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Caught a massive swarm, How long to keep queen caged to prevent Absconding?


Hi folks, NewBeek here, just wondering how long I should keep this Queen locked up to help prevent Absconding, I extracted this swarm last night, it was around 10 pounds of bees! So much fun and labor, but it was awesome! If anyone could help me out I would appreciate all suggestions.


Hi Newbeek,

What do you have your Swarm in. I’ve usually taken a bar of bees wax n rubbed it all over the inside of new hive bodies to give it a slight lived in smell/flavor. Often i will also add a single cottonball with lemon grass oil in a plastic Baggie with few holes punch in it to allow the sweet odor to escape into the hive. If I have a older used frame I will steal one n place in the hive too. So far I’ve never lost a collected swarm doing this ( knock on wood) my mom use to say !

Maybe I’ve been lucky. Your queen n swarm if happy should be Good to Go n I’d let her out so she can get with the work. I’m sure others will weigh in soon on your issue here too. Good luck n enjoy !


I’m the dude I on the right.


Must be a prime with a laying queen, then.
Not that likely to abscond if you have them in a decent size box


They are in a large broodbox, Im feeding them every 4 hours as they run out of feed, their super hungry lol I think I will release the Queen some time tonight. Thanks for the tips guys!


Have they drawn any comb?
I’ve never caged a queen in a swarm. Is that common practice where you are?
Just curious?


My neighbor is a beekeeper as well and gave me some old drawn come on a frame, Ive got that in there, but also this is a brand new brood box never been lived in. Whats I’ve read and learn from other beekeepers is its best to cage the Queen for about a day or two to help your chances of the swarm staying and not absconding. I just put a swarm in there last monday and they absconded the very next morning so I wanted to try everything I could to entice them to stay lol



Just curious ! How big is your feeder or what kind. That sounds like too much work refilling that often. Doesn’t your friend have a larger feeder you could borrow ? If not … I’d suggest adding several quart jars on top of your Crown board surround by a deep super to protect from stealing. Or you might try a one gallon poultry waterer on top the Crown board if you have a farm store close.

I can see your concern about losing the swarm. But I wouldn’t keep her cooped up too long if you have one or two drawn wax frames. That massive colony sucking that much sugar water is probably cleaning n rebuilding your frames now n could be building new wax on other frames now. She’s got to be ready to put her BUTT in those cells n getting eggs layed real soon. I dropped my last swarm in n 24 hours later in had eggs. Pollen n nectar coming in. Watch n see if they are foraging n bringing in pollen n stuff. If so they aren’t going to flee your hive ! I wouldn’t wait more than 24 to 48 hours if sooooooo ! That’s my 2cents worth … :wink::honeybee:

Good luck !



Are you sure it was a swarm?
Swarms captures aren’t “labor” and I’ve never had to “extract” one.
The longer you cage the queen, the more you delay progress. Turn her loose is my advice.


G’day Anthony, I never cage swarm queens. You did well finding her in 10 lbs of bees. Well done. I have 2 tips for you in relation to swarms: #1 Add a frame of brood that contains plenty of young larvae that require immediate attention. #2 Dab a few drops of lemongrass oil inside the box your putting the swarm into.

A new swarm shouldn’t require feeding. However if you want to feed them, simply pour a bead of honey (honey you know is disease free) along the tops of every frame you put into the swarm box.


It was labor cause it was completely dark, couldnt see much with our crappy flash lights, and the swarm was all tangled up in a whole mess of leaves. :slight_smile:


Update: LGO applied, queen has been released, and the feeder I am using is this one. https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Feeder-Beekeepers-Farmstand-Supply/dp/B00T9XR2T6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1467603884&sr=8-2&keywords=Bee+feeder

Works well if leveled perfectly lol Ive got one with water and one with feed in it. Thanks for all the advice gals and guys!


I usually don’t worry about it. They stay or they don’t, but if you want to anchor a swarm a queen excluder between the colony and the exit will keep the queen from leaving. If you do this, then wait until you have open brood (which you should have four days after the queen starts laying) and then remove the excluder. Caging her may help a little, but after three or four days you may as well release her. Better to have her laying to anchor them there…


Three days is recommended time to introduce a new queen to a hive. I usually put electrical tape over the entrance to prevent the bees from eating the candy (if you have that kind of queen cage). Remove the tape the third day and spit on her so the bees will spend time cleaning her to expedite the acceptance process.


I respect my queens too much to spit on them! :flushed: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: Plus I don’t like getting saliva on the inside of my veil… :mask:


A quart mason jar with 3-4 holes poked in it with a push pin works great. Alot cheaper too. Just put it over the hole in the inner cover and make sure you see bee tongues in the holes before you close the hive back up. Surround it with a spare box and cover with the hive lid. From what i’ve heard swarms build FAST so i’d keep an eye on them needing another brood box.


Wonderful comb drawing machines. They are in a hurry.
I’ve caught too many nasty bees in swarms so now I tend to get them to draw me new comb then unite with an existing colony


Smart @Dee. I’m thankfully seeing a lot more activity in the front of the hive now that i’ve put my flow hive down to one box. should be in the 70’s this week so I’m really hoping they crank up the comb production. Gave them a pint of 2:1 (sugar to water) syrup as they are overzealous storers. I wish i had swarms here hehe.


How much do these feeders hold. Looked at the info but didn’t see any data on the volume or height needed.

If ya have time please pop us a more if you could. Thankz,



Don’t do it, Jerry. Your nicely built one is MUCH better! :blush:


They are pretty large, as far as how much they hold it a little less than a gallon.