again, allow the colony to build up and need additional brood combs, and area to lay.

If the tree is already crowded, the bees and the queen will immediately move into your trap because here is additional brood combs, and space for eggs and storing honey. This is what normally happens to a good, strong colony. 24 hours and you have 3-6 pounds of bees. I don't know that the bees would "push" the queen out, but, more likely she will just move out to another place to lay eggs. Another brood chamber.

Hope this has been helpful. If you have specific questions, just let me know. Happy to share my experiences with trapping.


04-24-2012, 01:47 PM
Mr. Hogan, first let me say thanks for taking the time and effort to share your wisdom. It is much appreciated.

My question is, when first installing the tunnel over the entrance to the tree, is there a "best" time of day to do this, and do you smoke the bees before hand?

Also, in one of the previous posts you mentioned using black plastic to seal around the entrance. I have a bunch of thick rubber material, like a pool liner. Do you think this would be ok to use?

04-24-2012, 04:01 PM
Yes thank you too for your information and help. I had a swarm move into someone's sycamore tree last week and she needs it out as it is in the middle of her yard. I've done a trap out but a little different based on the experiences of a local bee guy who is mentoring me. This method only differs in the fact he does not attach the funnel directly into a nuc but allows the bees to escape and find it on their own. I will attach a picture.

I used cardboard, netting and plumbers foam to seal up the rather large, jagged entrance. I did it in the heat of the day not on purpose, but because I went into my own bees to get a frame of comb, honey and brood. By nightfall the nuc had quite a few bees as they can't return to the mother hive and so the trap sits for a week until I can check it again. I'll bring more brood over and keep checking it to see if they are making a queen. The hive in the tree should continue to dwindle and unfortunately at the end it will be sealed up and the queen will be loss; but the hive itself will continue at another location. Mr. Hogan's most excellent method is very useful for keeping the mother hive intact; unfortunately this mother hive I'm working with cannot continue to live in the tree.

Here are the pictures; hoping in the end it will work.

04-24-2012, 04:49 PM
CA did you smoke them when you attached the funnel?

When using Mr. Hogans method, after the queen has come into the trap, you can add the funnel (in the kit) to prevent bees from returning to the mother hive. You get the same result (removal of the mother hive) but you get the queen as well. With Mr. Hogans application, as I understand it, he just removes the trap with the queen in it and gets a start, then lets the mother hive raise a new queen so he can get another start when the mother hive recovers.

Good luck with your trapout.

04-24-2012, 04:56 PM
No I did not smoke them but should have as I got a couple pretty pissed off. I need to get them out a.s.a.p. and can't wait for the queen to decide this is another chamber; especially as they are deep inside this vry old tree. Mr. Hogan's method has a 50% chance of getting the queen and one has to wait until the bees view it as a new chamber and build everything up. Unfortunately I need to just capture as many as I can and let them create a new queen, close up the hole. If it were a wild hive where no one was involved it would be a different story....

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
04-24-2012, 07:34 PM
Beev When installng the tunnel to the tree, time of day does not matter. You will seal off all entrances/exits, and the tunnel is large enough for them to come and go without being confused. Try to use their primary entrance.

Thick rubber should work fine. I sometimes use plastic corn sacks. The purpose is to seal off the exits/entrances, and to blacken out all light. If the bees see light through the wrapping, they will spend all their time trying to get to the light. That is why screen wire does not work.

As with any other bee operation, smoke them only if necessary. I don't find it necessary, very often, to smoke them when installing the fitting on the tree


Cleo C. Hogan Jr
04-24-2012, 07:43 PM
Cabee... You are using a modification of the cone funnel method. Tested and proven over time.

In my method you will get. guard bees, nurse bees, fanners, cleaners, quicker because the trap is an integral part of the colony. In the cone funnel method, you get mostly field bees until fanners, cleaners, guard bees, nurse bees come out for cleansing flights or to rest in hot weather.

Both will work.


Greg Lowe
04-26-2012, 06:17 PM
Mr. Hogan,
On average, how long would you think your method would take for a trap-out versus the cone funnel method? It seems that once you get the queen in the trap box and funnel the the other entrance, you are looking at somewhere around 3-4 weeks (assuming you let the brood in the structure hatch out). The cone funnel method could take 6-8 weeks or longer.

Am I close with my timelines?

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
04-26-2012, 07:50 PM
My method will also likely take 6 to 8 weeks for colony elimination.. Keep in mind that there is brood that is hatching daily in the feral colony. Also, during a good honey flow, the feral colony will immediately make themselves a new queen. From there you are looking at 20 plus days for her to start replinishing the colony. But, by that time, you will likely have taken three or four starts, and significantly weakened the hive. As you furthur weaken it, it cannot sustain itself, and the colony will perish.

