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Dealing with a SWARM

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

beekeeper running awayWhy 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