Top 10 Best Swarm Lures for Beekeeping (2022)

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Swarm lures refer to equipment used to attract a honeybee swarm into a beehive or trap. The trap is different from what takes place when trying to attract a bee colony out of their dwelling. The swarm is usually a natural split for a bigger colony. They usually move with the queen and send out scout bees to look for a good place to live in. In that way, bee swarming is a natural occurrence that helps bee colonies multiply. It is a natural way of building the future generation. The scout bees are usually attracted to a trap because of its scent. Once an ideal home is found, the scouts head back to the swarm and lead them to the new box.

About Honeybee Swarms

Bee swarms usually occur in May to June and you can catch one successfully if it has occurred in close proximity to your location. The scout bees should also be undertaking their surveillance within your area and should sense the scent of your lure.

The alternative to trapping a bee swarm is simply getting a package. This is a popular choice among beekeepers since it is so much easier. The bee package is usually shaken from various hives and placed into a package or cage that has specific weight. Once this is achieved, the queen bee is pulled out of a small cage then added to the package. This is then sealed and shipped to the beekeeper. This means that different bees are brought together, which may be a disadvantage to some extent.

The bee swarm is usually composed of a mother queen who has left with the first swarm. The swarm’s worker bees in this case belong to the same mother and may have different fathers. They are therefore related from start which is a huge advantage. The swarm also consumes plenty of honey before moving out of an existing colony. Therefore, they will immediately begin to draw wax when placed on foundation comb. This can explain why a swarm that just moved in begins to make combs on the branch or stone crevice within a few hours. Bees that have gorged on honey begin making wax from their bodies immediately which is a good thing for the beekeeper that just started out with foundation combs.

To the uninitiated, a swarm of bees seems to be a frightening sight to behold, but any beekeeper will tell you that it is exciting. A swarm means a new hive to the professional beekeeper as it is time to bring in a new cluster of bees. The swarms do not move around with babies and this is a huge advantage since they are docile and have no one to protect. However, you should avoid meddling with them since they can attack when provoked. It is also important to note that bee swarms never last for long and therefore should be trapped as soon as possible. You should also contact a local beekeeper’s association or professional beekeeper if you are not trained on how to catch a swarm of bees. It is better to be safe than sorry and remember not to experiment with bees.

With that said, let’s check out the best swarm lures that you can make use of to attract bees into your traps.

Overview of the Best Swarm Lures

10. Blythewood Bee Company Swarm Commander Lure Gel

Best Swarm Lures - Blythewood Bee Company Swarm Commander Lure Gel

The Blythewood Bee Company Swarm Commander Lure Gel gives beekeepers across the world an edge in catching swarming honeybees for their apiaries. The lure gel is for application onto the insides of swarm trap boxes. A little is also applied on the entrance of the trap hives to guide new honeybee colonies into the trap hives. This gel comes in a brown bottle with a screw on cap. You may use the cap of the bottle to measure out small amounts of the gel to apply on swarm trap hives. On the bottle containing the gel is green labelling featuring a happy bee and the Swarm Commander name.

This swarm lure gel lasts up to a week per application. Once it wears off, you should reapply some more in the trap hive box. The lure gel is not harmful to bees or beekeepers. It is made using safe materials and does not leave residual chemical compounds in the trap hive. This gel is very attractive to feral colonies of honeybees and helps you catch many swarms in one season. Its formulation includes natural honeybee pheromones that are released in its sweet scent. Each bottle of Blythewood Bee Company Swarm Commander Lure Gel contains 1 Oz in volume.

Pros

  • This swarm lure gel is made and sold by a reputable manufacture of beekeeping supplies. It assures beekeepers of quality and effectiveness. The gel is safe for use in beekeeping and lasts for long. It has a shelf life of 2 years.
  • Blythewood Bee Company provides enough guidance on how to use this swarm lure gel, including video guiding beekeepers on usage of the lure provided on the company website.

Cons

  • 1 Oz of this swarm lure gel is not enough for beekeepers with many trap boxes. This leaves the lure suitable for use in small beekeeping operations. Beekeepers with large operations have to purchase several bottles of the swarm lure to satisfy their needs.
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9. Blythewood Bee Company Wood Pulp Honeybee Swarm Trap

Best Swarm Lures - Blythewood Bee Company Wood Pulp Honeybee Swarm Trap

This is a great option for those who would like to get a trap that is easy to handle and set. Bees are particularly allured by wood pulp due to the natural smell of wood. This lure for honeybees is made of molded fiber that is water-resistant. The design of the lure is conical shape and has dimensions of 16 x 16 x 16 inches. The unit also weighs only 5 pounds which is easy to carry and place on top of a tree. It mainly targets the queen bee. Once the queen is captured it becomes easy to get the army of soldiers that follow her.

Pros

  • It is easy to carry and set up.
  • Lightweight.
  • Easily captures the queen bee.
  • Made of natural wood.
  • Alluring to bees.
  • Spacious to capture a swarm of bees.

Cons

  • You may have to apply some bee pheromone to the lure.
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8. TruBlu Supply Honeybee Swarm Lure

Best Swarm Lures - TruBlu Supply Honeybee Swarm Lure

The Honeybee Swarm Lure Scent by TruBlu Supply comes in vials, each containing 1 ml of swarm lure. You receive 8 such vials upon purchase of this swarm lure. This lure comes freshly made and with a long shelf life. Vials containing the lure are clear, and the lure itself has a deep yellow-brown color. It is concentrated so that you only need to apply a little of the lure onto each swarm trap hive you have. The swarm lure comes in liquid form and is made using natural materials. This makes it very friendly to honey bees and effective for long.

Both small and large-sized beekeeping operations are suited by the pack of 8 lure vials. They are enough for use so you do not need to purchase additional lure mid-season. This swarm lure is made using natural materials and gives off a very attractive scent. It is effective in getting scout bees to bring their swarms to your swarm trap hives and boxes. The scent from the lure lasts for long so you do not have to keep reapplying the lure if your trap hive does not catch a swarm. Honeybee Swarm Lure Scent – 8 Vials (8 ML) is well packaged for protection during shipping. Each vial is put in a protective bag so that spills are contained in the rare event that they occur.

Pros

  • This swarm lure is made using natural materials only. Beekeepers that are keen to avoid artificial chemicals and compounds in their beekeeping operations are especially suited to use this swarm lure.
  • This Honeybee Swarm Lure Scent is made in the USA by a reputable company. It passes all tests for standards and quality. The lure is effective and friendly to the environment while being safe for use in beekeeping.

Cons

  • Beginner beekeepers may have problems using this highly concentrated swarm lure. They tend to under apply or over apply the lure.
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7. Mann Lake HD376 Swarm Lure

Best Swarm Lures - Mann Lake HD376 Swarm Lure

The Mann Lake HD376 swarm lure is one of those products that have been formulated with the right blend of pheromones and natural ingredients that bees can never resist. It is a natural bee swarm attractant that is formulated for all beekeepers irrespective of skill level. The 0.32 ounce lure with its dimensions of 4.2 x 25 x 0.2 inches will last one swarm season. Those lures that are not used should be safely stored in a fridge or freezer. The rich pheromones released by the lure entice scout bees that eventually bring in the awaiting swarm of bees.

Pros

  • Powerful pheromones attract scout bees.
  • Long lasting.
  • Economical
  • Works as advertised.
  • Affordable
  • Reputed manufacturer.

Cons

  • May not work for everyone.
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6. East Coast Bees Honey Bee Swarm Trap with Frames and Swarm Lure

Best Swarm Lures - East Coast Bees Honey Bee Swarm Trap with Frames and Swarm Lure

Honey Bee Swarm Trap with Frames and Swarm Lure is made by East Coast Bees. The company sells the complete kit in a ready-to-use state. All is needed of the beekeeper is to find a suitable location for the trap hive and set it up. Each swarm trap is handmade for best craftsmanship and quality. Wood is used to make the trap box. Features are added onto the trap box to make it easy to work with in setting up, and in removal from locations once the box has caught a swarm of honey bees. You are provided with a strap for the putting up of the trap box and ensuring it does not fall to the ground.

The swarm trap is suitable for use by beekeepers expanding their apiaries and even those just starting their beekeeping operation. It helps you avoid the costs of purchasing and working with package bees. In each East Coast Bees swarm trap are 5 foundationless frames. You are also provided with an adjustable entrance reducer upon purchase of this trap hive. These features make the Honey Bee Swarm Trap with Frames and Swarm Lure suitable for use by both beginner and experienced beekeepers. It does not need further treatments with swarm lures because it comes pre-treated.

Pros

  • This is a complete solution for the capturing of honeybee swarms. It is easy to use and comes with all that is needed to capture the swarm and set it up in a new beehive, including 5 beehive frames.
  • The Honey Bee Swarm Trap with Frames and Swarm Lure comes with a mounting stick and straps for its installation in your chosen location.

Cons

  • This swarm trap has too many components that may be unneeded by beekeepers who already have some of the components. This leaves some components or previously prepared trap hives unused in catching new honeybee swarms.
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5. Blythewood Bee Company Swarm Commander Swarm Lure

Best Swarm Lures - Blythewood Bee Company Swarm Commander Swarm Lure

Wild bees that are swarming are usually desperate to get a new place, but it is challenging for them bees to trace their way to an empty hive. This is precisely due to the fact that bees are more sensitive to certain pheromones. The discovery of the swarm lure therefore has made things so much easier for both the bees and the beekeeper. The pheromones contained swarm lures are easily detected by scout bees which then head to the spot to survey the area. This increases the likelihood that the swarm of bees will move in to the empty hive or bait hive. The Swarm Commander Swarm Lure follows the same concept. It is a formulation that contains powerful pheromones for attracting wild bees. This will help direct swarm bees to your trap. The substance is held in a 3.5 x 2x 0.2 inch bottle that weighs 0.8 ounces.

Pros

  • It works.
  • Affordable.
  • Longer lasting scent.
  • Does not degrade with time.
  • Easy to detect.
  • Easy to use.

Cons

  • Nothing negative noted.
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4. East Coast Bees Swarm Lure

Best Swarm Lures - East Coast Bees Swarm Lure

The East Coast Bees Swarm Lure is a standalone swarm trap box treatment. You are free to use it on any swarm trap hive that you have. This swarm lure is made by East Coast Bees which is a reputable company. It promises you effectiveness and long life of the swarm lure. This swarm lure comes in a cone-shaped clear vial. The lure is in liquid form with a deep yellow color. Vials containing this swarm lure are large, with each containing about 2 oz of the lure liquid. These vials are user-friendly and do not break easily. They keep the contents inside them intact even with some rough handling. The vials are easy to open and close when you are applying the lure to honeybee swarm trap hives.

Formulation of this lure is very carefully done to make the lure very powerful. It includes the use of queen bee pheromones in the composition of the swarm lure. This makes the lure able to attract honeybees over long distances and bring them to your trap hive box. Natural materials are used to make this swarm lure. The lure gives off a sweet scent that bees detect from far away. Use of this swarm lure is easy. You only need to apply it on the inside surfaces of your honey bee swarm trap boxes to get great results. For additional effectiveness, beekeepers apply some lure on the entrance of their trap hives.

Pros

  • This swarm lure is made using natural materials and concentrated to make it very effective at bringing honeybee swarms to your trap boxes.
  • Upon purchase, this swarm lure is supplied in protective packaging of vials and spill containment is provided for.

Cons

  • Vials of East Coast Bees Swarm Lure do not have branding on them. They are therefore easy to misplace if not well labelled during storage. Additionally, the vials are clear and allow degradation of unused swarm lure by natural light.
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3. Bountiful Bees Bee Bait Swarm Lure

Best Swarm Lures - Bountiful Bees Bee Bait Swarm Lure

To start off our list of the best swarm lures is this product from Bountiful Bees. It is one of the most powerful pheromone-rich bee attractants that has been proven to last for up to 3 weeks in the hive depending on your location. A single bottle of the substance can service up to 100 hives, thus making it economical to use. This pheromone will increase your chance of catching the swarm up to 75%. According to the manufacturer, the product is made up with a natural ingredient that mimics the natural scent of a beehive. This is irresistible to bees.

The highly potent Bee Bait Swarm Lures comes in a 1 ounce bottle that has a stopper for regulating the amount of the fluid applied. You can use this for up to 2 years.

Pros

  • Long lasting.
  • Economical.
  • Made up of natural ingredients that attract bees.
  • Affordable.

Cons

  • No instructions provided on how to use.
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2. Donaldson Farms Honey Bee Attractant

Best Swarm Lures - Donaldson Farms Honey Bee Attractant

Swarming honeybees find new homes in natural hollows or swarm traps put in various places by beekeepers. Lures of various types such as the Donaldson Farms Honey Bee Attractant are used to encourage swarming bees to settle into trap hives. The lure comes in form of a liquid that you apply onto the inside of your trap hive. You may also apply some of the attractant on the entrance of the trap hive. Donaldson Farms Honey Bee Attractant is natural and made using a blend of oils that are effective at getting the attention of honeybees. The mix of oils works very well to attract scout bees of swarms so they can check out your trap hive.

This honeybee swarm lure is safe to use. It does not harm humans or honeybees in any way. Each bottle of Donaldson Farms Honey Bee Attractant that you purchase comes with 15 milliliters of liquid content. This is equivalent to approximately 5 ounces of the attractant. Beekeepers with a few traps to scent are suited to use this lure. It can easily be applied on up to 5 trap hives. When you do not have many trap hives to scent at once, just store your Donaldson Farms Honey Bee Attractant in a cool, dry and dark place. It does not lose its effectiveness when stored well and can be used over a long period of time.

Pros

  • Proper packaging for preservation of the Donaldson Farm Honeybee lure is provided upon purchase. The attractant comes in a dark brown bottle with a tightly fitting screw cap.
  • Donaldson Farms Honey Bee Attractant comes with a user guide for beekeepers. This makes it easy to use with great effectiveness by both beginner and experienced beekeepers.

Cons

  • Each pack of Donaldson Farms Honey Bee Attractant has 15 ml of the attractant. This is not enough volume for beekeepers with many trap hives to treat.
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1. Blythewood Bee Company Swarm Commander Super Lure

Best Swarm Lures - Blythewood Bee Company Swarm Commander Super Lure

The Blythewood Bee Company Swarm Commander Super Lure is put to use by placing it in a swarm trap hive. Hang the stylish container of the lure on one top bar in your trap hive for best results. The lure is safe for bees even after they have occupied your trap hive. You are also free to use the lure in another trap hive once you have caught a honeybee swarm in the first trap hive. This swarm lure is made in the USA, so you are sure of quality and effectiveness. It is also very user-friendly and comes with enough string for hanging it in your trap hive.

The Blythewood Bee Company Swarm Commander Super Lure has a very impressive reputation attracting bees to trap hives. It promises to stay attracting bees for more than 90 days from placement in your trap hive. This is enough time to catch swarms when it is honeybee swarming season. The lure is safe for bees. It is made using a patented formula and infused with premium swarm commander lure to enhance its effectiveness. This honey bee swarm lure releases true bee pheromones in addition to scent to attract bees to the trap hive.

Pros

  • Blythewood Bee Company Swarm Commander Super Lure is easy to use. It only needs you to tie the string on the lure container onto one top bar of your trap hive. Removing the lure once you have caught a swarm is also easy.
  • This swarm lure is effective and long-lasting. In its original packaging, it has a shelf life of 2 years. Once it has been opened and put to use, it keeps releasing the attractive substances for more than 90 days.

Cons

  • Blythewood Bee Company does not provide an instructions manual or user guide to help you with the process of using this honey bee swarm lure.
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Further Thoughts

Swarming is a natural phenomenon for bees. It is not uncommon to see a mass group of bees on a tree or crevice within your neighborhood. It is this swarm of bees that is captured by humans and used for building a colony. As a beekeeper, you may decide to buy a bee colony that has already been established and ready to make honey. Alternatively, you can capture a swarm of bees then use it to build a new colony. An understanding of bee swarming can make it easier for the beekeeper to know how to capture and use bee swarms. The bait or an empty hive is used for capturing bee swarms. You may also have to use a swarm lure in order to increase your chances of success.

Bees are particularly very selective when considering a new home. Some of the areas that seem to allure bees include: a place where bees have lived before, dry areas, a spacious area for storing enough food, a strategic location for defense, a sheltered area, and close proximity to water and flowers. Bees also tend to be attracted by locations that are inconvenient for beekeepers and homeowners. They are naturally drawn to locations that are out of reach for humans.

Conclusion

If you have been thinking of trapping a bee swarm then, it is time to delve into this exciting activity. If you are a newbie, then do not undertake your first attempt on your own. Seek some assistance from a professional then join him or her from time to time when collecting a swarm of bees. This will give you confidence and help you learn how it is done. The above mentioned best swarm lures are the ultimate choices in the market right now and will make it easy for you to trap the swarm of bees. You can pick any one or two that appeal to you.

Do you own any of the swarm lures on this list? Which lure(s) do you think should be added to this list? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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Gary Friend
Gary Friend
10 months ago

I use a combination of swarm commander gel under the trap and then lemongrass oil on the inside. In slow release capsules. Each trap also has a piece of old comb. Last year I caught 16 from 18 traps. That was the third year. First year 2 of 10. Second year 6 of 13. I think the a few things increased catch rate. First was experience then learning locations but most of all was using slow release capsuls for the lemon grass oil. No doubt I have caught some of my own swarms but more than half from remote traps… Read more »

Matt
Matt
8 months ago

There’s another option not discussed called Swarm Science, it’s a spray bottle lure, you should check it out. You can Google it or their website is swarmsciencelures.com might be a great one to test out for this review!

Happy trapping everyone!

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