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Building traps to capture swarms


Continuing the discussion from Lures and Traps For Catching Bees:

I’ve seen a few ways to build trap boxes. I liked this one because I have the materials to hand.

A swarm trap can be made from two identical 40 cm plastic plant pots. Black plastic utility posts cost only a few dollars. I have a couple left from a nursery business.

Some poly rope is looped through the drainage holes of one of the pots. The two pots are joined at their open ends to make one large cavity. I would use three or 4 self tapping screws. All of the drainage holes are then blocked with expanding foam or suchlike except for one entrance hole.

In the original article, the author sprayed the contraption with camouflage paint but I don’t think I’ll bother.

The rope is used to suspend the trap hive in a tree.

I’m planning to build a few of these and set them out in spring.

Any comments? Please remember I’m still very much a beekeeping novice.


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I think Dexter has an excellent point.

If you were checking these traps daily and collecting them as soon as a swarm moves in then yes, nice and light weigh and cheap and easy to get up onto trees and all.

If you were thinking of doing these at some distance from your usual location and checking every week or two or monthly it seems as if it would be disruptive to the hive and better to start as your mean to go on.

I have thought myself that a small Styrofoam chest that could be carved to fit a few frames might make a good trap but have never tried it as there is not much call in the middle of the city for traps. It would be light like the plastic flower pots and easy to hoist up and down with a rope. Cheap as they seem to be the sort of thing that winds up just being in the way in our house.


Or even bigger. The supposed preferred volume is 40L


Thanks for all the suggestions.

I particularly like the styrofoam box idea. A couple of cut down broccoli boxes would go close to the 40L ideal. I’m looking to do something on the cheap here. That would mean only fitting a few frames of foundation and leaving much of the space empty.


Thanks. I’ve checked the internal dimensions of broccoli boxes and I can fit 7 full size frames into one box. The total internal volume is about 36L.


Put 2 frames with starter strips against one wall, then an old used brood frame.
I would check them daily…even twice unless their final resting place (your apiary) is more than three miles away from the bait hive.


Hi s’master, you have to remember that the scout bees look for all the possible nesting sites & basically take a vote on which one they prefer, so your trap has to be the best in the area, it has to provide shelter from the elements, room to expand & protection from predators such as bears & honey badgers. If you think of an upright tree, nice & sturdy, with a vertical slit in it, nice & high, leading to a nice hollow, that’s kind of what they like. If you can mimick something like that, even if it cost a few dollars, it could be worth the investment. You could make it to unscrew so it’s easy to transfer the bees into your hive. I tell people who have bee infestations to beeproof their houses because their house had the best cavity in the area, (according to the bees) this time, so chances are it will have the best cavity in the area next time around.