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Decoy Hive On Hand?


Should I be keeping a decoy hive, perhaps a nuc box, on hand in case my bees swarm…or I have the opportunity to trap a wild swarm?

Thank you.


Decoy hive? Hmm. Well, I habitually keep about 50% more equipment than I have hives. So if I have 2 hives, I will actually have enough spare parts to make a third hive, if I need it. If I only had one hive, I would at least have a second bottom board, inner cover, roof and brood box.

You could keep a nuc box, but if I catch a swarm, I prefer to put it into a normal hive body, not a nuc. Nucs are still useful to have around, for doing splits etc during swarm season.

If I had to choose, I would get extra full size (or 8-Frame) hive parts, rather than just a nuc box. It only costs a little more than a nuc, but it gives you a lot more flexibility.


Thanks Dawn.
Has anyone here caught a wild swarm? If they don’t use a nuc box out on the hunt, what do they use?


OK, I have caught a few wild swarms, but it depends on what you mean by “out on the hunt”.

If you mean somebody calls and tells me that they have a swarm near them, I take one of those old 55 gallon trash cans, with a liner (bag) in it and a tight-fitting lid. You never know what you are going to deal with until you get there, and sometimes it is easier to cut off a small branch and let it drop into a large receptacle, rather than trying to finesse it into a little nuc box. When you get it back to the apiary, you can then decide what size box to transfer it to.

If you mean setting out a trap for swarms, I don’t deliberately do that. But, I have a nuc box, and it sits on my flat roof/deck when it is empty, just in case a passing swarm takes a fancy to it (apparently 15-20 feet above the ground is a preferred height for swarms and my deck provides this perfectly!). I understand that the scientists have decided that the optimal volume of a container to tempt a swarm in is 40 liters (or 10 US gallons). I think a nuc box is quite a bit less than that, but they are convenient to have around, and you never know when a small swarm might decide it is right for them! :wink: I haven’t yet caught anything passing by in my nuc box.


Hi … This is Gerald ! I have one extra 10 frame for decoy or capture hive n I have one 5 frame Nuc hive hanging under the peak of my house to Maybe capture a swarm if they buzzed thru near my hives. I keep both baited with lemon grass oil as well ! What the heck ! Yah never know …

. I also keep a large cardboard box n couple cardboard Nuc’s around as well for quick emergencies. . That’s my 2-cents worth ! :smile::+1:

It’s your choice really,



Where I live we have such low population that we hardly ever have swarms. The one I do know about the rancher want to leave it be, so that’s a no go for me, but a couple of weeks ago I was invited to help get a swarm but it was the the day I was putting my new queens in my splits and had to pass on it. Might be awhile before I get a chance again.


Just off the top of my head…

Cardboard boxes
Five gallon buckets
Plastic trash bags
Flip top totes
Assorted coolers
Desperate times call for desperate measures lol

Depends on the situation.