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I got the bees but did I do it right?

I am new so this question might seem stupid, so I apologize in advance. I removed my first bee colony yesterday from up in the eaves of the house and placed it in a bee hive. When I was removing the combs I attached them all to the frames that slide into the boxes. Was this a good way to do this? I did not waste any of them so as to not destroy their hard work.

Thanks in advance for your response.

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Hi, welcome to the group.

Good for you for saving the bees. How did you attach them to the frames? If you used elastic bands you’ll have good luck with that method although the bees chew through it in a week but by then they’ve attached the wax properly to the frames.

A picture would be awesome of how they are currently attached if different.

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Hi Tim, I used rubber bands as I seen in youtube videos. The bees are coming out this morning and going back to the place that retrieved them from. I don’t know if this means the queen is still up there or not. I am now looking at making a better bee vacuum that will release the bees directly into the hive box. I don’t know what I did wrong, if I did something wrong. I am guessing I didn’t get the queen or else why would they go back to where I took them out of.

Yup, if you didn’t get the queen they will return to that spot. The solution is to take the hive box a few miles away for a week so they reorient to their new home.

When you say re-orient do you mean they build a new queen? Then what do I do with the swarm that is growing back where it was?

If you have fresh eggs in the comb the remaining bees will build an emergency cell for a new queen to be developed in; if you find a queen cell being built in the existing hive about 15 days after they seal it a new virgin queen will emerge and take flight to mate and return and start laying about a week after that. So you have 3 weeks before the new queen is laying if they had the cell built today. Reorienting; I mean the bees need to learn they have a new home— fresh brood being born right now will not be the ones to know they were somewhere else previously, its the foragers right now that are flying out and not returning (those bees are the oldest in the hive) so depending on how many bees you have in the new hive you could be fine as-is, or if they all are going back to the old spot you have to recapture and then I would move the hive miles away so they don’t get tempted to fly back to the original spot. You can then move them again later back to your house after the new queen has settled into your hive and is successfully laying.

Do you know how to verify you have eggs in your comb? Picture of a supercedure cell included here.


Thank you Tim for the information. I did in fact move one comb that had eggs on it into the hive box. It seems as though the bees are moving dead bees to outside the hive. I am hoping this is normal behavior as I did have some casualties that inadvertently got put into the hive. I am also going to get some bee repellent to put where the bees were originally moved from. I seen this done in a video. Not sure if this is the right thing to do or not. The swarm is getting bigger up there again.

I love that you say the bees will make an emergency cell. Thank you for this information.

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The queen must be up there if they are returning to that spot. I think the best thing you could do is recapture them at dusk and get them back into your hive and move the hive or else they are going to keep going back. The queen may be inside your attic or a crevice so if they keep coming out after a few days she is still inside laying more eggs and you are going to have to get more involved in getting them out.


Thank you Tim for confirming what I believed was going on. I am heading up to get another super box to modify to a vacuum to get them into a box so that I don’t lose a bunch of them transferring them to the super box from the vacuum like I did last night. I really do appreciate your help.

@Tim_Purdie has given you good sound advice, If the queen is still up under the eves the older bees will head for there but if she did transfer when you moved the colony some will still head back there from force of habit. I initially thought it was just a fresh swarm but as there was comb and brood then I’m thinking now it has become established there.
Sounds like if your swarm has eggs in the hive they will produce a new queen for the hive.
Have a close look under the eves for bees entering and leaving a gap where they are getting inside the eves, if you see that then it is best to assume there is a queen there and that will be another issue.
Re-orientation – bees know where their hive is and a brilliant memory of the flying range of the home so a hive may need to be moved, preferably after dark when all the bees are back inside the hive, a few miles away so that they are in a new area and relearn where the hive is. After a week or two they will have forgotten the old location. Then you can return the hive back to your home and they will orientate to there.
Bees will remove any dead bees from the hive and as a beginner no matter how careful you are you will still accidentally kill a few.
Your doing well Lisa and as a beginner you have taken on a problem that many beginners wouldn’t tackle on their own. This experience is a very steep learning curve for you so well done.


Thank you Peter. I really do appreciate your advice as well. I just got back with a new box for the bees that are swarming again and then I will relocate the hive and close up the boards I had to remove to get to the hive. I really didn’t expect the number of bees that are up there when I took down that board. However, I am all in now. I will get better at it the more I do. I did find that some bees in the box were under the feeder and I needed to add more feed for them. I see that a sign that some are at least contemplating sticking around. I will certainly be back soon to update how things are going and to seek the advice of you more experienced bee handlers. :slight_smile:

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Hi Lisa, are there still any bees in the box? If so, is there any brood in the comb you attached to the frame? Have a look to see if the queen is in the box. Bees will fly back to the eve because they are oriented to that spot. If there is brood in the comb in the frame & the comb is fairly stable in the frame, you can position that frame as closely as possible to the bees on the eve, that is provided you can’t see the queen in the hive. By placing the frame with brood as close as possible to the bees on the eve, the bees including the queen will move onto it. After that you can put it back into the hive.

Even after confirming the queen is in the hive, a lot of bees will go back to the eve, however they will eventually migrate down to the hive.

Placing the hive as close to the eve as possible will help. Then you can lower it down in stages.

If the brood from this colony is no good, you could acquire a frame with open brood from a beekeeper, will do the job.

This video of mine shows something similar.



