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Catching bees in 8 easy steps!


Step 1 - Read books, watch Youtube clips.

Step 2 - Find swarm. Entice someone who’s caught bees before to give you a hand.

Step 3 - Suit up and place box under swarm. Say a prayer.

Step 4 - Cut branch or brush bee swarm into box.

Step 5 - Seal for transportation. 

Step 6 - Open new hive, unseal the box, and tip the bees into hive - branch, queen and all.

Step 7 – Gently shake bees off branch 

Step 8 – Cross your fingers that the queen is in the hive, and that the bees take to their new home!

We’ve been waiting for a call about a swarm of bees needing a new home, and this week it finally came (thanks for the call Mark)! So off we bravely trotted to Cringila, the suburb at the heart of backyard food production in the Illawarra, first time swarm catchers with a ‘how to’ list in our hot little hands. Luckily another experienced local bee keeper joined in the fun and we helped each other catch two swarms, one for each of us, just before the sun was setting - thanks Suri!

Inspired by the art of natural topbar bee keeping advocated by the Barefoot Bee Keeper we built a top bar hive a while back and hope the bees like their new home! They seem to be settling in well, and haven’t flown away, which would have happened if we didn’t catch the queen. 

We’re really looking forward to looking after these beautiful, productive creatures, and hope you will enjoy our occasional topbar bee keeping posts! Have you had any experience keeping bees?

Reader Comments (7)

Good on you for trying beekeeping! I'm looking forward to hearing how you go with it.

We don't have honeybees, but we are planning to get a hive for a species of native bee that produces sugarbag honey. They aren't as productive as the European bees, but they are native to the Illawarra and are short of homes because, like many bird species, they like to live in tree hollows...
October 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmma
Hi guys
Wow that looks heaps cool, i would love to have bee's but with 2 small kids i'm gunna wait we have had one bee sting not fun! looked into the native stingless bees but they where outta our price range, can't wait to hear more up dates,
did you guys get that huge rain fall on yesterday Sat 15/10, wow we had 100ml from 3am till lunch time?
October 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaz
Oh I love that! I am keen to be a beekeeper, perhaps next Spring, after we get used to being chicken keepers first! Good luck with your new bees!
October 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdixiebelle
I'm looking at building the Barefoot Bee Keeper top bar hive here in the Border Ranges. I'm hoping to entice the native bees to take up residence, although if nothing happens I will have to resort to finding a swarm as you did. Great to see photo's of the process and your hive.
October 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJo
Great to hear you're interested in getting native bees Emma, they would be a fantastic edition to a native garden! We'd like to look into getting native bees down the track too :)

We did get that crazy rain Kaz, about 160mm over Friday night and Sat morning - it was crazy! We had mulch floating around the garden, but no damage - hope you didn't get any damage to your garden?

Thanks for your kind wishes Dixibelle, hope things go well with your chooks and you can move onto bees too!

Great to hear you're looking at building a top bar hive Jo, they really are a fantastic home for bees to live in! Best of luck with your bee keeping!
October 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterHappyEarth
That's Great. I have a swarmful of bees in my living room wall. Any help on how to get them out?
July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWildLove
How did your bees go? We are finally making plans for our top bar hive, and thinking on whether to wait for Spring swarms that might need a new home, or to buy bees.

(Also, I hope your bubba is doing well!)
July 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdixiebelle

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