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Ever tried to catch a swarm? If you have you know it can be an adventure. Swarming is a natural occurrence that occurs with every honey bee hive, everywhere, every time. There is no way around it unfortunately.There are many ways to capture a swarm, whether it be capturing them directly into a tool like the Hipps Swarm Retriever or luring them to a trap or an empty hive using pheromones. If you have a hive, though, and keep a watchful eye on it, catching a swarm can be made much easier with a SWARM BANDIT.

What is the Swarm Bandit?

The Swarm Bandit is a screened-front box that fits over the entrance of your hive. It is available in an 8 and 10 Frame style. The top portion of the Swarm Bandit front is a mesh screen that helps traps the bees but across the bottom is a portion of a metal queen excluder. This allows for some movement in and out of the hive but still successfully traps the queen.

How does the Swarm Bandit work?

The goal of the Swarm Bandit is to catch the queen as she attempts to leave the hive with the swarm. Once you notice that your hive is about to swarm, set up the Swarm Bandit over the entrance of your hive. You will not want to keep it there longer than a few hours. Once you have noticed the queen is inside the Swarm Bandit, close the latch that covers the rear entrance to the Swarm Bandit.

Remove the Swarm Bandit from the hive and place it into the entrance of an empty hive. Open the rear latch and allow the queen to travel into the new hive. The original queen leaves with the swarm so a frame full of her own brood in the new hive will attract her out of the Swarm Bandit.

What are some of the signs of a swarm?

Size of the Brood Nest: Honey bees instinctively decrease the size of their brood nest in preparation for swarming. After swarming, half the population will only be able to manage half the amount of brood. Room will be alleviated to store nectar and pollen as the colony begins to reduce the size of the brood nest. Beekeepers may mistake this as a honey bound hive when in fact the colony is prepping to swarm.

Swarm Cells: These are some of the most obvious indicators that your colony intends to swarm. Multiple queen cups which are clumped together at the bottom of a frame are indeed swarm cells. Swarm cells are produced in preparation for swarming.

Size of the Queen: In order to prepare for swarming the colony will reduce the amount fed to the queen so she will lose weight and be able to fly with the swarm. Locating the queen within a hive can be difficult. Therefore, noticing a reduction in her size is nearly impossible.

Please call 1-800-233-7929 if you have any additional questions.