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What do I put in a hive to catch some bees?

by Diane - April 26th, 2017.
Filed under: Bees.

How to bait a hive to catch bees
If you have access to a frame of old brood comb, that is clean, disease free and without any honey or pollen in, then you can add this to your bait hive. New beekeepers won’t have any of this so will have to rely on a swarm lure.

You can buy them in tiny phials from various bee equipment companies, but you can also use lemongrass oil. But you have to get the right one!
You want Cymbopogon Citratus!


Buy this lemongrass oil at amazon

Don’t use honey or comb with honey in. This will not bring a swarm in but will encourage bees to rob the comb and potentially carry disease back to their own hive.
You need to have a bait hive of the right size for the bees to want to make it a home. Tom Seeley says 40l, a couple of meters up off the ground, with a 15cm2 entrance at the bottom of the cavity. Used comb inside helps entice bees as mentioned above, and it should be dry inside. A purpose built box will work. My husband made me a bait box using scaffold boards – it’s very heavy! But it worked. We made some top bars rather than leave frames in for the bees to build on.
It’d spent the winter in my shed on my allotment and I was planning on taking it to the mother-in-law’s house to put on her flat roofed garage. In the meantime it sat on my compost bin made of pallets and one Saturday I had a call from a plot holder about bee activity. A swarm was in the process of moving in as I got there! Amazing!

Bees scout out potential homes. They come on their own to start and if they investigate inside and out, and like it they go and tell other bees via dances. They recruit other bees who also come and check it out. Shortly before they move in the activity can get quite frantic.

Sometimes bees will fight over a potential home.