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Problem hiving a swarm


1st attempt to box the swarm failed - the following day they’d absconded
2nd attempt to box was successful - we left no opening
1st attempt to hive the swam went well, or so I thought. A good proportion of the swarm were tipped into the hive, and I think I saw the queen in the brood box. Queen excluder under the brood box and crown board on with top feeder. But hours later the girls were underneath the hive.
2nd attempt - as per 1st attempt, but clustering in a slightly different place.
3rd attempt - as above
4th attempt I decided to leave the queen excluder off on the basis that if the queen was outside, she could go with the excluder removed. I also put a few drops of lemongrass essence in the hive.
5th attempt, 4 hours later - I removed the base entirely in the hope that the cluster will migrate into the brood box as the temperature drops.
Tomorrow will tell whether this last attempt has worked.

Any advice, gratefully received



That’s a really small swarm:


You can try adding a frame of brood from another hive. That will usually anchor them in the hive. Some swarms just can’t be tamed. Put a bait hive 50 feet away in the shade, if they pick the hive they will stay.


What you can see is about 1/3rd. There’s a another third underneath, and 1/3rd on the other side of the leg


Thank you - I’ll try that


Check each 3rd for virgin queens:


Grab a frame containing mostly open brood. Place it right next to the bees, touching them. Wait 30 minutes, then place that frame containing the bees into the hive, then put the lid on. The queens normally gravitate to the brood, so after 30 minutes she will most likely be on that frame. Forget about the QX at this point.

Then sit back & watch to see if the rest of the colony march into the hive. When you see that, you know the queen is in there.

If you want to be doubly sure that the bees remain in the box, after filling the box with frames to stabilize the brood, take the hive about 5 k’s away. That way the scouts wont encourage the colony to go elsewhere.

You see, at the time of boxing a swarm, the scouts may be on the verge of coming to a decision about a new home. This is something to always keep in mind while boxing swarms.


I pulled out a frame of capped brood from another hive, turned around, and the swarm had gone. Literally they’d gone in moments.
BUT there on the ground was the Queen, so she was quickly scooped up, marked, then put in a Queen cage and put in the hive.
Later workers were coming and going, but I’ve to leave it a day or two before lifting the crown board to see if the swarm returned.
Thank you for all your advice.


Hi Adrian, this happens sometimes when you go chasing swarms. By the time you reach the destination, the bees are gone.

The brood you need for future reference isn’t capped brood, it’s open brood. That is brood that needs feeding straight away. Even if you give a swarm such a frame at the same time as the swarm is preparing to take off, it probably wont hold them. It needs to be during the period when the scouts are still out looking.

PS, I think if you see a lot of serious waggling on the swarm, that could be a sign that they could be getting ready to go. Last time I saw that, I got the bees in the box & didn’t wait till dark to pick the box up, I took the box away, leaving the stragglers behind.