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My first swarm capture


Whilst taking my dogs for their regular walk today, came across a very large swarm on the curb of the road. Someone had already been at it and left behind 4 full size frames taped together with duct tape which the bees were ignoring.
Ranger was present and advised he was going to ring bee keepers to come and remove said swarm. Told him I was a bee keeper, and I’d be glad to capture them. So he cancelled his calls, and allowed me to pick them up.
Right, never done this before in my life. Raced home, lucky I had a box ready,10 frames, took out four, put it in the car together with my bee suit/gloves/smoker/brush/shovel. On arrival put box on ground near swarm, took off lid,cranked up the smoker, (just in case) immediately had a problem.
Because the bees had chosen to swarm on the curb and the road where it met the curb, there was a lot of leaf litter and crap, so how to separate the bees from the crap ??? In the end, thought stuff it, will separate the crap in the box later when things have settled down some. Gently slid the shovel underneath the swarm, lifted them up and shook them into the box. Most went into the box, though some decided to fly around above it. A few more shovels full and the majority of them were in the box. Put the lid on, and all the bees that were flying around tried to get into the box. Wasn’t going to risk putting a box covered with bees in the car, so brushed them off and then placed the box in the car. I did leave a few bees behind confused where the majority went, but couldn’t do much about that.
Brought them home and placed the box on it’s stand and opened the door.
Things appeared to be peaceful, so I left them to it. Checked them a couple of hours later and found bees were busy chucking out the leaf litter, so I guess they’ve accepted their new home. Time will tell.
I’ll leave them to it for a week or two, then pop the top to see how things are developing within, clear out any litter and comb that’s not on the frames, insert the full set of frames and let them get on with it.
Quiet chuffed at my first effort. Not one sting either. Cool.


Very cool story. Well done


If you could have left the hive there till dark you would have got all the bees in by sunset. Did you note the bees fanning their wings as the ones outside tried to get in? When you see them fanning at the entrance you know you’ve got the queen.

I caught one up a tree a few days ago- it was a bit difficult as the bees were wrapped right around the tree and not in a big clump. I used a piece of cardboard to scrape a big pile off and dump them into my box. I got lucky as immediately the bees started fanning on the frames- I put the box on a bin beside the tree about a meter below the swarm- and watched in awe as thousands of bees marched down the tree into my box. It’s quite a sight to behold!


Gday Jack.Interesting story. I have,nt yet retrieved a swarm from a tree or shrub, looking forwards though to the event. This swarm was on the ground covering at least 1.5 meters, plus half were on the road and the other half on the kerb. The road received much traffic thru the day and the Ranger wanted them gone, so I did not have the luxury of waiting until dark. Also area was vulnerable to vandalism. Sometimes we do what we can, with the tools and conditions available at the time.

However,all is not lost,I will take onboard your suggestions as I believe they do have merit.

Ch eers,



now worries at all- sometimes there is no option but to sacrifice some bees.

Trees and bushes are often the easiest of all if they are not too high- if you are lucky the bees are in one uniform clump: you can place a Nuc below- one sharp jolt on the branch and the entire lot fall in. Many will take to flight and return to the branch but almost Invariably the queen is in the box and by dark virtually every single bee is in the box. If you have the luxury you can catch them at sunset and take the box away half an hour later. I love catching swarms.

the day before I caught the swarm above I caught two swams off a fence 6 feet apart. One went in easy- the other was proving difficult to get off the wall from behind branches. Then we spotted the queen in the mix: grabbed her with a little queen cage/clip thing- placed that inbetween the bars of the Nuc and watched as all the bees marched on in. That was only the second time I have actually seen the queen in the swarm.


One question Jack, Not withstanding the excitement and satisfaction of capturing a swarm, if one already has as many hives as one is allowed to in accordance with the Local Council By laws, what is one to do with these captured swarms ???
I’m considering purchasing a couple of NUC boxes with four/five frames to put the swarm in and then advertise them for sale after a few weeks.




that’s exactly the issue I have now- I have caught more swarms than I know what to do with. So like you- I will be advertising and selling some. I would look after a swarm for 1 month- check to make sure the queen is good with a good laying pattern and then sell them.


My thoughts exactly.


Since I wrote that: I caught another one! A giant! One of my own hives…, went through it destroyed 6 queen cells- left one that had a queen releasing herself as I watched… bees!!


O.M.G. So you suggest destroying Queen cells if found in Hive ?


Only in a hive that has just swarmed- otherwise you will have afterswarms most likely. especially in a season like this one. I had two hives at that location and to date they issued 4 swarms over 7 days. When I inspected the one that swarmed yesterday I saw one queen emerging and at least 3 other viable queen cells. Had I not destroyed them I would likely get another call for another swarm tomorrow or today. I left the queen I saw emerging- i just hope there wasn’t already another virgin wandering around! I will check it in 12 days or so to see if they have a good queen or no.


I’ve had my hive send off a swarm as well already. There’s still heaps of bees hanging off the front entry every day. Dunno whether they are building up, or simply cooling off outside the hive.
On cool nights, they all go back inside.