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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

Thanks for all the advice. Still no luck after 2 weeks but i know i have to be patient. Turns out a friend has just started with a new beehive in the next village, and he gave me some cloth bait baskets so we put those in trees around the house, about 2m height. Today we heard a loud buzz and found a hole in a neighbor’s wall with a honey bee colony. I put on my bee suit and tried to gently move them into a cardboard box, no success. Then i got out the smoker, and puffed smoke into the hole. Many bees came out, i left the cardboard box underneath, and 2 bait baskets in nearby trees. I went back an hour later, around 5pm; a lot less activity, just a few bees entering the hole, none leaving. Still possible they will swarm out after my smoke? Should i smoke more? Any advice appreciated on what i can do to get this colony into my beehive!

Hello Tom, That cardboard box is too far from the colonies entrance and if it is just a cardboard box they would have no interest in it.
If you put a bee hive with a frame of honey and a frame of young brood with the nurse bees in the hive then you would then have an attractant for the bees under the concrete slab to move in and take the queen with them. A bee walking bridge between the hive entrance and the hole in the concrete would be a big help.

Hi, just a short note to say that i found some beekeepers in my village and they were happy to supply me with a colony of Apis Cerana, in a kind of nucleus with 5 frames which i transferred into my Flow brood box 2 weeks ago. They seem to be doing well. According to the local beekeepers we are in the lean season, not much nectar available until August.
Thanks for all the advice.

(i put some more pics on https://muiwobeeclub.weebly.com/ in case you’re interested to see what we’re doing in Hong Kong)


Thanks for the update Tom, great that you have some other local to you that are happy to have helped you.
Did you ever get the bees from under the concrete slab?

Hi Tom, could you please tell me what kind of apis cerana bees you have? Is it Apis Cerana Indica?

We are waiting for our flowhive to arrive, and I’m still wondering whether to use it for the italian honeybee or the the apis cerana indica. We are located in South India. Thanks!

hi, i’m not 100% sure what subspecies we have here, i would assume it is the native apis cerana cerana, which would be different from the indica according to this page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apis_cerana
so far i cannot confirm yet that the flow hive system works with apis cerana, currently there is not enough nectar flow for the colony to expand and produce extra honey so i have not put the flow box on the brood box yet. i hear that the apis cerana colonies are generally smaller, and prefer smaller boxes. the Japanese pile box is indeed a lot smaller. also, my friend found an Indian standard box description which uses frames but of a smaller size, maybe for the same reason. the Chinese boxes are international size similar to the flow hive but they like to use divider boards to make the inside space smaller.

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