Lessons from Our Beekeeping Experiment Gone Wild


Join us as we recount our adventure of transferring a swarm box from a tree to our rooftop hives. We’ll take you through the challenges, the heavy lifting, and the humorous moments that unfolded during this process. Learn from our mistakes as we discuss the ideal timeline for moving swarms and the significance of proper orientation. Don’t miss out on the exciting conclusion!­­­­


0:00 Update on Swarm of Bees
1:36 The Process
3:15 What Went Wrong
5:22 Next Steps


Hi everyone, it’s Lindsey. I’m here at Lynette’s Urban Farm and I wanted to give you an update about a project that we have been trying to get to work here on the farm. And this is unfortunately a little bit of a negative update.

It didn’t go the way we wanted to, but what I’m discussing today is my experience with the Interceptor Pro, which is a contraption that we used to catch a swarm of bees and we had success once we hung it in, we put it in our carob tree, we left this box and we did catch a swarm of bees, which was super exciting. And then when we went to move them, we moved them to the roof where we keep our other beehives and they got very aggressive. They were unhappy to be moved. They were, it was just a mess. I had bees hunting me down all over the property. It just wasn’t safe. We still live in a more residential area so we really can’t have combative bees. So it was just kind of a mess and I ended up having to give them to another local beekeeper who has a lot more space. She has a lot more experience with dealing with swarms. This was my first time having caught a swarm and usually swarms are a little less aggressive. So I’m gonna tell you why I think what happened happened and what we’re gonna do going forward because we definitely do want to try again.

So the whole process is that you hang the interceptor or your swarm bait, you can use a number of things, you put them in a tree and what the box does is it acts as like the hollow of a tree. So swarms are naturally drawn to safe areas like the hollow of a tree. So they see this box as a good opportunity to be their new home. So once they enter the box, usually you leave them in there for five to seven days, let them get acquainted with it. You close off the box at nighttime when they’re all in there. So you’re not missing out on foragers. Your foragers will leave during the day, so you wanna close it up at night. So that is what I did. And then the next day Edgar helped me and we moved them to the roof and they were very upset by this. They were able to still get out of the closed door. It was vented still, so some of them could squeeze out and they were just really unhappy with the move. So then two nights later after having been hunted by the bees, feeling like they weren’t gonna calm down and just feeling like maybe it wasn’t gonna be the right fit, I went back up on the roof at night. I closed them off with a piece of tape over those vent holes so they couldn’t get out. They still had vents in the back that allowed them to have air and you know, they were fine in the box but just for overnight and then transport in the morning. And then I gave them to a beekeeper.

So what I think went wrong is that in those initial five to seven day period that you’re supposed to let them just be in the box and get used to their new home, I stretched that period out way too long. So it was actually closer to two and a half weeks that they were in the box. This was partially just due to my own like fear of moving them. I wanted to really make sure they were settled, but I think this was definitely the wrong thing to do.

So swarms of bees are usually more docile because they don’t have anything to protect. This isn’t always the case, but usually if a swarm of bees lands in your tree and they’re trying to make a new home, that’s what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to make a new home. They don’t have honey or brood or anything to protect, so they’re not gonna be as defensive. But I think because I left them in there long enough, they had started to store those things up. They were collecting pollen, they were making that their home. And when I moved it, I think it really agitated them. So I think the mistake was I don’t blame the bees at all. I blame myself. I think I just waited a little too long before I moved them. I think I was thinking that it would be better in the long run, but it obviously wasn’t so going forward. The beekeeper that I gave them to. She has the swarm box. I’m gonna be getting it back soon once she re hives them. And then I’m thinking that we’ll try it one more time. Now that we have a things a little bit more situated at Lynette’s bug out property, we are more ready than we were to take them up north. So I think the plan would be that if I caught a swarm, instead of trying to hive them up here, I would catch them and within a week they would be transported up north and that they could live there. And even if they were a little bit more upset by the transition, if they leave, okay and if they decide to stay but are a little bit more upset, there’s a lot more room up there for them, no one will be in danger and we won’t have to worry about them as much. So that is my plan going forward.

But I just wanted to keep you updated because we had done a few videos about our process and we were super excited about it and it still was a really exciting experiment. I’m happy we tried it out cause it was cool to see the interceptor work. It was fully user error I take responsibility for that, but definitely good to learn. And now going forward when we have that back, we’ll have the experience to know exactly what to do to try to minimize those negative effects that we had. But I just wanted to keep you updated and let you know what was going on. So that’s the conclusion of this experiment for now. But hopefully we try again. And if we can catch another swarm before swarm season stops completely, then hopefully we’ll be able to show you the process of putting them from a swarm box into a hive. But if not, I hope you can at least learn from my mistakes if you try this for yourself. I hope this series helped show you a little bit about what you can do and maybe what you shouldn’t do. Learn from my experience. And I hope that we are able to show you in the future what a swarm really can do and how you can get free bees.

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