The cone funnel method will work well on trapouts, I used it for years. The advantage of my improvement is that you have a good chance of getting the queen, and you get a good mix of bees for starts, In the cone funnel method, you first get field bees, then you only get nurse bees, fanners, cleaners, as they leave for cleansing flights and cannot get back to their colony, and take up residence in the trap box nearby.

In my method you immediately get guard bees, fanners, cleaners, nurse bees, etc, because the trap is an integral part of the colony. As soon as you introduce the unsealed brood, you will get a rush of bees, into the trap, with the proper mix to make a start. Traditionally within 24 - 36 hours. Remove the frames, add another unsealed brood and once again you get the mix to make starts because the trap is just another part of their colony. Remove as soon as you have three plus pounds of bees, (3 frames well covered), and you are weakening the feral colony.

Still, it is likely to take 6 to 8 weeks to eliminate the colony.


Greg Lowe
04-27-2012, 09:59 AM
I have been chewing on this since I got a call yesterday to remove a hive from inside a tree. They want the bees gone ASAP.

If you would, please look over this thought process and see where my flaws are, I would be very appreciative.

1. Using the Hogan Method, you get lucky and catch the queen in the trap on day 1 or day 2.
2. Then you come back and take away the bees that are there with her (to suplement another hive or to put into a nuc)
3. Add another frame of larvae/brood to the trap
4. Move the queen back into the trap with a cone/funnel over the entrance so she cant go back into the tree and lay

Option 1----------
Now the portion of the colony in the tree would not think they are queenless since their queen is still there in what they perceive to be another part of the hive giving off her phermones.

This being the case, they have no inclination to raise up an E-Queen.

Option 2----------
The portion of the colony in the tree would think they are queenless, since their queen has been MIA for a couple of days.

This being the case, they take action and raise up an E-Queen. The E queen will hatch in 13 days or so, depending upon the age of the larve used to make her. A few days later, she will go on an orientation flight, but when she leaves the tree (through the cone) she can't return. There are now no more eggs that can be used to raise up another queen inside the tree.

================================================== =======================
Regardless of what happens inside the tree with E-queen or not, in the next 3 weeks, more bees would be hatching and moving into the trap for the various reasons you have mentioned and the number of bees inside the tree would be diminishing every day. In 3 weeks, there would be no more capped brood inside the tree. It may take them another little while to deplete the stores inside the tree, but they have to eventually come through the funnel to do a cleansing flight.

After 3 weeks, from installing the funnel, there would be no more capped brood inside the tree. At this point you could remove the trap, run a small tube through the cone/funnel and blow a shot of Bee-quick inside the tree. Since there is no more brood inside, many of the remaining bees would exit immediately. Then the opening in the tree can be sealed and the trapout is over. I'm thinking this would be closer to 4 weeks.

I'm sure there is something I have overlooked and if so, it would be good to know.

All of the above plan is of course based upon getting the queen in the first day or 2. If that doesn't happen, then the clock starts ticking when you do catch the queen and get the funnel installed.

Obviously, the queen can be removed from the trapout 6-7 days after the funnel is installed if one were inclined to keep her genetics going. Because at this point, it won't matter if the bees inside the tree think they are queenless as they have no more eggs available for E-queens. Also, if the bees act using option 2, removing the old queen would allow the E-queen when she emerges through the cone to use the trap for laying eggs in after she is bred.

04-27-2012, 04:16 PM
Greg, how long have the bees been in the tree? I'm dealing with a new swarm where I don't think they've had much time to create comb for the queen to start laying; I think an established hive would be different. CaBees.

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
04-27-2012, 05:34 PM
Greg Lowe Here are my comments..... Option one.

1. I would think that with the cone funnel installed, and the queen not able to move back into the feral source, the feral source would immediately create queen cells and attempt to make themselves a queen, which they could do it there are viable eggs there. This would especially be true if the trap is some distance from the feral brood nest.

2. Rather than take her, then return her, then take her away again, I would just move her and start a new hive with her genetics.

3. Moving another frame of unsealed brood will just start the trapping process all over, but with a reduced number of bees in the tree. (the ones you moved).

4. I don't see any real value to moving a queen back into the trap, if the entrance is sealed with a cone funnel, or a plastic funnel. The unsealed brood will bring the nurse bees, cleaners, fanners, etc. into the trap. The queen will likely start laying eggs in the trap, but that is not really any more beneficial than just adding the unsealed brood. I'm not sure I would want to cage and release, cage and release a queen. She might just take what bees are available and leave.

I don't think it is just giving off phermones that that will keep the feral colony from starting a queen of their own. Have you ever noticed when you make a split, and you hang the queen, but they don't get her out of the tube. They will start making a queen, even tho she is right their giving off phermones. If she isn't available and laying eggs, they will attempt to supercede her.

