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What to do with this swarm

I have a situation where I set a swarm trap and a swarm has moved onto the box instead of in it. Processing: C35136E9-65E5-4172-9769-F5F4221FBB4C.jpeg…

My question is: is it likely they will move into the box, or should I try and catch them into another box?

If you carefully put a frame of open brood into the trap, it should entice the queen and colony to stay.

The photo didn’t upload, but I assume it’s a hive box you’re using?

Yeah it won’t let me upload a photo for some reason. It’s a 5 frame swarm trap, it has 5 full depth frames plus some extra room underneath the frames. Unfortunately I don’t have a frame of brood as I am just new to all of this.

Did you use swarm commander or lemongrass oil? Sometimes if you use too much, the bees are put off by it.

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I used swarm commander, but only a spray on the landing board and inside the lid, and that was a week ago.
I got home from work and the big clump is gone, so the swarm has either moved in or gone elsewhere.


This is the swarm… they didn’t move in sadly.

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That’s a shame but good try. I have had about a 50% hit rate with a swarm trap. Most likely because I put it up too late and they already knew where they were going to go.
If your lucky and see them move off and can find them then good chance you can retrieve them then.
I have found them usually within a few hundred metres especially where there are bird boxes etc on trees.


I think this is a classic example of providing the perfect home that simply wasn’t good enough.

It reminds me of a Bird of Paradise male doing a beautiful dance in an Attenborough documentary, to impress a female. In that case the dance just wasn’t up to scratch, so therefore the female went looking for a male that can do a more impressive dance.

In that case, there’s only one female to impress. In our case there’s hundreds of females to impress.



I couldn’t find them unfortunately, as I wasn’t there when they left.

That’s a great video Jeff.
So far catching a swarm has proved very frustrating. I have had numerous bees in and around the swarm trap everyday. Then that big swarm the other day as well as a small one a couple of weeks earlier.
Bit of a head scratcher at this stage.

It is a bit of a head scratcher, however thinking about it makes me realize that there must be plenty of options available to the bees.

I’m wondering if you should remove the frames because scout bees like to run the ruler over the inside to work out the volume. Maybe the presence of 5 frames makes it difficult for them to accurately work out the volume. I know possum or bird boxes don’t have any bee frames in them, & they seem to attract swarms.

It was interesting to watch Gardening Australia last night. They interviewed a bloke who puts out bird boxes. One thing they do to deter bee colonies from moving in is to provide cross ventilation under the roof. They reckon that with cross ventilation under the roof, bees wont move in. Therefore make sure that everything is reasonably air tight except for the entrance.

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That’s an interesting point, I might try that.

There shouldn’t be any problems with air tightness, the lid is solid and very snug.

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Hi @Wrenhill , you don’t happen to have a sailing boat on a trailer with access into the galley cupboards, do you? Because that’s where I’m heading off shortly to retrieve a colony that moved into such a lure. Incidentally, the owner of the boat wasn’t actually trying to catch a swarm :slight_smile: He tried everything to deter them, however the bees were determined to make that galley their home. They’ll have to settle for the inside of one of my hives :slight_smile: in a different setting. It’s nice where the boat is. There’s about 8 resident kangaroos that come & go as they please…

I don’t unfortunately Jeff, although I’m now thinking of other odd things I have laying around that could lure a swarm better than my purpose built trap haha.
That would have to be one of the more unique trap outs in your experience wouldn’t it?

Yes, I guess so. Bees move into all sorts of places, which makes you wonder “why there, is that the best spot available within the range of the scout bees?” Other examples are, inside a rolled up piece of carpet, the back of an old tv, through the bung hole under the floor of a boat, a tea chest full of antique car parts. One was through a hole in a round steel fence post. That was a most unlikely spot because I would have thought it would have gotten pretty hot inside that pipe on a hot day.

PS if you have plenty of material on hand with plenty of spare time, you could build several swarm lures of varying sizes & heights up trees & facing different directions. You’re bound to catch one sooner or later.

Unfortunately spare time is not something I have heaps of at the moment.
Interestingly the swarm (or another one) is back on the box today. We’ll see what happens this time.