New Swarm Trap Plans [UPDATED]

[UPDATED 2015-10-13]
The original post has been left in its entirety.

See post Evolution in Swarm Trap Logic from 2015-04-20

If you have followed this blog for any period of time you will know that I normally make swarm traps out of old equipment. It is only because I HAVE OLD EQUIPMENT LAYING AROUND. This has created a problem for helping new beekeepers source their bees. Well NO MORE! Here are some plans that will be useful to new keepers without old equipment laying around. I hope that you will benefit from these extremely clear and efficient plans.

Compliments of Jason Morgan

Compliments of Jason Morgan

I heard the guys south of me at the SouthEastern Indiana Beekeping Association had gotten together to make swarm traps recently. These traps are very similar in size to a 5 frame nuc and though I have never used them, the keepers from down near Milan, IN have reported success. Jason Morgan (see a members sent me a picture of a schematic photo showing all of the cut-out pieces along with their dimensions. These things were going to be awesome, but it gets even better….

I passed the picture around to some people that were interested getting some traps built this winter. One of the recipients was Jeff. Last year was his first year beekeeping. He designs things at work and was nice enough to make PDF plans that make 4 swarm traps from 1 – 4 x 8 sheet of plywood.

SWARM TRAP ASSEMBLY   – Coming Soon 2015-10-13 

Along with appearing on this post they will also be placed in the HOW TO section…

So I say to all of you new beekeepers…. MAKE SOME OF THESE THINGS AND GET THEM DEPLOYED…  Take pictures of your captures and send them to me…

Thanks to everyone who contributed.

Questions / Comments:


This entry was posted in HowTo, Posts, Swarm Trapping and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to New Swarm Trap Plans [UPDATED]

  1. Jason Morgan says:

    Very nice work Jason! What an awesome resource Jeff is! Might be time to ask him about a cut guide for some freeman-type bottom boards! I’ll let you know when we make some boxes from these plans. Take care, oh and thanks for the plug!

  2. Jeff Jump says:

    Give me the dimensions of the bottom boards and I’ll draw it up. Let me know of any other designs/drawings needed.
    I’m going to make 8 of the traps today, I’ll report how it goes and any changes or revisions that need to be made to the drawings to make them more efficient to make.

  3. Jeff Jump says:

    Need to revise the length of the top, bottom and sides due to the lip that the frames sit on being 5/8″ as opposed to 3/8″ in the Langstroth hive. The 5/8″ allows the frames to slide back and forth enough to fall off, so I reduced the length of the top, bottom and sides by 1/4″. The new dimensions will be: Top- 20 5/8″, Bottom-19 3/8″ and Sides-19 3/8″. The lengths could be reduced even more, but I feel like there should be some room between the frames and the ends, especially where they enter.
    Jason I’ll make the changes to the drawings and send new ones so you can replace the ones you have posted here.

  4. Jason Morgan says:

    I was also going to suggest to add about an inch to the length of each of the bottom pieces to make a small landing board under the entrance. Just a thought, since the offal allows for it last time I looked.

  5. Jeff Jump says:

    Good idea Jason on the bottom boards and there is plenty of material for it on the 4×8 sheet.
    I’m real happy with how easy the parts were to cut and assemble, it took less than an hour to cut all the parts for 8 boxes and it only took about 15 min to assemble each box and the material cost for each box was only about $6.50. I might look into coming up with a design that has the 2″ end cleat on the inside of the box so there is more room on each end for the bees to go around the frames. With the design the way it is now the frame can slide almost up against the end, which could be solved by gluing a small shim on the lip where the frame sits, but I’m trying to keep it simple and with as few parts as possible. Do the bees need that space or is that not a big deal?

    • Jason says:

      The only answer I can give there is I don’t know. I anticipate that if they don’t have enough bee space in there they will try to glue the frames in at that point, but there’s only one way to find out…. by using them. I need to see these things.

  6. Jeff Jump says:

    I’ll take some pictures today and post them here. Other than that concern with the space I’m very pleased with how simple and cheap the boxes are to build, course I still have some painting to do!

  7. Jason Morgan says:

    I suggest no more than the 3/8″ beespace. Any less, they propolize it as Jason said. Any more, they build comb 🙂

    • Jason says:

      I agree with Jason…. they look really good.

      NOW the next time I see a picture I want to see bees in them… 🙂

      • Jim says:

        One thing I noticed about your traps is there are vent holes on each side near the top. I build some traps using double nucs and only drilled an entrance hole on one of the short sides near the bottom. I live in Northern Virginia; how important are the vent holes near the top? Are they only for hotter weather like June and July?

        • Jason says:

          To tell you the entire truth those vent holes were put in the initial “traps” because they weren’t traps at all. Initially what I started using as traps were re-purposed Warre quilt boxes. I used them for a couple winters, but ended up abandoning that practice due to moisture issues. Therefore the first 5 or 6 started out with those vent holes in them because they were designed for another function altogether. Back in 2011 I made up several more traps and the second batch didn’t have the vent holes. After comparing the success rates of “traps WITH vent holes” vs. “traps WITHOUT the vents”, I decided to put vents in all of them.

          I do like that when I am moving traps in the Spring/Summer vents give them the ability to move air around on those hot humid summer moving nights. It gets very hot and humid here in May and June.

          I do not know if you would see the same results in your area. If you have some traps made experiment with 2 or 3 of them. Compare your rates of successful trappings. I’d be interested to know what your results would show.

          Jim: I will tell you that I am having a change-of-heart about these little nuc box traps. I think that for nucs and attracting small swarms they are ideal. However I am beginning to think that the 5 frame size could be a problem. I don’t have plans made yet, but I am beginning to think that traps such as these ( may work better. OLD DEEPS STILL WORK BEST I think…

  8. Jason Morgan says:

    Them look great! Well done!

  9. Jeff Jump says:

    Thanks guys!
    Like I said before, these are quick, easy and cheap to build, so they’re a great way for a beginner, or anyone, to get a bunch of traps out there.

  10. Clinton says:

    Your pdf links are no longer working… otherwise, goo stuff!

    Also, what is your stance on top bar hives?

    • Jason says:

      Finally figured out why those links wouldn’t work. Dropbox said they disabled them “for security”.

      I need to have my files stored elsewhere anyway. Thanks for letting me know. Sorry it took so long to get it fixed.

  11. Anon Y. Mouse says:

    The links are not working for me currently, but it could just be me. But based on the text and the picture of the parts, this looks to be the same as the Drew Coates 5 frame nuc design. Plans for it are on bushkill at That PDF shows the assembled version, the individual cuts, and the 4×8 cut sheet.

  12. Marisa says:

    It appears that the links for the four out of 4×8 plans are out of order again

    • Jason says:

      Thank you Marisa. I had updated the links in the “How To…” section, but had forgotten to update the one in that post. I have updated them. If you click HERE you can get a copy. Sorry bout that and thanks again.

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