Help needed with swarm!

Hi all, we have just had a huge swarm land on our swarm box about 6hrs ago We were so excited !! :grin: Only thing is they havn’t yet gone into the box ! They have clustered at the bottom of the box so im assuming the queen is in there (See attached Photos) Question is, should we hope for the best that they will find there way in or should we try put them into our new flow hive brood box ? The swarm box does have 4 frames in it but no foundation. What do you think ? Hopefully they are still going to be there in the morning ?? :crossed_fingers: 1040297056_20201028_151125_3738738_resized|375x500


Nice looking swarm. It’s a good idea to have drawn comb in your box and maybe a squirt of Swarm Commander or lemon grass oil to give them more reason to settle inside. If they’re still there in the morning, you could pop a frame of brood from another hive in to entice them. Good luck.

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Hi there bromak, nice swarm! If they are still there but haven’t gone in you can try carefully placing a frame of open worker brood from another hive (bees shaken off first) into the swarm box. I got this tip from JeffH here on the forum and it’s worked every time but once, when I used a frame of drone brood and left the nurse bees on. Good luck!

Thanks for that info , this is our very first swarm and actually our first bees so we don’t have any brood to put in . We thought we would try to catch a swarm :joy: we will go down and have a look soon to see what’s happening today . Thanks for your suggestions .

Thanks for that info , this is our very first swarm and actually our first bees so we don’t have any brood to put in . We thought we would try to catch a swarm :joy: fingers crossed they stay . We happened to be right underneath when they arrived . It was an amazing experience . We will go and check up on them soon to see what’s going on . Thanks Mark

They are most likely sitting outside because either they have just.p arrived or there isn’t enough surface area inside the swarm trap for them as yet. If it is the later the good news is they are wax drawing machines and will be drawing out the frames.It may pay in the future to use some frames with foundation.

When collecting swarms I prefer to have mostly frames with foundation or drawn comb.


We had foundation in but we removed it because there were beetles in and around the box so there are just empty frames in there at the moment !

This is what’s happening this morning , they are still outside and have split into 2 groups ???

Hi @bromak, can I suggest you bring the swarm box down and shake them into your Flow hive brood box, make sure you have frames with foundation if you want them to stay. The young bees should almost immediately begin building comb on those frames. Leave the Flow box in place until the evening then move to their permanent position.


How is it looking this afternoon?

Hi Rodderick, sorry about the late reply. Well this afternoon they up & left from the face of the box & begun to swarm again, fortunately I built 2 boxes & couldn’t believe it but they went straight to the 2nd box ( about 30mts away ) this time they went straight in ! Its an identical box with only empty frames in it as well ? I guess they were running out of time maybe ? Anyway its been amazing to witness all that’s happened in the last 24hrs & we much appreciate your suggestions. Ps,I have built the boxes with a large cavity in the base so I think the extra room may have helped with the larger swarm. fingers crossed their happy. Would you agree to leave them for a few weeks before trying to move them into a more permanent hive ? Regards, Mark


Hi Adam, well you may have already seen my reply to Rodderick. Amazingly they hung around for almost 24hrs to the minute ! Then left, but thankfully found the second box I built & went straight in. I think we’ll leave them for a couple of weeks before trying to move them to a more permanent hive ? You wouldn’t believe it but we ordered a Nuc only 2 weeks ago as we didn’t think we would catch a swarm but was more for the fun of the challenge ! Only problem now is their not where we want them to be in our yard. Do you think we could relocate them to a different location in the yard when we put them into a hive without them becoming confused ? It would be approx 30mts away. Regards, Mark

Thanks Eva, we are new to the game so no brood to be had. We were very fortunate though as they have settled in our “back up” no 2 swarm box we built with overs from our first box. Wow sometimes you can be lucky ! Only difference is the first box has 1 hole but the second I decided to make 2 holes side by side just to try both ideas, not sure if this was the deciding factor for them but ? While I’m talking about that do you think they will need ventilation holes in the box as some suggest yes but others say no as they may try to block them off. I know its a bit late now there in but any ideas on this one ? Regards, Mark

You have some options now but limited time. The swarm can be moved immediately into your permanent hive (in the first 24 hours or so).
Or you can move the swarm box (inside the same timeframe) to the location where it will be based permanently, add frames to it and leave it settle. Then move it into the permanent hive at the same location at your leisure. If leaving in the swarm box, you should fill it with frames and foundation. Otherwise the bees will build their own comb and will be a big mess.
It is still unclear whether this is a prime swarm, with a laying queen or a secondary swarm with a virgin queen. If the latter you should minimise disturbance as much as possible until the queen has mated and is laying (2-4 weeks, depending on weather).

