My Bees Built Comb in the Swarm Trap, Now What?
Ask the Expert
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Bob Hansen (Missouri) asks — By the time I got to the swarm trap, the bees had built comb from the bottom of the frames almost to the floor of the trap — about 5 inches of comb coming off each of the frames. How do I handle this extra comb when placing the swarm in the new brood boxes? Thanks.
Rusty Burlew replies:
Congratulations on catching a swarm! You can do a couple of different things, depending on your goals. First, just cut off the extra comb with a sharp knife or just your hive tool. New comb is soft and easy to cut, not brittle. Then you can take the cut pieces and tie them into new frames with string. Put the cut part against the top-bar of your frame and just gently tie them in. You can’t pull it tight because the comb is so soft, so I usually just go round and round with the string three or four times to make a sort of sling.
The bees in your new colony will glue the combs into place and eventually remove the ties for you. Very convenient. Alternatively, if the combs don’t contain a lot of brood, you can tie them into new frames and replace them in the swarm trap. New comb has an attractive odor, and can often lure a second swarm.
Thanks for your reply. There was brood in that comb, so I cut it off at the bottom of the frame and placed it above the queen excluder in an empty super. Over the course of two weeks, all the brood hatched and they were storing some soon-to-be honey in the cells. I took the comb away and will
use it in another swarm trap next year — already caught three swarms, so I better stop there.