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Newbee Hong Kong - bait hive advice

Hi, i’m new to beekeeping, just received my flowhive and painted it with a few layers of water-based enamel outdoor wood paint. Outside and inside, as the climate here in Hong Kong is rather harsh for wood.
Now for the bees, as there are plenty of bees around this time of the year, i would like to attempt to lure a swarm into my hive. I’ve watched the beekeeper.org intro lessons, and they mention the ‘bait hive’, i want to give that a shot. The local honey bees should be of the apis cerana, asiatic bee variety, not the mellifera. I have watched a few videos, and used a cotton bud to swipe some lemongrass oil around the entrance, and on the 8 frames. I have also put a piece of honeycomb inside. Unfortunately it has been raining a lot since i’ve installed this 4 days ago, so i don’t expect much activity. I’m happy to be patient, and of course interested in hearing any advice on the bait hives, and any contacts in Hong Kong. Many thanks- Tom

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Hi @Tom, welcome to the forum. Just an observation, not totally relative to your question, but is your flow hive entrance facing the wall on your photo ?
Could be restricting the flight path for any bees to and from your hive, it looks fairly close to that wall.
With reference to attracting a swarm to your hive, i’m sure you will receive advice from more knowledgeable people than me on this forum, and good luck. Cheers, G

surprisingly bees will navigate that quite easily…

Welcome @Tom. To catch bee, need to think like bee. Scouts will look for somewhere high - free from predators.

It would be worth to check with flow of the cell size is suitable for the breeds mentioned above.

Keep us posted.

Painting the inside was a mistake. Bees chew everything. It also breaks down with time and will contaminate wax, honey stores.

Welcome to the forum Tom, you will find lots of people happy to pass on advice and heaps of reading here.
Any scout bees looking for a location for a move of the colony will find the hive where it is. Using lemon grass is a positive but if you use too much I have read it can deter bees more than attract them.
I have gone back to painting the inside of my bee boxes that I used to do decades ago but stopped for some reason. I have gone back to painting inside the hives to help with mold in my wet season here.
Rubbing on or painting some melted bees wax inside the hive might help attract bees as well.
Sorry I have no experience with apis cerana in particular.

Thanks guys for all the feedback.
I’ve put the hive in the location where i want it to be eventually, as far away from the house as possible, but i realise this might not be the best place to lure a swarm in. I have other options, on the balconies of my house (see picture) first floor, second floor, or even on the roof (about 8m from ground level). My main worry is that in case of success, i will need to carry the brood box full of bees through the house, to put it in its current location, that sounds a bit risky. And would such a short distance move confuse the bees, or is that no problem at all?

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Hi Tom, there is no problem with relocating a hive with swarm bees providing the queen is with them. The bees will return to the hive with the queen. The will just spend the next couple of days going through the re orientating process. I understand your concern about moving the hive through your house, however if the hive opening is properly secured with a opening closer and use 50mm wide cloth tape to hold it secured there. Also put a strap right around the hive to firmly secure the lid/roof.
Alternatively, if you manage to catch a swarm on the lower balcony you may be able to lift the hive over the balustrade and lower it down on a ladder but still secure the hive as mentioned before. Good luck
Cheers, G


My choice to both attract a swarm and to keep the hive happy would be where it is in the garden. Once bees move into the hive it is best not to move them, it can be done but if you don’t need to move them leave them alone.
Am often ignored disadvantage of a hive on a balcony is that at night a light will attract any bees to a window. A balcony is usually wide enough for a hive but what about enough working room for you as well?
Cheers Tom