How to Perform a Shook Swarm

How to perform a shook swarm to replace old, possibly diseased comb with nice, fresh comb. The shook swarm is much quicker than the Bailey comb change, but it’s much more stressful for the bees.

This should be done in the early spring, but late enough for the bees to build up strength.

In the case of EFB, the shook swarm should be done under the supervision of a bee inspector.

It’s not recommended to perform a shook swarm when bees have nosema, as it’s too stressful for the colony.

Thanks to Bronwen White for the following demonstration:

How to perform a shook swarm:

  • Move the entire hive to one side and take the roof and crown board off of the hive.
  • In its place, position a new hive with a clean floor.
  • Put a queen excluder on the floor underneath the brood box (to stop the bees from swarming during this process.)
  • Take about four frames out of the center of the clean hive and set to the side.
  • Take one dirty frame at a time and shake the bees into the clean hive, and brush in any remaining bees.
  • It’s best to have a spare box to put the dirty, bee-free frames in while you work through the frames.
  • Gently place the four clean frames back into the clean hive.
  • Place clean crown board on top of the clean hive.
  • Feed bees using a contact feeder.
  • Place a super and roof on top.