How to Capture Fighting Swarm of Stingless Australian Native Bees

How to Capture Fighting Swarm of Stingless Australian Native Bees

When one of your hives comes under attack from another stingless native bee hive you have the chance to trick the attacking bees into thinking they have won by placing an empty or bait hive in place of your existing hive. If you are successful, the attacking bees will start to fill the empty hive with resources like honey and pollen then will bring over a new queen and start making brood or eggs. 

How do you know if the swarm is an attacking swarm and not a mating swarm? The key telltale sign is seeing hundreds of dead bees, locked together in pairs on the ground in front of your hive. One or two dead bees is ok and normal but if there is hundreds, fighting is happening. 

Now that you have identified that the swarm is attacking swarm, How can you try capture it? 

Items needed 

  • Travel plug or Mesh – To close up your hive
  • Bait hive or Empty hive – Using a bait hive will give you a higher chance of success as this has a small amount of resources and has the smell of stingless native bees.
  • Stingless Bee Propolis – If you decide to use an empty hive adding propolis can help add the smell of stingless native bees. 

The process to capture the stingless bees fighting swarm

  1. Confirm the swarm is an attacking swarm. 
  2. Wait until night time and close up your existing hive with a vented plug or mesh of your choice. This ensures all of your bees are closed safely inside your hive.
  3. Place the new bait hive or empty hive where your bee hive is currently and place your existing bee hive on top at a 90 degree angle and leave the bees locked inside. Keeping your hive on top will allow the smell and excitement to stay in the air. Your bees can stay locked inside for one or two days all ok. 
  4. Keep an eye on the new hive and after 2 – 3 days of continuous coming and going of the attacking bees into the bait or empty hive you can make the assumption the attacking swarm think they have won and are starting to move in. Now move on to step 5. If bee movement from the entrance stops, remove the bait or empty hive. Place the original hive back in the original position, remove the travel plug and allow the bees to come and go freely. At this point you can go back to step 1. Keep an eye on the hive as there is a high chance the attacking bees will return. 
  5. If you have moved on from step 4, You will now need to move the original hive more than 2kms away for approximately 5-6 weeks. Then you can bring the hive back to a new location in your yard. Full instructions on moving hives can be found here.
  6. Congratulations, all going well you will have captured the attacking swarm and the original hive will stay strong in the new location. 
Setup to capture stingless bees fighting swarm

Original hive on top at a 90 degree angle with the entrance blocked off and the bait hive underneath.

If you have any questions on capturing stingless bees fighting swarms please feel free to contact us on 07 3206 0552 or


07 3206 0552
Capalaba, 4157, Queensland, Australia

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