Catching a swarm is a handy way to grow your apiary. It’s also good beekeeping practice, as swarms can cause a nuisance by setting up in an inconvenient location or displacing native fauna. We’ve got a great blog with detailed instructions on what to do when catching a swarm.
But if the swarm you’ve found is high up in a tree, things get a little more complicated. Accessing the swarm isn’t so easy and mucking about with a ladder could be risky. A handy trick to catch an inaccessible swarm is to use a long pole. Attach a container (maybe a bucket or a box) to your pole and shake the swarm into it.
Want to see how Cedar pulls off this high-flying swarm catch? Check out the video!
You’ll need a new home for the bees - this can be a brood box or a smaller nuc box to let them get established. We’ve put together a swarm kit so you can be prepared (the pole’s not included 😉).
Base & Stand - Flow Hive 2+
Brood Box - Flow Hive 2+
Flow Hive 2+ Gabled Roof
High swarm catch with a newbee
Watch our latest member of the hive Sophie catch her very first swarm! Cedar talks through why bees swarm, catching the swarm, and building the swarm kit. This one isn't as high, but it still needs a ladder to reach!
Always wear a beekeeping suit when catching a swarm. Honeybees are usually quite docile when they’re swarming, but it’s best to stay safe.
A good swift shake is the best way to get the swarm into your container.
Drop the swarm straight into their new brood box or nuc box, or else drop them in front of it. If you get the queen in the box, the rest of the bees will follow. Check it out in Pete’s swarm catch below.
If you can, cut the branch the swarm was on, shake any remaining bees off, and discard the branch. This will mean fewer bees returning to where the swarm had been.
If possible, leave the box in place until the evening. This will allow any stray foraging bees to return to the hive before you move it to its new location.