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Placing swarm traps

Capturing swarms is a useful activity that makes it easy to get new colonies. Don't think this is a specialist's business. However, there are rules that must be respected for the operation to be successful. To find out when and how to go about it, I invite you to read the article on placing swarm traps.

What material to use?

The Beehive

For the trapping to be successful, I advise you to use old equipment. A beehive that has been used for at least one season is preferable. This hive has a smell that will attract bees. Above all, do not remove the propolis that will bring in the bees.

To revive the smells, it is recommended to pass the walls of the hive with a torch so that the odors are strong.

If you don't have any used beehives, get some propolis and rub it on the inside walls of the hive. Some use swarm attractiveness.

Hive capacity

A 5 or 6 frame hive is sufficient, but you can also use a ten frame beehive.

When to place trap hives?

The ideal is to place the traps a little before the swarming period. Depending on your region you can start in March. At home, the swarms start in April or even at the end of March, so the trap hives will be placed for mid-March at the latest.

It is better to place the hives too early than too late.

How to proceed?

Very black frames

Do not place your trap empty. The ideal is to put two old black frames in the hive. Do not put more than two to avoid having infestations by the wax moth. Also avoid using frames that contain honey as it attracts ants.

Frames with beeswax sheet

Between your two black frames placed on the edges, place the frames already equipped with 1 inch beeswax sheets. The purpose of these frames is to avoid the anarchic constructions that the bees could make.

Swarms attractant

Certain smells will favor the visit of the Girl Scouts. It is advisable to rub the inside of the hive-trap with a mixture of wax and propolis. 

Where to place the trap hives?

In nature

The ideal is to place traps in places where you have already collected swarms. Often these places will give swarms in the following years.

Avoid placing trap hives near a beekeeper's apiary. He wouldn't be happy with your practice. Put yourself in his place.

Choose quiet places, not close to high traffic areas for the safety of passers-by. Also avoid places that are too visible because you risk seeing your hives disappear.

Place your trap hives at a height of one meter fifty two meters on a solid and fixed support, sheltered from the wind and the curious. Choose an exposure to the south or the east.

Near your apiary

Do not place your trap hives too close to the apiary. The best is between 50 and two hundred meters from the apiary. Less if you place the trap behind a hedge.


Once your equipment is in place, it is best to visit it regularly, every two or three days. See if there are any visits. Do not intervene too quickly because the first visits are the work of scout bees which come well before the swarming. Above all, do not disturb them. This is the reason why trap hives must be placed before the start of swarming.

Wait until there is a characteristic back and forth to be sure the hive is inhabited by a colony. A sign that does not deceive is the collect of pollen.

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