How to Build a Swarm Box – The Bush Bee Man

– Well, spring is springing. And it’s sprung up on me
quicker than normal, like. Isn’t that usually the way? You spend the winter time
doodling around the shed trying to keep warm and
trying to get organized but now, anyway, here we are in spring, and the bloody bees
are getting all excited and there’s a few little swarms, we’ve already caught a couple here. And I just thought well,
we might as well show you. Setting up to catch some swarms, we’re gonna head down
to the cooler country, that’s probably another three weeks away before they get excited. And I don’t know, I’ve gone through the swarm catching ideas,
I’ve had the bloomin’ oils and special swarm attractors
and doodlyah things you hang in your bloomin’ thing and spreading oil and shit everywhere. And then I’ve old boxes
sitting around here that I’ve been cleaning up, and the bees seem to like them better. And I realize there’s a few disease issues with old boxes but, hell, I don’t know, as
long as they’ve died out from just getting starved out and not have some crappy bloody foul brood or shit that’s bad. These girls have been,
obviously, overrun with the moths after they passed on, you know? I haven’t actually seen any diseases so, my plan is I’ve got some crappy old boxes that really are out of commission. They’ve moved to the point
where they’re sort of on the way out the door. And I figure we’re gonna lay ’em out, catch some swarms, let
the swarms be in there until they start laying some brood and then we’ll check the brood and if they’re all healthy, we’ll put ’em in some decent boxes, and that will expand our holdings! So, I don’t know, free
bees, is that what it says? Free bees, on your knees! But anyway, we’re gonna have a crack. (bees buzzing) Rightio! So, me rough plan, very rough plan, it is, we’ve got these poor unfortunate old boxes that have been out of
commission a little bit. And they’ve got some, oop,
don’t mind the lamb’s wool. That one’s probably not ideal. And we’ve got some old
comb that’s still in there. So I figure if we clean
up these few wax moths that are all dried up and dead anyway. And then we’re gonna take the box down to our swarm catching area. And they’re all by
themselves, so I figure, if we catch a few swarms and
we keep them by themselves until we make sure they’re all good, seems like a plan to me. I don’t know, of course there’s
a thousand different options and a thousand different
things to talk about out there in internet world, but, that’s my plan and it seems to work, so. We’ll have a go. So we’ll get down to this box down here. And we’ll give it a bit of a clean out. Get rid of these crappy frames, and clean this crap out the bottom. (box rattling) Ha! That might not be real good! (he laughs) I don’t think we’ll catch
any bees in this box, this is actually a bloomin’
honey carrying box! Argh, man! Cut! What’s that sticker, don’t
follow me, I’m going fishing? Don’t follow me, I’m going bee catching! (he laughs) I should have that, I should have a sticker
on me truck, shouldn’t I? Talking about stickers, you
wanna see something cool? I’ll be back. Oh, that way, (he laughs)
the house is this way. (he sighs) I suppose, does that mean you’re kinda getting famous
when you’re getting fan-mail? I don’t know, anyway, young
Casey sent me this letter which I thought was pretty cool. It says, dear Bush Bee
Man, we watch your YouTube and think you’re excellent. We are first-time beekeepers
with our first hive being only two weeks old. I found this car sticker and
thought of you straight away. Hope you like it. From your mate, Casey Allen, from Newcastle. That’s in New South Wales. That’s in serious country! Check this shit out, this is
gonna have to go on the truck. (Mark laughs) So I reckon we’ll have to put
that on the truck! (he laughs) No guarantees if you send me a sticker that it’ll end up on the truck but, hell, you never know! I’m all up for a bit of fan mail. If you can be bothered, 1127
Loxton, send me something. (Mark laughs) I would be amazed, this
is the bit that amazed me about this beekeeping carry on, is it just takes so damn long! The other day I was down
checking out some bees that I’m working on,
and next thing you know the sun’s going down and I’m thinking, man, oh shit, it’s an
hour drive to get home! Just as well the lad was cooking dinner, otherwise I would’ve been
in all sorts of strife! But, it’s very therapeutic,
though, keeping bees. So if you’ve got a, well no, I should say if
you’ve got an anxiety problem you should get some bees,
because, it just depends, but if you just get a few of them, they’re very therapeutic and you get lost in what you’re doing. And every box you open
is another challenge so it’s like, (he sighs) yeah, anyway. Like I said before, I
think I’ve fallen in love with these ladies, it’s kinda crazy. Not only have I got all
you internet adoring fans, I’ve got several hundred
thousand adoring bees! So, you know, I guess
that makes me popular. Anyway, I digress, let’s scrape some shit off the top of here. (metal scraping) So, some of these boxes are a little bit beyond repair, so I figure, they’re gonna make good catching boxes. Although this box is gonna be
a bad representation as well, our first box had no hole, and this box has got a
little bit too many holes! So it’s like, ooh, wait on, we’ll go
and get a different one. Oh my goodness me, that’s gonna have to go in the repair room. That’s not even good for a
swarm catching box, that thing. Otherwise the swarm will go in there and the bloomin’ ants
will come and eat ’em. So, just as well we’ve got
a couple to pick from. Come over here. So we’ll give this one a try
and see what we can find. Argh! Right, that’s looking
