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I have found a fantastic web site, dedicated to Top Bar Hives. Dennis(the BWrangler) Murrell comes from Wyoming and must have spent years building this web site up.

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Swarm Box

While I'm waiting for delivery of a nuc later this year, I decided that I could make use of some of my old hive equipment to make a swarm box or bait box. Later this year I will fix it in a tree in my garden, make it smell nice to bees and hope that some scout bee will find it acceptable.

I started with a spare commercial brood box. The metal slide rails had been removed to be used in a national super that I built last year, so it was just taking up space in the shed. I cleaned the rebates that had the slide rails and flamed the interior to remove any nasties.

Commercial brood box

When I rested top bars in the rebates, it was obvious that it would be difficult to remove any of the bars once it was in use. I fixed 2 strips of timber in the rebates to act as bearers for the top bars. The bars can now be lifted out in the normal way.

Swarm box

I also fitted two pieces at each end to act as end stops. The first and last removable top bar is now just less than half the width of the bar from the back and front wall. This will give the bees working space both sides of the comb.

Swarm box

A spare hive floor was the screwed to the base with deck screws. These are cheaper than brass screws, but just as corrosion proof.

Swarm box

I pressed a strip of timber into the entrance slot and then fitted several screws into the floor to act as as stops. This it to prevent the wood block being pushed too far into the hive box.

Swarm box

By cutting blocks of wood different lengths, I can vary the size of the entrance just by pushing bits into the slot. I have a length of metal mesh on a frame that sits in the entrance slot of a commercial that I used for sealing the bees in for transport.

Swarm box

A standard roof sits on the top. Later this year I will fix it to the tree on some type of bracket so that I can check the box, and move it to another site if I want to transfer the colony to a top bar hive.

Swarm box

This box is not large enough to support a colony of ferral bees, but we need to do everthing possible to build up strong colonies to improve diversity of stock. I think that using Lemon Grass oil rubbed onto the box and some honey/beeswax placed inside can improve the chance of a swarm taking residence.