DIY Layens Bee Trap

With a few easy-to-find materials and tools, you can build six swarm traps capable of fitting six Layens frames.

These plans are for a Layens swarm trap that will accept six Layens frames. You can also find plans for swarm traps accepting Langstroth frames at The materials listed here are enough to make six full swarm traps, with a few extra pieces of plywood for the next time.

diagram of a swarm trap

Materials List

  • 4-by-8-foot sheet of 15/32-inch plywood sheathing, construction grade, untreated
  • 4-by-8-foot sheet of 3/8-inch plywood sheathing, construction grade, untreated
  • 8-foot 2-by-4, untreated
  • 12-inch-wide aluminum flashing (allow 18 inches per trap)
  • Wood glue
  • 1-inch staples or 1-1/4-inch nails (allow 50 per trap)
  • 3/8-inch T50 staples
  • Exterior acrylic primer/sealer (1 quart per 5 swarm traps)
  • Light-colored exterior acrylic paint (1 quart per 5 swarm traps)

Tools List

  • Wide paint brush
  • Table saw
  • Sliding miter saw (alternative: circular saw or hand saw with a guide)
  • Router with 1/2-inch straight bit
  • Air compressor with narrow crown and T50 staple gun (alternative: hammer and nails; manual stapler)
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Metal shears


  1. Cut the 15/32-inch plywood as shown on the cut diagram on page 35. You’ll end up with 20 pieces 16-7/8-by-1/8-inch end walls, and 10 pieces of 13-15/16-by-9-1/8-inch bottoms.
  2. Cut a 1/4-by-7/16-inch rabbet along one of the 9-1/8-inch edges of each end wall piece that you built in Step 1. These are the frame rests.
  3. Cut the 3/8-inch plywood as shown on page 35 the second cut diagram. This will give you 12 front/back walls measuring 14-7/8-by-16-7/8-inch, and six tops measuring 15-13/16-by-10-13/16-inch.
  4. Cut a 1/2-by-4-inch horizontal slot in the center of half of all the wall pieces, 4 inches from the lower edge. If you can, cut the slot’s edges to slope up at a 15-degree angle. This will prevent rainwater from dripping in.
  5. Assemble the box. Put the bottom on a flat surface. Using glue and staples, attach one end wall so its frame rest faces in. Attach the opposite wall the same. Attach the front wall, then the back wall, and the box is done.
  6. Cut a length of 2-by-4 to 15-13/16 inches long, and then rip it into 3/8-inch planks that each measure 3/8-by-1/2-by-15-13/16 inches. You’ll need two per trap. Cut another length of 2-by-4 to 10-1/16 inches long, and rip it into 3/8-inch planks that each measure 3/8-by-1-1/2-by-10-1/16-inches. You’ll need two of these per trap.
  7. Assemble the top. Position the short planks between the long planks to form a rectangle, and attach their ends with glue and staples. Apply a bead of glue on the edge of one side of this frame, cover with the plywood top (from Step 3), and attach it with staples.
  8. Install the flashing. Cut a 17-5/16-by-12-inch piece of flashing. Center the top of the trap on the flashing, lightly score the perimeter, notch the four corners, and attach with 3/8-inch staples as you fold the flashing around the top.
  9. Apply a coat of primer to the outside only, and allow it to dry. Then apply a coat of paint. Once it dries, you’re finished!

Related: Learn how to catch a wild swarm of bees and relocate them safely to your hives.

  • Published on Jun 12, 2018
© Copyright 2022. All Rights Reserved - Ogden Publications, Inc.