a bit more respectable. (wooden tapping) Beautiful. Now, if I was using this, I’ve got some that I’m actually fixing up. And then obviously you clean ’em up, give ’em a paint, scorch out the inside,
get it all nice and happy. But it sounds a little pointless, I’m gonna put old frames in this old box, seems a bit pointless to get too carried away cleaning them up. And for some reason, if you have an old box, they seem to love it better than if you a beautiful clean white box with all the lovely fresh paint. ‘Cause they come along and they go, ooh, that don’t smell like a bee. And they bugger off to somewhere else, they end up in a tree somewhere. So the plan is, we get our old box. And we scrape all the
moths and crap out of it. (metal scraping) Now this isn’t gonna be their
forever home, by the way. Now these have been out
of commission for a while and they’ve had their moth treatment. So if you’ve got an old box
and it’s full of moth eggs, don’t do this bit, alright? You still wanna burn
them out or gas them out, or stick ’em in the
freezer, that’s always good if you’ve only got a couple to do. Just make sure all your moths are dead ’cause the last thing you
need is the bloomin’ moths to eat the rest of the
crap that’s in here. Mind you, they don’t normally turn up unless they’ve got some brood to eat, so. But, you don’t wanna set
the girls up for failure, so you wanna make sure
that they’ve actually got a reasonable advantage. What else do I need to tell you? ‘Cause this is probably not in the actual Australian Beekeeping
Guidebook, but anyway! Argh, don’t ring me up and
tell me what a bad man I am, it’s alright, mate. Like I said, this is
not their forever home. This is only just to make them feel like they could find a home. How’s that dance go,
something like that, isn’t it? (Mark laughs) Rightio. I’m just thinking, the
challenges of filming, I don’t know whether we’ve turned it up the other way or not. Anyway, we’ve got a couple of frames I like to put in the middle. So the idea is, of course,
when the scout bee turns up, she comes in there and she fossicks around and goes, ooh, this looks
like a house where bees live. I’ll go back home and tell everybody else in the swarm that we’ve found a new house. And whoosh, in they go. ‘Cause in the wild, of course, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed that when you’re wondering through the forest and you go to a bee tree, it’s not always the same bees that were in there last summer. ‘Cause quite often, they will die out during the season, and then
a new swarm will come in and they do the same thing, they go, ooh, here’s some stuff already established. So my theory is to
recreate nature in a way. Anyway, that’s my idea,
and it seems to work. Like I said, I’ve tried
a lot of other things. I’ve tried a whole heap of stuff, new bee boxes, new bloomin’ foundation, fancy-arse swarm catchy bloomin’ stuff and I don’t know, whatever
the scents were, lemongrass, put some lemongrass in there
one time, that was fun. You’d have a crappy old bee box there that was sitting there doing nothing and it was all a bit disheveled. And they’d go in that, so. I don’t know, experience
is an interesting teacher. Now this is the point of dilemma. I’m not really sure
whether to waste new wax, or my good wax, on these
crappy old frames ’cause, if we catch a swarm and then we have to jolly destroy it all, that’d be an awful waste, won’t it? Tell you what, we’ll just put a little
starter strip at the top. ‘Cause these old frames,
they’re pretty cool with the way they’ve wired ’em up. What do you reckon? (Mark humming and whistling) Argh! Ah, there you go. Think your bench stayed
tidy for five minutes. Things you do to try and
catch a bee, honestly. All these old moth larvae
are all dead at least. And they’ve been treated a bit so the eggs should all be dead. Now we’re just trying to decide how much wax to waste on this project. Well, it’s not really a
waste if we catch them and they’re healthy. Terrible waste if we catch
them and they’re unhealthy. A little bit warm last summer, I think they’ve got a
little bit of a curvy edge. Anyway, we’ll cut one in
half, what do you reckon? Sit it in there and see what we can do. If you’re thinking I’m just
being a bit of a scab-arse ’cause I mean, there’s only one box. But we’re doing about 20 or so, or might be a lot more than
that if we have a good run, so, I’m just trying to be conservative but not being too scabby. So, anyway. (he laughs) Maybe next year I’ll be less scabby if we have big success. But we’ve gotta be a bit miserable and cut them in half, what do you reckon? How the hell are we
gonna do that, any clue? Usually I cut ’em in half on
me jolly wax installer machine which we might get to in a minute. We’ll just do this bit
first and see how we get on. Oh, look at that, woo-hoo! Everybody would think I was clever. Don’t comment. (he laughs) Okay, I know that’s a bit of a fantasy. Ha, that’s just nice, isn’t it? Spend your life raising the child and just laughs at you. Laughs straight in your face. (Mark laughs mockingly) You know, sometimes I
could develop a complex hanging around with you! (he laughs) Just as well I’m thick-skinned. No saying I’m thick-headed,
it’s alright. (he laughs) That’s enough outta you
over there on the camera. – [John] You said it for me. (Mark laughing) – I knew what you were thinking. Look, we’ve got three or four scouts wanting to get in our box already and we haven’t even gone in the field! Look at that. Bloomin’ hell, Harry! They’re keen, keen as mustard. (cheerful acoustic music) So I’ve been using my little stencil to brand me boxes. Even got the little Bush
Bee Man man on there which is kinda cool. And I’m not really sure,
if everybody asked me what MBC stands for, it’s only
