Easy Steps For Capturing Your First Swarm
Capturing a swarm of bees can be a challenging but rewarding task. Swarming bees are generally less defensive and more docile than established colonies, making them a valuable resource for beekeepers.
For the easiest and quickest swarm collection method, use our Everything Bee Vacuum. This takes all the hassle out of swarm collecting as you simply strap the backpack collection bucket to you back, and have both hands free to suck up the swarm. It even allows you to gentle circulate air through the collection bucket afterwards to ensure your bees don't over heat.
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Here are the steps to successfully capture a swarm of bees if you haven't got a Bee Vacuum:
1. Identify the Swarm: First, you need to locate the swarm. Swarming bees are often found clustered together on a tree branch, fence, or any other suitable surface. They can vary in size from a small cluster to a larger mass of bees.
2. Gather Your Equipment:
- Bee Suit: Wear a bee suit to protect yourself from stings. Ensure all clothing is securely fastened to prevent bees from getting inside.
- Gloves: Thick gloves will protect your hands.
- Smoker: A bee smoker is used to calm the bees by puffing cool smoke into the area.
- Swarm Collection Box: This can be a cardboard box or our corflute Nuc boxes are fantastic for capturing swarms.
- Complete Hive: A hive where you plan to transfer the captured swarm into.
- Ladder or Pruning Tools: Depending on the swarm's height, you may need a ladder or pruning tools to reach the swarm.
3. Prepare the Swarm Collection Box: - Make sure the box is clean and has ventilation holes. Our corflute nuc's are ideal as they can have 2-6 ventilation panels installed for collections even in the height of summer. Place the box near the swarm site. Inside the box, add a frame with some old brood comb or a little bit of lemongrass oil on a cotton ball to attract the bees.
4. Use water Mist/Spray: -
5. Shake or Brush the Bees into the Box: - Carefully shake or brush the bees into the swarm collection box. Ensure the queen is in the box, as the rest of the swarm will follow her.
6. Close the Box: - Once most of the bees are inside, close the box carefully, leaving a small opening for stragglers to enter.
7. Use Smoke: Gently use the bee smoker to blow cool smoke towards the location where swarm clustered. This will help counteract any remaining queen pheromone and help prevent bees from going back. We also stock hessian sacking which is ideal for using as your smoker fuel.
8. Move the Swarm: If the swarm is located far from your desired beekeeping location, carefully transport the box to your apiary.
9. Transfer to a Hive: - Once at your beekeeping location, transfer the bees from the collection box into a prepared hive. Make sure you have frames with wax coated or foundation or even drawn comb in the hive for the bees to start building their new colony more quickly. They will take to the hive better as well with drawn comb.
9A. Treat for Varroa: When you transfer the hive, also ensure you treat them for varroa. They may have swarmed because of an infestation problem and you can't be to careful.
10. Monitor: Keep an eye on the newly captured swarm for several days to ensure they are settling into their new hive. Provide food if necessary, such as sugar syrup or a pollen substitute. Check to see how they are drawing new comb and if your Queen is laying.
11. Regular Hive Care: Continue to care for the swarm as you would with any other beehive, including inspections, feeding, and disease management.
**Remember, capturing swarms can be unpredictable, and it's important to be cautious and well-prepared. If you're new to beekeeping, it's advisable to seek guidance from an experienced beekeeper or join a local beekeeping association for hands-on training and support. Additionally, local laws and regulations may govern beekeeping and swarm removal, so be sure to check and comply with these rules.