Swarming is normal. Honeybee swarms are a normal sign of a productive and strong honeybee colony. When a colony swarms, the colony splits into two colonies. Unfortunately, this activity often conflicts with the goals of the beekeeper.
The hive population temporarily decreases in the parent colony. Brood rearing is interrupted while the new queen matures, mates, and begins to lay eggs.
The swarm that leaves the colony with the old queen can become a nuisance if they cluster on neighbouring properties. For the beekeeper, losing a large portion of bees is unwelcome, and neighbours do not appreciate a new swarm of bees on their property.
What can you do?
Swarming is a planned event by the bees. Therefore, recognizing the signs of the approaching swarm season is crucial to preventing a swarm from happening. Overcrowding, drone cells, queen cells and a Spring nectar flow are indicators.
Things to consider.
Provide adequate empty combs in the brood nest and/or add supers to colonies to reduce colony congestion.
Remove frames of bees/brood to add to weaker colonies or use to create nucs.
Keep a young queen in your colonies—Requeen over summer each year.
Cut queen cells from colonies every seven to nine days.
Equalize strong and weak colonies before a nectar flow.
Is it time for you to learn more? Then, come along to our Spring Beehive Management training afternoon.