SETTING UP A BAIT HIVE CAN BE A WAY TO CATCH A SWARM – 4th wk in June 2014

Keith Pierce, a famous beekeeper in Dublin, told me once about how he sets up an empty brood box at a height at least 2 metres off the ground. This can act as a bait to catch a swarm. The scout bees locate the new hive and the swarm follows them in the entrance to take up residence, if one is lucky.

I tried this idea by placing an empty brood box on the roof of a shed. In due course, I observed a swarm settling on a nearby branch. Sure enough, I spotted some scout bees checking out the bait hive, which had some bait hive scent around the entrance. ( This product is available from bee equipment suppliers).

I did not wait, however, to see if the swarm would take up residence on my shed roof. Instead, I knocked the swarm in to a cardboard box. Then I placed

This bait hive on the shed roof is a brood box placed on top of an empty super. This give a new swarm room to enter the hive quickly, but it makes moving the full hive more awkward - so I may drop that idea!

This bait hive on the shed roof is a brood box placed on top of an empty super. This give a new swarm room to enter the hive quickly, but it makes moving the full hive more awkward – so I may drop that idea! A wedge keeps the whole hive level.

the empty brood box on a proper hive stand in the apiary and transferred the swarm from the box in the traditional way. ( See blog entry ‘1st wk of June 2014).

The one drawback of the bait hive positioned at a height is the challenge of lifting it down to locate it in the apiary once a swarm has taken up residence. Keith mentioned he has a fork-lift type device to manoeuvre the hive. At the very least, get a friend to help as a brood box containing bees can be awkward and heavy. However, the bait hive is a good insurance policy against losing a swarm, if one can afford to use an empty brood box in this way.

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