Texas beekeeper Dwain Cleveland brought his swarm box for relocating honeybees to our attention. After seeing it in action, we thought we’d bring it to yours, too, by sharing this video.
Each spring, beekeepers may choose to start a new colony by installing package bees or nucs into a new beehive, or even purchasing fully established hives from another beekeeper. Some enthusiasts, however, enjoy adding to their collection by finding and relocating honeybee colonies or swarms.
In the video below, Dwain shows us a large, well-established wild colony that has reared many generations in the space behind the siding of a very old barn.
Components of the Dadant Swarm Box
The Dadant Swarm Box is an easy-to-use honeybee capture device with three basic components. The solid outer box has a hinged lid and a hole in each end. One end of the box is fitted with an adapter that connects to the hose on most shop or bucket vacuums.
The inner capture box has screened sides and fits inside the swarm box. Each capture box holds approximately three pounds of bees, so you may need to purchase additional catch boxes to relocate larger swarms or colonies. The third component is the extraction hose connected to the front of the swarm box, which is used to suction the honeybees into the catch box.
Capturing Honeybees with the Dadant Swarm Box
Once you have located a colony of honeybees to relocate, it’s a good idea to prepare your equipment before heading out in the field. Be sure to test for a good fit between your hose and the adapter, as hose diameters will vary among different makes and models of vacuums.
When placing a catch box inside the swarm box, the straps should face upward to make it easy to remove once full of honeybees. And don’t forget to cover the hole in the catch box before lifting it out!
After you’ve filled your catch boxes with bees, it’s time to introduce them to their new hive. First, remove your telescoping cover, then replace the standard inner cover with one that has a hole that matches the size of the hole in your catch box. Next, upend the catch box on top of the hive, line up the holes, remove the board keeping the bees in the catch box, and strap it down to the hive to avoid shifting.
Once the honeybees have moved into their new home, remove the catch box and replace the standard inner and telescoping covers.
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