Do Bees Move Into An Empty Hive? What To Know

Are you wondering if bees will move into a new hive box? The answer is a resounding yes! Bees are naturally drawn to empty hive boxes that provide them with the perfect dimensions for a new home. 

By strategically positioning a new, unoccupied bee box and utilizing attractants, you can significantly enhance the likelihood of attracting a swarm seeking a new residence.

Do Bees Move Into An Empty Hive? What To Know

In this article, we will explore the methods and factors involved in enticing bees to move into an empty hive, ensuring the establishment of a thriving bee colony. This article is fully researched by BeesColony.

Will Bees Move Into An Empty Hive?

Yes, they will. A swarm of bees is naturally drawn to empty hive boxes, as the dimensions of these boxes align perfectly with their requirements for a new home. 

By positioning a new, unoccupied bee box on an elevated surface such as a rooftop, we can enhance the likelihood of attracting a swarm seeking a new residence. This strategic placement increases the chances of the swarm discovering the bee box and deciding to settle inside. 

Additionally, there are methods available to further optimize this process. One effective approach to attracting swarms is to utilize pheromone lures specifically designed to mimic the scent released by queen bees. 

These lures can be strategically placed near the hive box, acting as a powerful signal that entices swarming bees to investigate and ultimately relocate to the provided box. 

This method, combined with the good placement of the hive box itself, greatly enhances the prospects of successfully attracting a swarm and establishing a thriving bee colony.

How Do You Attract a Swarm into a New Bee Box?

1. Create an Ideal Hive Environment

First and foremost, it’s crucial to ensure that your new bee box is enticing potential inhabitants. Make sure the hive is clean, dry, and well-ventilated. Place it in a location that receives adequate sunlight and shelter from strong winds. 

Additionally, it’s advisable to use a hive with frames and foundation, as this provides a solid foundation for the bees to build their comb.

2. Utilize Swarm Lures or Attractants

Next, you’ll want to attract the attention of passing swarms. One effective method is to use swarm lures or attractants. These commercially available products emit a scent that mimics the pheromones released by queen bees. 

By placing these attractants near the entrance of the new hive, you can increase the likelihood of attracting swarms in search of a new home.

3. Stay informed about Swam Alerts

Timing is crucial when it comes to attracting swarms. Spring is typically the prime time for swarming, so be prepared during this season. 

Monitor local beekeeping associations or networks to stay updated on swarm alerts in your area. Sometimes, beekeepers who have captured a swarm may be willing to provide you with one for your new hive.

4. Provide a Water Source Nearby

Bees require a nearby water source for hydration and cooling the hive. Having a water feature like a shallow birdbath or small pond close to your bee box will attract swarms, as it provides them with a vital resource. 

Ensure the water source is shallow and has landing spots for the bees.

5. Exercise Patience

Finally, be patient. Swarms can be unpredictable, and it may take some time before one decides to move into your empty hive. Remember that bees have their instincts and preferences. 

By providing an attractive, comfortable, and enticing environment, you increase the chances that swarms will choose your bee box as their new home.

So, will bees move into an empty hive? Absolutely! With the right preparation, attractants, timing, and a little bit of patience, you can increase your chances of successfully attracting a swarm into a new bee box. 

Do Bees Move Into An Abandoned Hive?

The allure of an abandoned hive lies in its lingering bee scent, making it more enticing than a new, empty one. Consequently, bees are more inclined to discover and settle in an abandoned hive rather than a fresh, unoccupied counterpart.

However, caution is warranted in such situations. If a hive was abandoned due to the presence of diseases like American or European Foul Brood, there is a risk that the subsequent swarm might also contract the illness. Hence, it becomes crucial to verify that the abandonment was not a consequence of contagious ailments.

When considering the occupation of hives within the intricate world of bees, these factors should be kept in mind. The preference for abandoned bee boxes underscores the significance of scent and familiarity to these industrious insects. 

However, ensuring the health and well-being of the bees remains a paramount concern when dealing with abandoned hives, safeguarding against the spread of potential diseases.

Using Baits to Attract Bees into an Empty Hive

When it comes to attracting bees to an empty hive, the question arises: Will bees move into it? Yes, they will, but only when you use the right approach.  

Bees are highly selective about their nesting sites. They look for specific characteristics such as ample space, suitable conditions, and availability of food sources. Simply providing an empty hive might not be enough to entice bees to move in.

To increase the chances of bees colonizing an empty hive, baiting techniques can be used. One effective method is using lemongrass oil, which mimics honeybee pheromones. 

By placing a few drops of lemongrass oil on a cotton ball or fabric inside the hive, the scent can attract scout bees, signaling the availability of a potential nesting site.

Another option is using an old comb or honey frames in the empty hive. The residual scent of beeswax and honey can be appealing to bees, making the hive more enticing.

Factors such as the availability of nearby food sources, the quality of the hive, and local bee populations play a significant role in whether bees will choose to move into an empty hive.

How to Know if Bees Are Interested in a Bee Hive

You can determine if bees have discovered your bait hive or empty beehive when you observe one or two bees exploring it.

Initially, you might notice a solitary bee arriving at the entrance and entering the hive. After a few minutes, it will exit the hive and fly away. This bee is a scout, searching for a new dwelling for the swarm.

Following the initial scout bee, a few more bees will likely arrive and hover around the entrance for a brief period. Some of them will enter the hive to inspect the surroundings. Eventually, these bees will depart to inform the majority of the colony about the new location.

As the remaining members of the colony arrive, you will observe a greater number of bees flying around the bait hive. When the queen arrives, she might perch outside the entrance while the other bees gather around her. 

Subsequently, she will enter the hive and position herself on the central frame where the old comb is located. The rest of the bees will then follow her into the hive.


In conclusion, attracting bees to move into an empty hive is indeed possible. By creating an ideal hive environment, utilizing swarm lures or attractants, staying informed about swarm alerts, providing a nearby water source, and exercising patience, you can increase your chances of successfully attracting a swarm into a new bee box. 

While bees may also be inclined to move into an abandoned hive due to the scent and familiarity it offers, caution must be exercised to ensure the hive is free from contagious diseases. 

With the right preparation and techniques, you can create an enticing home for bees, fostering their well-being and contributing to the vitality of these remarkable pollinators. Meanwhile, you can check this article to know what a bee hive looks like.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will Bees Move into a Hive on their own?

Yes, bees have the instinct to establish colonies and will typically move into a suitable hive on their own, attracted by factors like shelter, location, and availability of resources.

How do you know if a Bee Hive is Empty?

One way to determine if a beehive is empty is by observing the hive entrance. If there is no bee activity or movement of bees entering or exiting the hive over a significant period, it may indicate that the hive is currently unoccupied.

What Happens if you don’t Empty a Bee Hive?

If a bee hive is not emptied, it can become a potential habitat for pests, diseases, or other unwanted organisms. The unattended hive may attract new colonies, leading to overcrowding and potential conflicts among bees. 

Can a Worker Bee Turn into a Queen?

Under specific circumstances, a worker bee has the potential to develop into a queen. This can happen if the existing queen dies or is removed, and the worker bees feed selected larvae with royal jelly, triggering their transformation into queens.

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