Catching a swarm

morning – I have aswarm in my garden & am trying to catch it – but need some advice….

– they have gathered at chest height in a bush.  Ive put an upside down bucket over the top of the swarm & it looks like they are gradually moving up into it

should I do anything else ?

if I gather it successfully, what’s the best way to transfer it into my spare hive ?

cheers.  J

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3 Responses to Catching a swarm

  1. Lynne says:

    Lucky you! Love swarms 🙂

    If collecting them in a bucket seems to be working, then you do not need to do anything else until they have all moved up. Once they are all, or mostly all, in the bucket, then you have a few options on hiving them.

    Time to hive? You could do this straight away, or you could take the bucket and place it in a cardboard box with some breathing holes punched in it, seal it up in there, and place it somewhere until this evening, and hive then. Hiving in the evening can be more successful as the swarm will usually determine its only choice is to go into the hive for the night – during the day they could decide to reswarm again, though it is usually ok.

    Method of hiving? Two options here – walking them in, or pouring/shaking into the hive. If you want to hive them asap, then I would recommend walking them in – this ‘active’ choice by the bees to enter the hive should mean that they do not decide to leave it again. If you decide to hive in the evening then you could walk them, or pour/shake them into the hive from opening up the top, removing a few bars and then pouring them straight down into the hive body.

    To walk them in – place a ramp up to the entrance of your hive, and cover this and the area immediately around it with a white sheet.Then gently pour the swarm from the bucket onto the sheet, on the ramp not too far from the entrance if possible. The bees will be inclined to move upwards, and towards the dark entrance. This may take a couple of minutes to begin in earnest – but once they realise there is a dry dark hollow in front of them they should start moving en masse, and once the queen runs in there, thay will start fanning and the rest move in. It can take about an hour to get stragglers in too – just be patient – it is a great sight to watch. Here is a clip to show what I mean

    Personally, I would be inclined to hive them sooner by walking them in – but either way should work fine. Just be gentle and patient. Good luck!.


  2. Paul says:

    Lynne seems to have covered it so I’ll add a few practical points – and also see the previous post.

    If they don’t move up into the bucket you can always snip off the bush branch with secateurs.

    Wear a full bee suit especially wellies. Any bees that fall to the ground will attempt to crawl up the nearest tree trunk (i.e. your leg) to get to the swarm, and end up trapped in your trousers’ thigh or crotch area until you discover them when they get squashed and reflexively sting you.

    The purpose of the white sheet is to provide a high contrast with the dark entrance. Pin the sheet (some folk use a pillowcase) to the sides of the entrance’s landing board with drawing pins or it will slide off as the bees walk up – the mass of bees has significant weight.

    Lucky you!


  3. Lynne says:

    Hey Jonny – how did it go?


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