This is just a little thing—a Girl Scout “be prepared” kind of thing—but it makes life easier. Every year just before swarm season, I make sure I have a cardboard box big enough to hold a swarm. I usually use a beer box because they’re sturdy and easy to come by. I seal all the extra openings with duct tape, including the handles on the ends and the slit on the bottom. Then I just stick the box in the shed.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run for the box over the years. I’ve scarfed up swarms in trees and bushes, swarms on fence posts, swarms under hives, and even one on the ground. Often I just clip off a branch and place the whole thing in there. Once I get it in the box, I just fold over the lid and take it to wherever I want to hive it. I’ve even left bees in the box overnight with no problem.
Having it ready in advance makes all the difference because I don’t end up scrambling around looking for something I just took to the recycle center. Before I started doing this I had a swarm leave a low branch and disappear while I was routing around looking for a container. How annoying.
I like a cardboard box because it is light, easy to carry around, and holds the bees in confinement (if well taped). It is small enough that I can climb a tree or hang off the edge of a building and not lose control of it. Besides that, I get to drink the beer, which is also fun.