Will they or won’t they? Swarm, that is!
Honey bees swarm so that they can reproduce (make another colony). It is a natural and normal process and is a sign that the colony is strong and healthy. Weak colonies will not usually try to swarm.
What triggers swarming?
- Overcrowding – lack of room in the hive.
- A high number of worker bees.
- Lots of food in the hive.
Signs of swarming
- Queen cells (see B Kids in Bee Craft May 2018)
- Drones present
- Queen stops laying
- Lots of worker bees
When will the swarm emerge?
A swarm will leave the hive on the first fine day after a queen cell is capped. It will cluster close by the hive, then fly to a new permanent home when the scout bees have found a suitable place.
Why do beekeepers try to stop swarming?
- It reduces the amount of honey the colony will produce in a season.
- Swarms annoy the neighbours.
- Swarms can make a home in a very inconvenient place such as a house chimney or cavity wall.
- Only one in six swarms will survive!
How to stop swarming?
Make an artificial swarm. Look at “Making an artificial swarm’ in our menu bar on the B Kids website