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How Can I Get Bees in My Beehive?

by Camille
(San Marcos, CA)

Swarm Entering a Hive

Swarm Entering a Hive

We had two swarms on our property two years ago. In fact, you helped us remove one.

I have since bought and assembled a brood box and eagerly look forward to another swarm. In the meantime there are many bees in our yard and they love to drink from the bird bath. Is there any thing I can do to attract a swarm to my "Bee House". Would it help to put honey inside?

Thanks for your help. I love your website!


Hi Camille

The bees you're seeing are simply going about their normal business, collecting pollen and nectar. Putting honey inside the box probably won't help, it will attract bees, but only foraging bees which will carry your honey back to their hive.

There are a few things you can do. Of course you're keeping your eyes open for a swarm and I hope telling all your neighbors in case they hear of one, word of mouth is a great source. Here is a demonstration of how to collect a swarm and get it into your hive.

Click on the white triangle to play video.
Right-Click to play full screen.

Watch to see if bees are inspecting the opening of your hive, or any holes which might provide them with a home, such as sprinkler boxes or house roof vents. These will be scout bees from a nearby swarm that are looking for their new location. You need your hive to be a desirable new residence.

You might take a look at my page on bait hives and swarm traps. If you have some old honeycomb (empty), even the foundation in your frames will help, place it in your hive. The smell of beeswax attracts bees. Put a few drops of lemon grass oil on the top bars of the frames.

Put the hive facing east or south if possible, preferably about 8 feet off the ground. The object is to make the hive as attractive to bees as possible so they'll choose the hive rather than the other alternatives. Click here to see a video of a swarm arriving.

I hope that will help, you might like to sign up for our Free Beekeeping Course, if you've had swarms in the past, and you're seeing bees in your garden, there are obviously bee colonies in your area. When these colonies swarm, you'll be ready.

Let me know how you get on.

The Bee Guy

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