because it was my last choice and I can’t remember
on the drunken evening that I applied for it. Bloke shoulda just made it his initials but anyway, that would’ve
been way too sensible. Could be My Bush Bee, My,
anyway, doesn’t matter. I’m sure someone’ll dream
up some cool shit for me. Anyway, what I’m trying to do, is I’m trying to make up a little bit of an extra mount to
have the bloomin’ stencil held a bit easier, ’cause
you hold that on the box. And you get your bloomin’ hands all covered in black paint, so. We’ll find out whether that’s a good idea or a stupid idea, so my plan is I’m just gonna cut some bits of wood. And I’m gonna put that so as
I can hold that on the box. Wherever the hell the
box is, where’s the box? So I’m hoping that I can
actually hold the thing a bit easier, like that. So, actually, having thought about that, maybe we don’t need to cut that at all, maybe we’ll just nail the bloody thing straight onto this bit of wood. That’s not such a silly idea! We might just stick it straight on there. And then it’ll just be
held there with that bit. Then I can get my pokey stick, hey, hey! Hold that thought! We’re gonna try that first! I think now I’m on a
different train of thought, I reckon I’m just gonna use one of these crappy
top bars that I’ve got. So if I get one of them, just do that, I reckon. ‘Cause that other wood might
be a little bit excited. Technically, do it like that. I reckon. That will work, then
we’ll have a thing there. You reckon we put two? And we’ll see if we can
get ourselves in trouble. You know, if I’ve got a little tiny nail, that’ll be the next thing. I don’t know, I just don’t
like getting my bloody fingers all painted up. Well I guess the worst
thing that can happen is we’ll just have to
take it back off again. Even got the claw hammer
to drive the nail in with. So I don’t get told off. (metal hammering) If you’re doing this at home, and you aren’t constricted by time, go down the shop and get
the right length nails, that would be a good idea. (metal hammering) Aw, dammit! That was a great plan, but it didn’t work. Shit! I snapped the jolly thing. (he sighs) Poop. Right in the knot. Dammit! (Mark chuckling) Maybe we’ll just try it like that. (Mark laughing and coughing) Rightio, anyway, if you’re wondering what the hell that was all about, normally when I’ve been
branding the boxes, I had some cardboard on this jolly thing, stuck on the edge of it as well. And that was all well and
good for a little while but that went to shit, so I thought, maybe I’ll stick it up a gear. And of course, now bright spark’s made it for a left handed person. So I’m gonna have to spray paint with my left hand rather
than my right hand. Maybe I’ll put ’em upside down. Oh, shut up! Ah, bloody hell, it’s gonna be wrong! Oh, dammit! (he sighs) It’s gonna
annoy the shit out of me I can’t have it like that. That’ll be terribly annoying. No! Probably should’ve checked that out before I bent them over, too, shouldn’t I? Oh, come off it, bloody ruffian, honestly. You weren’t paying attention, lad, what’s going on? Supposed to save me from myself. Some enthusiastic beaver
bent the bloody nails over! (he sighs) God. Anyway, if you’re following along at home, don’t forget to make it for the right. If you’re left handed, this is
a perfect instruction video. If you’re right handed like me, it’d be a pain in the butt-hole. (Mark grumbling) Right! Now, if you’ve just tuned in, just remember to make
it for your right hand if you’re doing this for yourself. I’ll just throw this in the bin so you didn’t know it happened. Of course, when you’re
making a brand holding stick, you’ve gotta consider the
fact that you’re gonna want to hold the stick in your left
hand, if you’re right handed. So you can spray with your right hand. Or, if you happen to be left handed, you want to be able to hold it with your right hand so you
can spray with your left hand. So, just keep that in the footnotes when you’re watching the instructions. Do as I do, don’t do as I’ve
seen to be showing. (he laughs) No, what’s that comment dads always make? Do as I tell you, don’t
just do I do, do as I say. Something like that, I
think that’s the one. Do as I say, don’t do as I do? (Mark sighing and singing a tune) Anyway, we’ll try that again! (cheerful acoustic music) Least I’ve got it on the right hand. So I can use my right hand,
my left hand to hold it and my right hand to spray. Mind you, it wouldn’t matter, but I suppose I just like
to be this way round. We’ll go out and we’ll mark our couple of swarm catching boxes and
then, onto the next excitement. Sometimes these old boxes
don’t like the new paint. Okay, anyway, I guess you
can make that out, can you? MBC. I was just thinking, MBC
could be Master, Bee, dunno, what goes with C? (he laughs) I don’t know, I think it
was gonna be My Bee Company but maybe it could be Master Bee Keeper but it’s the wrong letter. – [John] Well, don’t
know if you’re a master. – Oh, I don’t know about that either, but still it sounded good. Anyway, maybe I’ll have to reapply and get different letters,
change something up. Anyway, that’s the plan, we’ve got our swarm catching box all ready to rock and roll, we’re gonna
put our other frames in there, put the lid on and then pop ’em somewhere to catch a swarm! We’ve got a few different spots, got some down, bit cooler
country, there’s a bit early yet. And we might even take a couple with us down the hills tomorrow
morning, pop a couple down there and see if we can catch
some Adelaide Hills bees. Then I’ll have to put
that in me bloody records, where they come from, stupid thing, always asks me what’s the queen’s history? And I said, oh, well I’m not sure, it turned up by itself. Especially when you catch a swarm. Anyway, there we are. (bees buzzing)


