Hi, I bought a house from a beekeeper and every year bees swarm from a tree with a hole in it. What is the best way to catch these bees?
Is it feasible to nail an empty bee hive over the hole or should I try to tempt them into a hive close by?
If you mean remove the colony from the tree, I'm afraid neither method will work. Your best bet would be to contact a beekeeper to remove the colony from the tree.
The colony in the tree will not leave their brood. So the only way to remove the colony from the tree is for someone to cut out and remove all the comb for relocation into a hive.
But if you're asking if you can catch a swarm that issues from that colony, then yes, you might be able to do that.
Probably your best chance would be to buy a bait hive, and set it up in the vicinity of the tree. (Most bee supply companies sell bait hives.) Then when the colony in the tree throws a swarm, there's a chance the swarm will select your bait hive as its home. Of course, there's a chance that it won't, too :)
And if you happen to be around when the swarm issues, you might be able to catch it even if it doesn't go into your bait hive. Swarms usually settle in an intermediate location not far from the parent colony while deciding on a permanent location. If the swarm settles in a location where you can reach it, you can shake the bees into a hive box.
However, if you've never kept bees, I highly recommend that you don't try that without the assistance of an experienced beekeeper.
And don't bother with nailing a hive in front of the colony's entrance. That will likely just result in the bees becoming defensive, and you getting stung. It will NOT result in the parent colony or its swarm moving into the hive.
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