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The Seifert swarmtube (bees in trees)


In Germany it’s swarm season just now. A beekeeper here, Henry Seifert, uses plastic drainpipe (“KG pipe” it’s called here) to get otherwise unreachable swarms high in tree branches. You can see his video, which includes shots of him using the contraption, here:

A friend and I used a three-meter version of this yesterday to grab a swarm that we otherwise would not have been able to reach.

Here are some more example images:

You just sort of gently run the tube into the swarm and/or along the branch. The bees come tumbling down in clumps. Henry uses a nylon stocking to catch them. You need the knot in it at the bottom so that you have a “handle” when tipping them into your swarm box.

Worked like a charm for us even though quite a few bees were still left on the branch. But as you know, where the queen goes (or lands) so goes the swarm.

Here’s a photo demonstrating how you can use the tube to bring a water sprayer into play before scooping:

We didn’t do this, but did end up wetting down the inside of the tubes first (because they were dirty). I think this was a good idea.

If you are really watching your nickels and dimes, you could buy the pipe pieces you need, catch a swarm, then return them to the DIY market “unused”.



That one loooong tube! I’d be worried I wouldn’t be able to properly see the bees and end up crushing them all. :flushed:


The photos show perhaps an extreme example. The weight does add up. So, if you have a choice, choose the thinnest-walled, lightest pipe. And the whole process is much easier if you can work as a team with someone. The “bottom person” needs to bear the weight and make sure that the end beneath is in order, while the “upper person” (possibly on a ladder) needs to guide the business end. If branches are dense, it really takes some manipulation to feed the end up into the branches and rotate the tube to a mostly vertical position.

Is just an idea – nothing more frustrating than a swarm you can’t (safely) reach. Except perhaps arriving somewhere to collect a swarm and finding that another beekeeper is there before you. (I saw that this happened to someone here in Berlin just the other day.)


I wish I could understand German, that bloke sounds like a bit of a comedian. For a little while there I thought he was giving a condom demonstration.


Here’s another video. The sack the beekeeper is using to catch them in is what skep beekeepers use to catch swarms issuing from their straw bee hives – the front flap (not visible here) is pinned to the hive and the bees fly right in. Of course, you have to be sitting there on swarm day, smoking your pipe and watching and waiting.

But the video does show the device in action. After he’s caught a good portion of the swarm, he hangs the bag close to where the bees are flying, and comments in the audio that even if the queen is not inside, the bees flying will tend to join the rest of the swarm once they locate it.


I recently saw a swarm catcher on this forum that I think works much better. I think from memory you can buy them for around $20.00US