  1. What hive management system do you use when you mention it asking about the history of your queen?Everything I've read and experienced backs your thoughts about old boxes attracting swarms too. Good luck, hope you manage to catch a few.

  2. An evaluation yard is a good idea to isolate your swarms to make sure they are a healthy lot before moving them to a production yard. I only use foundation less frames and use a 3/4" starter strip at the top.

  3. Aghh bush bee man M.B.C Malle Bee Company sound good? Now as for master with all the crazy shit you do i would have to say master baiter hahaha sorry couldnt help myself . Let us hope your swarms are better than some of those you got from hackam where they were a bit unfriendly . Its funny never used to notice bees at all now i see them them all the time even look for them on plants i must be going as nutty as you good video hope you get some free bees take care .

  4. dude LoL you make me laugh out loud literally, what are you doing??? I'm in Elizabeth give me a tingle(Call) when you first paid for bees are thought what the hell is this guy doing but good on him is an Aussie and then I went s*** he's in South Oz you beaut better help him

  5. Hey guys hope your well.My buddy and I caught a huge swarm the other day so now officially I am a new daddy of a few thousand girls,Italian ones at that.cheers.

  6. You need the sticker on your truck that states" I'm a bee keeper, if you see me running you'd better keep up!!" That would be most appropriate for the My Bee collection brand I recon 😉

  7. Keeping bees is like getting lost in another world – time doesn't exist for me – my husband wouldn't agree with that statement he has an internal "food" clock that needs feeding! LOL

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