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How long is “too long”?

So I have a swarm that has moved in to an empty trap (no frames, no comb, just a lure) that has probably been there for about a week. I have been out of town and a non-beekeeper friend has been checking for me. I don’t know how long they have been there or how much comb they have built out and I will not return home for at least another week. Any thoughts on dealing with this once I return? How difficult will it be to get them into a brood box if they have a lot of unstructured comb built in the trap?

There’s no “too long” really. It’s just that the longer you leave it, the more comb they’ll build. We got a colony out of a bird box & made this video showing what we did.

cheers

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Appreciate that Jeff - thanks. I‘m a new beekeeping hobbyist and only have a couple of empty brood boxes with empty frames (literally brand new equipment). The swarm trap is am empty bucket:

so when I get back and find out how much comb they’ve built out, I’m just not sure whether I need to try and transfer all of the comb into the empty box/frames, some of it or none of it.

Hi @mjvailla , you’ll need to rubber band the comb with brood into empty frames. Then place that frame or frames into your brood box. Remove all other comb out of the bucket. Then you can gently shake the bees out of the bucket into the brood box before placing the lid on.

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Thanks @JeffH - appreciate that advice and will give that a shot. Should I save the empty comb for another swarm in the same trap? How tricky is it to get the comb to stay in the frame (especially if it is on the smaller side) with rubber bands?

Hi Jason, that will be a good idea to leave some comb in the bucket for future swarms.
You would only need the largest bits to be fixed into empty frames, as long as they contain brood. I haven’t used rubber bands, only string, wire & garden tie as in this next video. This basically shows what you need to do.
If you leave it a little bit longer, you might get larger slabs that will fit into frames a bit better.

cheers

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That is very helpful - thanks very much!

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