Removing Bees

by Michael Young

Find the opening entrance that the bees are flying into.


Remove the outside covering and spray a little thin sugar syrup. I never use smoke as the bees take to the air quickly.


Expose all the comb, constantly looking for the queen.


Remove the brood and comb in small pieces, looking all the time to find the queen. Brood can be added to the swarmed colony as can the honey, but be aware of disease.


Once the queen has been found place her majesty into a queen cage.


Hang the queen cage in the center of a cardboard box.


Place the box with the queen cage wedged on top of the ladder.


Swarm of bees are attracted to the queen in the box.


Most of the bees have settled down inside the box.


Get a linen sheet and get yourself in position. Carefully close the box. Sometimes I like to hummmm to the bees.


Gently cover and wrap the box with the linen cloth.


Job well done, most of the bees are all in the box.


Have a hive ready with a clean linen sheet for hiving the bees by running in, located close to the entry of the hive.


Locate the queen cage at the back of the box and remove.


Open the cage gently and place gently at the entrance, let the queen walk into the hive.


Position the linen on a ramp going up towards the entrance of the hive. Turn the box of bees upside down on the linen and give an almighty shake.


Once started the bees will head to their new home following the queen’s pheromone in mass – a wonderful sight indeed.


Bees will never leave the hive if they have walked into it.



Give a hand gesture to welcome the bees home.


Go and have a nice cuppa and leave the little darlings to settle down. Secure the ladder, leave until the next evening.



We visited Michael this past July and on the way home from the airport he got a swarm call. We were about five minutes away from his house. So off we went and this is what we found. A swarm wedged between the fence and a stone wall. This was a row of Townhouses, with tiny front yards (gardens as they call them), so the bees were right outside the front door. Michael decided to leave it until daylight – it was cool and cloudy and headed toward dark and they were hungry and not happy. So he got some sugar water on them and we went home. The next morning they were gone!

Michael Young lives near Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is an accomplished honey judge, mead maker, chef . . . and beekeeper.