Bee boxes explained

Energy & Sustainability

I remember, the first time I saw a bee box (or bee lining box), I was fascinated by all of its chambers (this one has two, others have three), lifts, sliding doors, windows, etc. It’s like something a magician might flourish onstage. But it’s not. It’s used for hunting and capturing wild bees and using the captured ones to follow them back to the hive (a lost art called “bee lining”).

Bee lining

More info on bee lining in general can be found here.

[Thanks to MAKE subscriber, and bee liner, Rick of 2wicky, for sending us his video.]


8 thoughts on “Bee boxes explained

  1. MakeFan says:

    What is the point of this? There is no purpose of capturing the bees in some intricate box. Just leave your sugar water out near some flowers where you see bees and they will find it eventually. Mission accomplished, with no need for a bee box.

    1. Orzo says:

      There is more to the box than what is being said or understood here.

      1. It’s purpose is to find a hidden hive.
      2. Its a Pez dispenser for bees
      3. you carry the box to different locations and release single bees to triangulate on the hive. Bees are not disoriented from moving and still fly straight home.
      4. You do Not snap the lid shut, ever! and the bees should not be made angry, Please don’t do this if you can’t be kind. finesse is the only way to success as angry bees will not help you and will be much more interested in payback than going home.
      6. yes, it is a competitive sport too
      7. The first bee will help you load the dispenser if you feed it, this is before you start moving the box.
      8. Timing the first bee may help, but its not the purpose of the box.

  2. Mystech says:

    The reason the box works better than an open dish, is that by collecting and releasing several bees at once, you are effectively “spamming” the hive with information about a rich food supply in a short period of time.

    When those ten bees arrive, almost simultaneously, each of them will relay the information of her find with the “bee dance” (seriously).

    This is much more likely to cause a substantial number of bees to start a path to and from your location than an occasional and sporadic trickle of bees from an open feeding dish.

  3. Richard noël says:

    Hi this is a great video! Never seen this tool before. Heard of bee lining with a saucer but this method is far better. You would initially get bees coming back to the sugar water. Cool! I put Out swarm traps every year but the success rate would increase if I could get the position of the wild donor hives just right.
    Do you have any drawings or plans available?
    Thanks, Richard

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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