Swarm Box

Don’t chase swarms ~ have them come to you

one deep 10 frame hive body or an approximately 10 gallon box, a bit of lemon grass essential oil and old comb

below is a peoples hive variation built with scrap plywood. happened to be 12 x 12 x 24.        12 x 12 x any length will do. keeping in mind the approx 10 gall volume. they are stack-able and expandable once you get it out of the tree. no need to even transfer. more on the simple stick frames further down on the page

bees like wood and stuff that smells like bees. they will also come to adobe chambers, house roofs, inside your walls, big flower pots, chests of drawers and more15-20 feet off the ground. covered with a leafy branch or in a tree. dappled shade and south east facing

the one  above on the left is on a rope so no climbing necessarily. harder to keep level so don’t let them get too established unless you want that to be part of their permanent hive.  some say swarm boxes should be placed at least 1500 feet away from existing hives if you wish to collect your own bee’s swarms. ones coming from further wont mind moving in near other bees

ply wood on top and bottom. frames with partially drawn comb, if you have it

one two or three 1″1/4 holes as entrances.  the lemon garss oil is worked into bees wax and stuck on the frames or sticks and entrance holes.

solder any cracks with bees wax so no light can enter except through the entrances. you can also water proof potential leaks this way. a candle may work too . this is unnecessary if all joints are reasonably tight and the top is leak proof . that said . the bees will propalize any small gaps once they get established

print out the anarchy apiaries 2012 Beekeeping Survival Guide or go back to the section Bees to look up more resources on beekeeping and swarm boxes.

 below is a variation on the people’s or Warre hive.  the strips are placed to be flush with the roof and on 1″ 1/4 centers or 8 spaced within a 12″ box. this gives them a place to build off of so they don’t attach to the top, as that is much harder to put them into a new hive. Plans in metric and imperial for Warre boxes are freely available and can be sized for you specific needs or materials

strips can be melted into place with bee’s wax and a soldering iron or simply with a bee’s wax a candle. they can be built in any dimensions

and another variation with 13 inch 2 x 6 as the box . 1 x 2 flooring as a ledge for the stick frames   this gives a nice grove to loosen the frames with a simple screw driver . the frames  on this one are strips of old ceder roofing . and the box for that mater was old ceder deck

 when ready to move the box to a new home . cover the entrances with window screen at at dusk or dawn when no bees are flying and bring them to their new home

carfully move each frame above the new hive . this top bar did not make it through the winter bit there was a lot of great comb and a bit of honey 

 and give it a gentle but firm shake

shake the box in and brush the last bees or let them walk in if it seems the queen is insideclose up the hive and leave alone for a few daysinspect later for eggs and brood. first brood could be hatching as early as 3 weeks after hiving the swarm . this one 3 months later has this hive is entirly filled with brood and honey

have fun and dont be afraid to wear protection untill you are comfortabl being stung           ~ makes the honey tast so sweet ~

this one was a bit more tricky as they never went into the box, but started building comb on the bottom . this large swarm was maby too large for a box of this size

I was able t o shake them into a mesh bag and lower them with out many of them taking flight

over at the new hive

and in they go with a firm gentle shake

One Response to Swarm Box

  1. kingfisher garlic tooth says:

    yo ross, haven’t been on the site in a while, it’s looking good. I made my first split today and set up 4 swarm traps yesterday. Im so excited! our beekeeping community up here in madison is so active and helpful. hope you are swell. lets talk soon. love caleb

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