Container to catch a swarm

Is a nuc the only thing to catch a swarm in or can other types of containers be used to get the swarm and bring it home ?

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You can use anything you like.

A cardboard box is viable also - provided it is adequately ventilated for transport etc.

Then once you get it home, you can transfer into a proper hive.

The advantage of the nuc is less disturbance to the colony once captured. You can also put a ‘frame’ into a nuc box which would be more readily accepted by the colony.


Thanks for that. I have my hive set up and in place and there a lots of swarms around here at the moment. Might wait for my bee suit to arrive before trying to catch one though

My favorite used to be a rubbish bin. Big enough for even large swarms. Strong enough to hold piece of a tree branch if needed. Plus it had handles on it, making it easy to carry. I don’t catch swarms any more, but I would still use something like that if I did. :blush:

I prefer to use a hive body of some size -4 or 5f Nuc or an 8f. I like that I can put fames in and leave the swarm to do their thing for a couple of weeks prior to my first inspection. In my mind it reduces the chance of the swarm absconding because of too much handling. As others have said anything will do as long as it seals the bees in and doesn’t get to hot.

I would wait for your suit too. Given catching a swarm will be part of your formative beekeeping you don’t want it to be negative. Everyone is right when they say swarms are usually docile but it doesn’t take much to get a sting when you are shacking or scooping a swarm. also every now And again you’ll get an angry swarm, I caught a large swarm a couple of years ago that pinged off our suits continually and continued to do so until we were over 50m from where we had put them into a hive.


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I’ll often use a box to shake a swarm from a tree- then transfer it directly into a hive right there. A nuc is great but a large swarm will not fit and might abscond. I use 8 or ten frame boxes for large swarms. A swarm catcher I know uses 30 liter buckets with mesh ventilation in the lids to catch swarms them bring them home.

a good trick is to pour a swarm in front of a hive with a white sheet or large piece of paper. The bees march in and you can often spot and cage the queen. Once the queen is caged in the hive then entire swarm is sure to follow.