You will have heaps of bees flying about because of what you are doing, but I think that they are not bees swarming and that they are just flying about as they are disturbed, confused and have no idea you are trying to help them. That is different to swarming.
If you leave them for an hour then have a look where the majority are flying to then that is a good indicator of where the queen is.
If the queen is in the hive she will be pumping out pheromones that will let the other bees know where she is. So it might be a help to sit back, have a coffee and just observe, you might have done the ‘hard yards’ already.
Jeff’s advice is rock solid, he is a guru when it comes to issue like your having with decades of experience.
Don’t forget to breath Lisa, relax, it sounds like your doing everything right and you will have a win.


Good morning Jeff. I do still have bees in the box. I put all the combs I found into the first two hive boxes that I was using. I now know that wasn’t necessary, but one of them had the brood on it which I attached with a few rubber bands. I am still not sure if I got the queen or not but I vacuumed up what seemed to be like a million bees at dusk last night and put them into a third box that I placed on top of the first two boxes. I also moved the three stacked boxes across to the other side of the yard. I know Tim and Peter told me to move it a mile or two away to acclimate them to their new home however I am waiting to see what they do today.

I haven’t opened the hive since opening it last night to add the third box. I read somewhere that I should not open that box for at least four days after transferring them. I have a new problem now. The bees appear to be drowning under the feeder jar that I have placed some 1:1 water/sugar mix. Is this normal? Whey aren’t they just eating off the edge of the drops? Should I remove that feeder and if so what should I put in it’s place?

This is a great video. Thank you for sharing. Each video I watch I learn something new. I subscribed to your channel. Thank you mate.

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Thank you Peter. I am learning so much. I am so happy I found this forum. I will keep you all updated as I progress. :slight_smile: :slightly_smiling_face:

Hi Lisa, thanks for your comments & sub. The bees will still go back to the eve, even though it is at the other side of the yard. Assuming the queen is in the box with the brood, the foraging bees will return to the eve, because they are oriented to that spot. That’s why I suggested to position the box as close as possible to the eve. The foraging bees will soon find the box entrance. After they get used to the box entrance, then you can lower it down maybe 1/2 a meter at a time per day, until it is on the ground.

You can ditch that feeder if bees are drowning in it & switch to a baggie feeder or none at all if there’s plenty of forage around.

Tim & Peter’s advice would be to take the hive far enough away so that the bees don’t encounter familiar terrain while foraging, which will lead them back to the eve. Let them re-orientate to a new location long enough to forget about the eve so that when you bring them back, they will re-orientate to the hive’s entrance.

It’s all a massive learning curve & what you’re doing is a great way to learn. Learning by experience: There’s no better way to learn.

You’ll need to be able to spot the queen going forward, therefore it wont hurt to get some practice by examining the frame of brood in the box, to see if you can find the queen. First look at lots of images of queens on line to familiarize yourself with them. Then you wont mistake a drone for a queen.


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Hi Jeff,

I think I got her in my attempt last night. The bees are very active at the hive box today and I barely see a few around the eave. I am hoping i got her and if not that they will create a new queen. This is going to be a rewarding task that I have undertaken.

I did leave the box under the eave for two days and then moved it last night to the other corner I spoke of earlier. I keep checking on them and am noticing they are moving the dead bees out so I help them along by taking them off the landing area.

I live in the desert and we do have a lot of flowers etc this time of year but I will change to the baggie method. I believe what I read was to fill a baggie with feed and place it on the uppermost top inside the box. Am I correct in what I read? How many holes should I pop in it? I really want my bees to stay and be comfortable and well cared for.

I will start to look at the brood frame in a few days after they have calmed down a bit. In the meantime I will start to look at pictures and videos of queens so I know what I’m looking at.


It certainly sounds like you have the queen in the hive with a reduction of bees going to the eave so well done, you have achieved something that most beginners wouldn’t attempt on their own.
I would give them a week without interfering with them now so that they settle down and can work in the hive without being interrupted. It is hard to do not having a quick look but if you can resist the temptation it will be better for the bees.
The way I feed my bees to stimulate then into comb building is with a bird watering station that I bought at my local pet store, the sort of thing you will see in a bird aviary and also used for chickens. The depth is shallow enough that bees won’t drown in it and they tend to sit on the rim to drink. I’ve found that a very fast way to feed syrup as a few hundred bees can be feeding at a time.
When looking for the queen she will more often be on the shady side of the frame so you may need to flip the frame a few times, look for the longer tapered abdomen and the golden color if she is an Italian, ignore the bees that are head down in a cell, she will be on the move across the frame.



Those photos that Peter shared are beautiful examples of queens.

I’ve never used a baggie feeder, I’d only be guided by others instructions on how to use them. I rarely feed my bees on account of so much forage around. If I do feed it will only be to feed a nuc to tie them over for a day or two. In that case, I’d feed them honey from my own bees via a sauce bottle. I place a line of honey along the top bars, then the bees line up on both sides feeding on it. It goes quickly, so I feed them more. Otherwise I’ll use a jam jar with a tiny hole in the lid, inverted so that the bees drink from it via the tiny hole.

It looks like you’ve got the queen in the box, going by the fact that the bees are house cleaning. The closer you put it to the eave, the sooner the bees that return there will find the new location.


PS, the bees will be better off in a box than out in the open under an eave, especially on cold nights.


Thank you for your help Peter. I am certainly a newbie so I am so grateful for the willingness of those who came before me to help me. I am now looking into getting that feeder you are speaking of. I used to get a lot of bees on my humming bird feeders and was thinking about using that but I don’t want them fighting with the hummers.

I would have never known how to tell a queen. Thank you again. These pictures are beautiful. I will keep you all updated as I go along.

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