Swarm Moving up into Skep


This is a picture of a swarm similar to the one in my previous post moving from a young pear tree into a skep that is propped on an iron bar.

Gareth, Cotswolds

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7 Responses to Swarm Moving up into Skep

  1. salp111 says:

    Did you use a lure to encourage them into the skep or did they just think (maybe!) yippee a warm dark place? And how long had they been there before you positioned the skep?

    • simplebees says:

      The skep was baited with two drops of lemongrass oil. The bees had been there for minutes only as I saw the swarm emerge from it’s hive.

  2. solarbeez says:

    Thanks for posting that. I just noticed a swarm in my apple tree this evening when I came home from visiting the kids. They had been there probably for several hours. I clipped the branches and shook them into my new Warre. Do you think if I had done the same thing as you, they would have crawled up to the skep? Even after several hours? It was nearing dark when I returned.
    Oregon Coast, USA

    • simplebees says:

      Probably, if you positioned the skep right over the cluster then took some of the bees from the outside of the cluster with your hand and introduced them into the skep. They will walk up from your hand if you hold it open inside the skep. I’ve just spent an hour of two up a ladder in a mature flowering apple tree (ornamental and festooned with flowers) doing just this. The bees moved into the skep and then back out again. Second time round the queen went in (I guess) and the bees stayed. There were quite a few more shenanigans getting the skep out of the branches and back down to the ground but I got there eventually.


  3. tramcaro says:

    Keeping abreast of the swarms is a full time job. I have now filled all my hives (3 top bar and 3 Nationals). I have a colony which took up residence in a skep in a walk-in dog kennel last year. Understandably, they swarmed, but I let it go as I now don’t have the room.
    Can you advise Gareth: I am seeing signs of wax moth in one of my top bar hives. What do I do/use to kill it off before it gets a hold. Last year, through ignorance, I lost a hive to the grubs. Who needs superglue; their web is horrendous. Lots of burning of combs etc.

    • simplebees says:

      Can you advise Gareth: I am seeing signs of wax moth in one of my top bar hives. What do I do/use to kill it off before it gets a hold.

      I confess I use my fingers! But I have never seen a serious problem in a healthy hive.


  4. sachamallen says:

    Hi all,

    Our bees swarmed today! yesterday they tried swarming onto a tree above the hive but then seemed to change their minds and went back into the hive. But today we had a phone call from our very helpful neighbour who was keeping an eye on them to say a very large swarm had formed on another tree, luckily a bit lower down this time. I managed to get back home in time to see this and between my neighbour and I we managed to get the swarm into a warre box. This all went very smoothly and the queen must have been in the main cluster to fall in as they were soon on the front of the box fanning their nasonov pheromones. Now they seem to be mostly in the box which I have shaded from the sun, and I have everything crossed that they like it and stay! I’ve attached some photos.

    I just wanted to ask your advice on a couple of things:

    My plan is to leave the box (currently in the back garden near to the old hive and where they swarmed) until dusk and then move it into place on top of the main hive. We currently have this new hive in our front garden. I understand that when bees swarm they ‘reset’ their compass and so relocating them is not an issue even when it is between 3ft and 3km, but is this still the case if they have spent an afternoon in the hive box already? I could move them to their final position now before they get too used to it but thought it would be better to let them settle into their new home until dusk and then move them.

    My other question is do we need to put a queen excluder over the entrance to the new hive for the next few days to stop them trying to swarm again?

    Many thanks for any advice!


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