Topbar Beekeeping

I'm an urban topbar beekeeper in Albuquerque, NM. I manage hives in backyards and small organic farms within city limits. These hives are probably pollinating your veggie patches right now. Visit my website at:


Tanging? Myth or just an old beekeeping tall tale?

Over this last weekend I was introduced to the phenomena known as "tanging". This is what some of the old timer beekeepers do to land a swarm. Basically, you bang on a piece of metal repeatedly until the swarm, or a colony of bees with a queen looking for a home, lands. The noise supposedly lands the swarm so you don't have to chase it for miles. Does it work? I have to admit, I saw it work. Within a few minutes of Liz's tanging, the swarm landed on a bush about 300 yards away and was easy to capture.

The odds are that the hive is going to land anyways within 15 minutes, tanging or not. The question is, do you want bang loudly on a piece of metal, chasing after a bunch of bees around town? How crazy do you want to appear to the neighbors? Just sayin'. On the other hand, how badly and to what lengths will you go to get some free bees?

A long time beekeeper, Larry Phillips from Yuma, AZ I met this last weekend filled me in on tanging. He also told me that some beekeepers believe that if you throw handfuls of dirt in the air at the swarm, it will also land them. Larry definitely won't be found banging on a pot or throwing dirt in the air and I think I'm with the Larry camp on this one.

To tang or not. How about you?


  1. I was told it simulated thunder (an approaching storm) encouraging them to bivouac ASAP.

  2. After hearing about tanging to get the swarm to form closer to the ground and not too far away, I decided to try it out. I've got a Warre hive that has not swarmed yet but keeps threatening to. I've tanged them back into the hive three times last week and again today. Today was definitely the biggest group. When they settle down they are 'bearding' on the side of the hive.
    A couple of days ago I didn't have time to tang...they went through the same revving up and flying excitedly around the hive, up in the air too. I'm thinking "let them swarm, I don't have time for this." In about 15-20 minutes they settle back down by themselves. My question is..."What the heck are they doing???"
    I'm making a you-tube video to ask that very question on the bee forums.