Option 2. If a queen has been MIA for a couple of days, I would expect the colony to immediately start making a queen. Remember they only have 5 - 7 days, and then they have no viable eggs.

I am not sure that I have ever had a queen come through the funnel that I use in the trapping process. If your cone funnel is large enough for the queen to come through, it may also be large enough for bees to return to the feral colony. That would be a close call as to exact size of the cone opening.

With no more viable eggs, and no additional nectar and pollen being brought in, the colony begins to dwindle, and cannot sustain itself. Lack of bees to guard the brood comb, will make it susceptable to small hive beetles, and wax moth larve.

Other than these concerns, you have a logical thought process, and it should work.

Nothing is absolute about bees. Just when you think you have bees all figured out, they do something different. Learn a little from each trapout. Have fun. For me, that is the name of the game.


Greg Lowe
04-27-2012, 07:48 PM
Thank you for sharing your insight Mr. Hogan. Those are very good points. I guess my thoughts were that keeping the queen in what they consider to be another chamber of the hive would satisfy them such that they would not try to raise up another queen.

Thinking through it further, it would probably be best to move her if she is in the first bunch of bees. Then that puts me in the option 2 scenario where I can try to get the E queen in the trap later.

Thank you again!

@CaBees - I was told they have been there at least 3 and maybe 4 years.

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
04-27-2012, 08:03 PM
Greg Lowe... If the colony perceives that the queen cannot get back, and she is not laying in the brood nest, they will start supercedure. With the cone installed, even workers, nursebees etc cannot get back. Once you install the funnel, you will begin depleting the colony very rapidly.

I like to take two good big starts before installing the funnel. (Or in my case, closing off the tunnel) (My largest ever was 10 to 12 pounds from the Ridenour trap in 2010) Most starts ever from one trap in one year was 9, locust tree Horse Cave. If you take a second start immediately after moving the first, you likely will not have enough bees left in the feral source, (unless it is hugh), to come out and tend the unsealed brood that you introduce. At that point you will need to add the funnel and trap everything in the trap.

Good Luck.


05-06-2012, 10:34 AM
As a closing note, my long trapout will be a cutout soon. As soon as I have a couple of beeks to help pro-bono, I will pay my crew to install new siding when we are done, and she will pay me when she can to cover the scaffold, materials and crew.

The woman's husband is dying. I did succeed in keeping the bees out of the house, there is a rolled removable caulking at Home Depot that is like children's modeling clay, and gives off no fumes. Stuffed in all of the tiny openings in the wall leading into her den, and rolled out in a bead between brick wall and bookcase, it did the job.


05-06-2012, 08:58 PM
Mr. Hogan,
I installed my trap last Saturday with six medium frames of wax foundation and one frame of drawn comb. I had intended to return in a couple of days with a frame of brood but I had done a couple of splits two weeks prior and my queens had not begun laying again. I checked my hives yesterday and they have begun to lay again so will have some open brood in a day or two. Meanwhile, I checked my trap today, and they have completely drawn out all seven frames and filled them with nectar, and the box was very full of bees. Should I just add my brood frame in the middle and then check for the queen after 24 hours? I could probably add a super if I had to. Thoughts?

Cleo C. Hogan Jr
05-06-2012, 09:22 PM
If you have a box full of bees, (depending on what your objective is,) but, I would move them and either put a queen with them, or put a frame with unsealed brood and let them make themselves a queen. Start a new colony.

If they have the trap full of nectar, apparently they are using it for honey stores, not as a brood chamber. I would remove the nectar frames and bees, so as to start the process over and get them to use it as a brood nest, not honey stores. It may be that the brood nest is too far from your trap and the brood nest is split too far. Thus they are storing honey in the trap.

I have never added a super to a trap, but, I guess you could do it, and at some point you would have a tremendous colony. Or you could leave it and harvest the honey from the trap. This might be the first time I have heard of, where you harvest honey from a tree or house using removable frames. Most colonies in trees and houses do not have removable frames.

You could place the nectar filled frames to one side, and place your unsealed brood nearest the tunnel and see if you draw out nurse bees and the queen, but, looks like in this first round they are using it for storage.

I wonder if anyone else has had an experience like this. I can't say that I have.


05-15-2016, 09:29 AM

thanks for the email today. 6 Years later and this post is still helping people. My dad and I are starting to "Recover" bees from less desirable locations, and establishing them in our bee boxes. This method will be a great help to us, being that we have 2 swarms in 2 different steel tanker trailers that were used for road surface oil. We can not cut into the tanks as tar is flammable. We will construct this method and see how things work out.

Thanks again

Al Supak