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I recently built a swarm trap (AKA bait hive) to attract and capture honeybees in my own backyard. The above video shows the finished bait hive, which was based off a standard top bar hive design. I used the tips that I posted previously in my article How to Catch a Swarm of Bees while building this trap.

There are 17 top bars across the top, each with a groove filled with beeswax. The interior volume of the trap is exactly 40 litres and I rubbed lemongrass oil inside as well. I have since placed this trap, with attached cover, on my 2nd-floor balcony. I hope that a swarm of bees will find this to be an ideal location to live and move in.

To be continued… (I hope)


The weather in Ontario has been so beautiful this week that I was finally able to do a full bottom-to-top inspection of this hive.

When I first opened the inner cover, the bees were everywhere! They weren’t aggressive, but they had no idea what was happening. After a few minutes, they calmed down and got back to work within the hive.

The bottom board was covered with many dead bees from the winter and I believe they may have still been blocking the bottom entrance, so I brushed them all out and removed the entrance reducer that I previously had in place for the winter. I also removed 4 frames from the bottom box, as it contained old, dark comb. I replaced these 4 frames with new foundationless frames.

Working my way back up the boxes and frames, I finally spotted some brand new eggs. It was a great feeling to see tiny eggs after the winter, and to me, this has indicated that I can finally call this a successful over-winter. Better yet, on my 2nd-last frame, I found the Queen herself! She was just trucking along – doing her thing.

I’m very pleased to see such dedicated workers and a strong healthy queen after the winter. It definitely left me with a good feeling after the long, cold winter.


A short video to show you an update on my bees. Yesterday was the first day that it was actually warm enough to inspect the hive, but when I got to the bee yard, it was too windy to do a thorough inspection. Nevertheless, the bees were out in full effect. This hive didn’t seem to have many foragers coming in, but many bees were circling the air in front of the hive. I believe they were doing orientation flights, as these may be new bees for 2013. (Fingers crossed).

I still won’t consider this a successful overwinter, until I’ve seen new brood with my own eyes. Can’t wait to get inside this hive.

I wanted to share how I removed two frames of honey and transported them home, early last month.

If you have missed my previous videos, I have experimented quite successfully with using “foundationless” frames in my hive. These frames were drawn out and then filled completely by the bees with no guidance at all by me. Back in August, I decided to remove two of these foundationless frames and share the honey with friends and family.

Because I chose not to use a queen excluder in my hive, my queen was free to lay eggs wherever she pleased. There was actually quite a bit of brood in my 3rd deep super, so I took 2 frames from the far edges that were completely filled with capped honey. I also did not use a bee escape which is typically used to allow the bees to move out of an upper box into a lower box, leaving a bee-free box on top.

After setting the honey frames aside, I replaced them with fresh foundationless frames inside the hive. I then shook the bees towards the entrance of my hive and used a bee brush to gently brush off the few remaining bees. Lastly, I put the frames in an old nuc box and covered it with a lid. This allowed me to take the frames home without any bees attached.

A special thanks to Geoff and Hilary for accompanying me and helping me make this video.

Two weeks prior to making this video, I installed a box on my hive where every second frame was completely empty. (See post) Other than a small wax starter strip, the frames had absolutely no foundation. In two weeks, my busy ladies have created some beautiful, pristine, white comb. I started this as an experiment, and I believe this experiment was quite successful. Here’s my update video: