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How to Lure a Swarm of Bees

By Harold Parker ; Updated March 16, 2018
The swarm surrounds the queen and keeps her safe while drone bees fly out in search of the ideal home.
John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Luring and catching a swarm of bees is a necessary step to establishing a beekeeping colony. When bees swarm, they are in search of a new hive and are, in essence, homeless. Using a mimic pheromone or attractant is an easy way to lure the swarm to your beekeeping box.

Pheromone Lures

Purchase a pheromone lure and swarm trap from a reputable online purveyor such as Kelley Bee or Better Bee. If you cannot purchase goods on the Internet, seek out a local agricultural supplier or pet superstore, such as Lowes, PetSmart or Home Depot. If you are unable to get to one of these stores, make a trap out of a cardboard box with a small hole cut in one side. Make sure the lid is securely sealed shut.

Attach the pheromone lure to the inside of the trap. Make sure the lid is on or the top is otherwise tightly and securely closed.

Set the trap in an area prone to high bee activity, such as near a garden or an arbor of fruit trees.

Wear beekeeping gear each time you check the trap. If a swarm has been successfully lured and trapped, the trap will be full and you will want to avoid being stung.

Lemongrass Oil

Purchase lemongrass oil from your local health foods, Asian, or Mediterranean market. Lemongrass oil is a good substitute if pheromone lures are unavailable to you.

Apply the lemongrass oil to the inside of your trap with a cotton swab or tissue.

Reapply the oil to your set trap with a cotton ball fixed to a stick or a long cotton swab if no swarm has been successfully trapped.


Things You Will Need

  • Pheromone lure
  • Lemongrass oil
  • Swarm trap
  • Beekeeping suit


  • Never use lemon-scented polish as a lure; it is an old wives' tale. The chemicals present in polish are harmful to bees and the environment.

About the Author


Harold Parker has been writing since 2008. He contributes to online music publications Garbage Days and Dead from Bad Milk. His work has also been published in "The Dead Tree Review," a literary journal at Marlborough College. Parker earned a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and American literature.