If you cant move the swarm or the swarmbox now, then its best to leave it in position, add the necessary frames and foundation and move it to its permanent location in a few weeks when the queen has mated. There are two ways to do this… move gradually 1m a day, or close the hive, move it and place an obstruction before the entrance tomake the bees re-orientate to the new location.


Thanks Jim, so if its a secondary swarm with virgin queen will there be a chance they will abscond when I try to open the box & add extra frames ? I have 4 empty frames in the box at the moment which they have probably already begun to use, should I remove them all or just add 2 frames with foundation ( box will only take 6 frames total ) to each side of the empty frames ? Unfortunately I couldn’t move the box it on my own today anyway so It would have to be tomorrow! Not sure if thats too late ? but as you said if I give them a few weeks I can then cover the opening & move to new location or bit by bit move them. Ps, should I try to open the box during the day today to add the frames or at night & should I use some smoke or not as im not sure whether they’ll be aggressive or not ?

No, add the two extra frames. best is at the edges, but I would just slip them in wherever you can. The idea is to avoid empty space as otherwise the bees will fill this with brace comb. If they are already drawing out comb on empty frames I would leave these, but ideally I would replace empty frames by frames with foundation as that will ensure that comb is straight.
If they have drawn comb, have a look to see if you find eggs or larvae (after several days). If so its a prime swarm with a mated queen.
The problem with a virgin queen is that she needs to go out and mate. If you move the box after she has orientated to that position, she will get lost and not find her way back. For this reason also its a bad idea to do anything with the box in the middle of the day when she is likely to be flying. Minimal disturbance is best.
Im not sure how long the bees are in the swarm box but if its 2-3 days its too late to move them in one go as the bees will have orientated to that position. Within 24 hours is the usual figure.
I would always use smoke opening a hive, just a little but always have it ready because you might need more to keep them under control.

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Ok, So yesterday Frid 30th, I took your advice & removed the lid. I found that I had actually filled the box with 6 empty frames so it was full anyway. But whilst I was there I just removed the two outside frames & swapped them out with foundation frames. Amazingly there was no comb on these frames at all as the had started to draw comb on the inside four frames only. I’m amazed at just how much comb they have drawn in just 24 hrs ! Wow they work hard. So should I just leave them alone a few more days before I check for eggs or larvae ? Also I didn’t put any ventilation holes in the swarm box so do you think this will become a problem or should I just leave them be for now ? The box is made of 35mm thick foam so im hoping this will help as good heat insulation. I used smoke as well but seemed to suck more into my lungs than anything else on the ladder :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: Anyway it’s now sat morning & their still in the box so fingers crossed. Thanks for all your advice

I would leave well enough alone and allow then to settle and establish themselves.
Bees in swarm mode can build large amounts of comb very quickly. Its fortunate that they have built on the frames.
I would leave them alone for two or three weeks and have another look then. If its a prime swarm you should have plenty of capped brood then and if its a secondary the virgin should hopefully have been mated and have started laying.
I would leave the ventilation as it is for now. The bees chose it so are obviously ok for the time being.

Then the next thing to put your mind to is how best to move the hive to its permanent location.
Moves are best done in the evening when bees are not flying. Figure out a way to seal the opening and secure the lid while you manipulate the hive (even duct tape will do but be sure to pull it off when the move is done). As the box is at height, the first move should be to bring it to normal level, directly beneath where it is now. And be careful moving the box while on a ladder. It will be heavier than you expect.


Sounds like good advice, I was thinking the same that I should just leave them alone for now. Yes I will lower first then will move it in stages. We have about 30mts to move it & also have a dog so we’ll have to keep it elevated as well while moving it. Looks like it’s going to be a drawn-out process but is what it is now, So if in a few weeks I find plenty of brood etc would it be safe to begin the move ? & do you think 1mt a day is ok ?

When you get it down to a safe working height consider sitting it in a wheelbarrow. It will make the subsequent 30 x 1m moves so much easier.


Great idea !:+1:Thanks Adam, that will definitely help. We have a dog but will put a screen around the barrow just incase Cheers

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