Salvaging a Swarm

About: Maker Wannabe

I was kept busy during swarm season this year trying to catch the many swarms my hives were throwing. I had a less than 50% success rate. Either too high or not staying long enough to be collected. But one was just 4 feet off the ground and that I did manage to get into a box. It was a rush job and I didn't have enough frames with me to fill the box (I had 5 frames and it was an 8-frame box). So life happened and when I got box open to add the frames this is what I found (photo above):

There was no inner cover so one of the frames was struck to the inside of the outer cover plus they had drawn out quite a bit of comb.

Supplies:

1 badly hived swarm of bees

Rubber bands

Foundationless frames

Step 1: Prepare the Frames

So first I prepared the frames that would receive the comb by placing several rubber bands around each end as shown in the photo. Using a knife, I cut the comb 1 piece at a time from the inner cover taking care to not crush the fragile new comb or the queen.

Step 2: Comb Into Frames

Now it becomes like piecing together a puzzle. As the bees construct their comb with the cells at an angle. it's important to pay attention to the orientation of the cells and make sure that proper orientation is preserved. One piece at a time into the frame and then position a rubber band or 2 around the comb to keep it in place. Continue piecing in the comb until the frame is as full as you can get it. An extra hand is useful if you can recruit 1.

Step 3: Fill the Frames

The frames should look something like this before being returned to the hive. The bees will fill in any gaps so don't worry about making it pretty. This technique is also used for cutting out a hive from unwanted places, like in walls, under floors, or other places the bees saw fit to establish a colony.

I could have avoided all of this by simply hiving the swarm properly from the beginning, but then I wouldn't have written this Instructable.

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