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Caught my first swarm :)


I was so sad when I lost my first hive to bugs. It was costly but I learned a lot. Thankfully the person I purchased it from in kindness helped me with a cut out he had been called about. So far it seems to be thriving. But one just is not enough as I have learned. Out of the blue I get a call on a swarm. Knowing nothing I go you tube and check it out and our site for information and I gather my stuff get over there and it was gone :(. Ez come Ez go. Then today I get the call it is back. I load up my stuff and there it is on the fire hydrant. I did my scooping and after awhile it seemed most all the bees were in the box. I have a box that is a shut up for travel. Now I have a swam in a box. With one frame with a piece of comb that I had on it. Now what to do? I am thinking keeping it locked up for the evening as it is getting there now. I hope they don’t suffocate?? There is a piece of wood screwed in at the entrance and the top is pretty secure. Thought I would unscrew it a little bit in the morning, add some frames and my feeder. Any suggestions are appreciated. I hope catching swarms is a good way to get hives as this was much easier than the cut out I did. Of course hoping that I did in fact get the Queen.


Hi, a good way that I found to hold a swarm is to give them a frame of brood with lots of young larvae. The bees will start nursing & feeding the young larvae. That should hold them. I would take them home & open them up. I would not leave them locked in all night unless your swarm capture hive is well ventilated.


Totally agree, especially in Hawaii :blush:


Excellent, hooray for you @NeuManaHui, all your work is paying off.
I did what Jeff recommends with a frame of brood and they stayed. Get dome frames in there before the build comb where they like, they will build it fast, swarms do!
Hopefully they haven’t suffocated though…


So I did open the entry a tad so they could come in an out. I understand the brood issue but am not comfortable with my knowledge to remove a frame from my other hive that is pretty new a 7 frame cut out. Not 80% filled. Hmm I do have a small piece of comb in a frame and am feeding them. Could you advise on how I would choose the correct frame to remove?
This morning they are hanging around going in and out. Was going to drop more frames in when sun comes out more? I would open the entry more in a few days. It has been cloudy so wan to wait to open box.


Nah I opened the entry a bit so they can come in and out.


If your hive is 80% full, remove the outside frame with the least bees on it & simply slide the other frames across until you get to the frames with the most activity. Inspect the frames until you find one with the most young larvae in it. Make sure you haven’t got the queen on that frame before shaking the bees off. Then move the rest of the frames back.

This is the sort of thing that new beekeepers need to do on a regular basis. It’s good practice at handling frames & spotting the queen & learning how to read the brood. Don’t be frightened of making mistakes, it’s how we learn.

This is my video showing how to get that frame of brood.


I am working on learning what I see. I can identify larva, and capped droan etc. I never can spot the Queen. I can determine who is the Queen in a picture but still have yet to spot her myself. Will inspect again. Last I looked, last week or so they were not 80% filled as I was going to add another box. Will check again in the am. They are sticking around and are going in and out of box. Weather was not good today so did not open to add additional frames. Will do and thank you.


Yeah well, as long as they stick around, that’s the main thing. If you didn’t want to weaken a colony, you could borrow a frame of brood from it until you are sure the swarm is settled, then pay it back:)

Once the swarm is settled & the queen is laying, you could use one of those brood frames for swarms down the track. There are so many options we can use.

Another thing I was thinking was: Some of those frames from the cutout might not be A1 brood frames for the long term. They would be ideal for swarm captures.

It’s worth remembering that not all swarms can be shaken, that’s when a frame of brood comes in handy in catching the swarm.


Good to know because here we can not import bees. So after buying my first frames for a lot of money and then it not having a Queen and bugs (my ignorance) . I tried the cut out. That is not bad but too difficult to do by my self. I would like to grow to more hives and am learning so much. I will build these up and then have frames to support the next swarm if one comes my way. What I love about this is the constant learning. Experience seems to be the key. Thanks for the support.


So checked the hives today and the swarm looks happy building comb up on the roof but placed frames in and left a spot for that comb. Will need to figure out how to deal with that in future but maybe they will take to the frames.

