Skip to Main Menu Skip to Content

Getting Started: Catching Swarms

You can get started keeping bees by finding and installing swarms. Sometimes swarms cluster on accessible places such as low tree branches, and property owners are usually eager for a beekeeper to remove them. Your county Extension agent will be glad to take your name as a referral for swarm calls.

If you find a safely accessible swarm, get a five-gallon plastic bucket with some kind of perforated cover such as window screening. Spray the swarm heavily with sugar syrup, place the bucket underneath it then give the branch a sharp shake to dislodge bees into the bucket. Cover the bucket and install the swarm in a hive as you would packaged bees (except for the steps on installing a caged queen, see Installing Packaged Bees).

If the swarm is in the vicinity of your apiary, remove the branch containing the swarm (Fig. 1) and shake the swarm in front of an empty hive (Fig. 2). The swarm will enter the empty hive (Fig. 3) and establish their new colony.

Fig. 1Fig. 1
Fig. 2Fig. 2
Fig. 3Fig. 3