Bee Hunting aka Bee Lining


There is an art known as bee lining (beelining) of tracking bees back to their hive. Once found, the hunters of old would mark the tree as ‘found’ and wait till late summer to rob it of its honey.

10 Responses to “Bee Hunting aka Bee Lining”

  1. Richard Noel says:

    So youve found you bee nest (or hive). What are your specific thoughts on where to place the trap. Is there a specific direction from the nest. Is there a specific distance. I am told more than 200 meters, less will attract a swarm in from somewhere else. I have a client with 3 nest in the walls of the house. The garden is large with walls and trees up to 1km form the nest so I am going to be spoilt for choice. I think I will be placing at least 2 traps but one will be baited with Nasanov and 1 will be baited with lemon grasss oil. Is this a good idea?

  2. mccartney says:

    If possible, 100m in all 4 corners from the tree. If it throws swarms, I want’em, or any stray that comes my way.

  3. J.P. says:

    First off, nice site and info, especially your YouTube vids. I found your explanation of bee behavior of circling prior to returning to a hive after feeding from bait stations especially interesting. The part of your explanation that was wanting was your talk of triangulation. I googled a bit for more info, and found this demo of how to do it. Maybe include it along with your vid here? Enjoy:

  4. mccartney says:

    Yea, that circling at takeoff really threw me off when I first beelined, but I read about it in the book “Hunting Wild Bees”. So now I lay down on the ground and watch the bee spiral up before she takes off, much easier to track.

    I did mean to have a follow up vid to that, but never got around to it, I think there was a meteorite fall I had to immediately depart on. I’ll do one sometime in the next 12 months if I can.

    I did see that site. Thanks!

  5. Bob Tackett says:

    It seems I’ve read that in order to follow the bees easier, some people paint a little white on them. Not sure what, liquid paper? I wonder if a good coating of white confection sugar would make them easy to see, and not hurt the bee? It had never occurred to me to use this method with triangulation, but it makes perfect sense. Thanks for the vids!

  6. mccartney says:

    Chalk or flour. A little dusting on your finger and touch their backs. Then you can time them to get an idea of hive distance. Powdered sugar would work as well. They don’t use it to triangulate as much as simply follow up the beeline.

  7. Hi there from a fellow GIS man (or rather an old veteran in the subject).

    I follow your beeking vids with much interest from here in Germany. I’m a while off from starting but wish to learn lots on the subject first.

    The video above wouldn’t show without pausing to reload every few seconds which was a shame as I wanted to watch it. is it of different size to your others?

    Regards Jeremy

  8. How do I buy you a coffee? I don’t see a link or tip jar…..
    Thanks for the instructional videos!

  9. Randall says:

    I have caught two swarms this week. Both have swarmed. the first one i just had in a duct tape box untill i could build a top bar.

    the second one I caught a few blocks from where i had my first swarm.. i placed the second swarm in my top bar. i sprayed the inside of the box with sugar water and honey water. when i checked on the bees the next morning they were feeding and everything looked fine.

    when i came back aroud 5 the box was empty and i didnt see any swarms in any of the nearby trees..

    any sugjestion why they might be swarming… they were building comb in the top bar hive when i looked in this afternoon so i didnt know why they would build comb and then swarm..
    after i catch a swarm should i lock them in the box and feeded them to make them stay. any thoughts would greatly help i am at a loss as what to do.

  10. Rowdy says:

    Randall, It sounds like they over heated and decided to leave your top-bar Hive.

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