My second hive which was the cut out is hanging in there it does have uncapped brood, honey, a little pollen, and capped. Several frames are now empty with dark comb. So no frames to share with the swarm but I will nurse these babies this year and see how they grow. Sure is a great way to learn. Now to see how to take care of the comb in the roof. Maybe let it get bigger so I do not crush it cut it out and place in one of the frames.


If you can’t spare a comb you may still be OK- I got a few swarms this season and I didn’t add any drawn combs to them- just brand new frames- some foundation-less and some with foundation checkerboarded. A good swarm can build out new combs very fast- within a week mine had built their own combs. Those two swarm colonies went onto to be very good producers later in the season and are now my most productive hives.

If I was you I would probably remove that comb in the roof now and make sure the box is full of new frames ready to go correctly spaced. If you can get foundation frames that will be better. If I understand you correctly- you have left a gap between frames for the comb in the roof to grow down into? If that’s the case you might have a situation where the combs beside that roof comb are not drawn out nice and straight and even. Given that swarms are very good at drawing combs- right now is a great time to set them up correctly to take advantage of that capacity and get some really good combs drawn. If they have only done a little work on the roof comb- it shouldn’t matter if you cut it out- they will get straight onto the regular combs very fast. If the roof comb is big enough you could cut it out and rubber band it into a frame. I am guessing feeding the bees a bit of honey if you have any spare will be good at this stage too?


I hear you and thought I would check it tomorrow if weather holds and cut it off and put it in a frame I have wired for comb from a cut out. I dont have all the right parts realizing I need to buy some spares for example I have xtra med wax foundation frames a friend gave me but I have a 10 frame deep box I also was given :). Will be getting a new 8 frame box so my flow super will fit. The swarm seem stronger than the other hive. So will let this on off rain period pass and make haste and remove that comb. Was feeding them but my feeder was leaking so will fix that also. Thanks for the good advise.


If the swarm is very large- it’s important to give them enough room. I caught a very large swarm for a friend in spring and all we had was a five frame nuc box to put them in. The bees built out those combs in just 10 days- every day there were large beards outside the hive. It turned out they didn’t have enough room for all of them to stay in the hive: and after about 14 days they re-swarmed. That was OK- as we managed to catch them and put them into two five frame nucs stacked.

Another swarm I was given went straight into an 8 frame box- and that was a HUGE swarm- from day one they were overcrowded even with 8 frames- and they looked they would also swarm again forming large beards every day on the front of the hive- in that case I put on the flow super straight away just to give the bees more room. the bees did not put any honey into the flow super- but they stopped bearding and didn’t swarm. After about 3 months they started to work on the flow frames and now that is my best colony. I just harvested 12 KG’s off them last week.


Checked them today and removed paper thin comb from bottom and top. So fragile I did my best to mount it without too much damage. Right now they are in a box I am using to get them started. It is a 10 frame, heavy home made box. I am in process of trying to get a new box. My goal is an 8 frame deep which I will add a med box that I have and then the flow hive super. Shipping is just ridiculous so shopping.for the fairest price. I will keep my eye on them and will get my new boxes soon. Why is the comb so fragile and white? I am a new bee and have not seen comb like this.


Because it is very new and fresh - absolutely typical of fresh comb. :wink: That stuff is a comb honey eater’s dream! :smile:


that is how green I am :slight_smile: Thanks Dawn.


Lost my first caught swarm. So my saga: a couple weeks ago checked the hives. My flow hive with the cut out bees slow to grow but there doing ok. Go to open the swarm hive and it was like letting gremlins out of the box. So figured I would come back with better smoke. Life got in the way and so today after a big rain thought I would check on the girls. No bees outside the swarm box OH THAT IS NOT GOOD nope they were gone. The small little comb was there but not much. I am not sure what I could have done bet I did not have Queen as there was NO brood. So then checked my pokey flow hive and wow happy happy. Added my medium box as all but one frame in deep box was full. I will keep looking for more bees really need to begin to learn how to split hives. Patience is what I have.


Sorry to hear your swarm bees took off on another journey @NeuManaHui :confused: But practice makes perfect so they say :sweat_smile:


Get another chance to practice in the morning :slight_smile: