Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

How do you get a caught swarm to stay put?

3393 Views 12 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Mr.Beeman
This is my first season attempting to capture swarms. I have captured 3 swarms so far. All have been collected from tree branches and such, none from bait hives. The first swarm left after about 5 days. The second stayed in its new hive and has been very productive. The third only stayed in the new hive about 24 hours. What should be done to help encourage them to stay? Im 1 for 3 and would like to increase my odds.
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
if you have a frame of open brood, it should help, the few swarms I have caught I did this and none of them left, but keep in mind that is not really enough data to go by. For what it's worth though, I have read several times of people doing that here with great success as well.
I never have trouble with them leaving. I use wax foundation.
That's a good suggestion about the open brood. It crossed my mind after they left. What about entrance reducers or closing the entrance with a screen for a day or 2? Would that help? Should I scent the hive with some lemon grass oil? I fed sugar syrup immediately in all 3 cases. The first 2 swarms, I used drawn out frames and it worked the second time, but not the first. The 3rd swarm was a brand new hive on plastic Foundation. I should have stolen a frame of brood from one of my other hives to put in there.
Catch the queens and leave only one in that swarm.
Add a frame of empty brood comb
Add a frame of open brood
add a drop or two of lemon grass oil
Paint propolis/alcohol wash inside the hive
Feed Syrup.

If you do any three out of the 5 things listed, your swarm should stay, I am 5 for 5 in my short beekeeping career
I caught 3 swarms in three bait hives in 1 day(on our property). One was in an old 10 frame deep and the other 2 were in cardboard nucs. There were old frames and lemongrass oil in each. I inserted a frame of honey into the 10 frame deep after a day or so of them being inside..they are still there(it has been a week and 1/2 since they moved in). I moved one of the cardboard nuc swarms into a 10 frame body with old frame/frame of honey...a week ago they are still there and I still have a small swarm in the other card board nuc to hive(waiting on extra hive bodies)..will move them into an 8 framer hive body with frame of honey and hopefully they'll stay.
In my experience in west central Texas the biggest reason for bees to abscond is that ants invade. I've had to resort to placing hives on stands with legs I can limit ant access with. Once a hive has gotten sides, corners, joints and such sealed with propolis they seem to be able to keep the ants at bay but especially with new clean equipment the ants can be relentless. I lost a couple swarms before learning this lesson.
My biggest problem has been the heat of South Texas. Since I have been putting the hives in the shade with some drawn comb, I haven't had any abscond. Once they get the ventilation system worked out, they can go in a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade. But with actual temps in the mid 90s, and much hotter in full sun, I would leave too. ;)
In no particular order: drawn brood comb, brood, old equipment, feed, queen excluder or clip. I'm a big fan of finding the queen and making sure you can contain her for a few days.

My typical configuration is a screened bottom board with a metal queen excluder on top of that. It keeps the queen in and doesn't get clogged up with drones or traffic plus provides good ventilation. In the box I like to sandwich a frame of brood between 2 old frames of empty brood comb. I feed with a mason jar feeder thru the inner cover. In about a week when I see eggs and young larvae, I pull the excluder.
All of the above (drawn comb, old equipment etc.) plus four drops of Lemongrass Essential Oil is very helpful...

Getting the queen, of course, is also helpful...

More and more I think fooling them into moving into the hive is really helpful. Put a sheet in front of the hive and rather than dumping them in, dump them in front...
Shade, foundationless frames, completely open entrance, a little more room than you think they would need, a few frames of drawn comb, used boxes, move them at night.

I catch 10 - 15 swarms a year and haven't lost any in the last two years.

1 - 13 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.