Reducing bee swarms in Spring is the #1 concern of beekeepers.
Last week’s blog post outlined eight things that stimulate swarming.
Today is five things you can do to reduce swarming!
Swarm season begins in Spring (earlier if conditions are good) and runs through to Christmas. The environmental factors that stimulate swarming are lengthening days, warming weather, and abundant nectar/pollen from spring flowers.
You can’t change the environmental factors, but what can you do?
Five Things To Do To Reduce Swarming.
Re-Queen. An aging queen and the dilution of the queen pheromone will lead to swarming. So the best thing you can do is to keep a young queen in your hive. A young queen is less than two years old. Many beekeepers re-queen annually.
Reduce Congestion. Overcrowding will lead to swarming. So take action to add more space by adding a super. Lift two brood frames (without bees) into the super and then putting two new frames in the brood box.
Remove Swarm Cells. Queen swarm cells are a clear indicator that your bees are ready to swarm. Removing queen swarm cells every seven to ten days reduces the stimulation to swarm.
Equalise Colonies. Moving frames of brood from a strong colony to boost a weaker colony is called equalising. You reduce the population in the strong colony and strengthen a weaker one. Only do this between healthy colonies; otherwise you will spread diseases.
Split Your Colony. Splitting your colony is creating an artificial swarm. Put your split in a nuc box. Let them raise their own queen, use a frame that has an existing queen cell on it or purchase a mated queen.