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6 Weeks as a beekeeper...

Swarming

Swarming is a natural occurrence that produces a new colony of bees. During a swarm the old queen leaves with about half of the worker bees and it is caused by three primary factors: overcrowding of the hive, over heating with poor ventilation, or a lack of pheromone in the old queen.

Helpful hints to help manage swarming:

  • Provide more room for your bees before they need it by adding more supers
  • Adding new frames with undrawn foundation
  • Reverse your hive bodies after winter
  • Keep a constant airflow throughout your hive
  • Check your hive for swarm cells

  • We offer a variety of hive components that will help ventilate your hives. We suggest either our cypress IPM screened bottom boards, our slatted racks, or our ventilated inner cover and moving screens to help your hive breathe.
    For the beginners: The colony is unlikely to swarm in its first year.

    Capturing:
    If swarming does occur, it is possible to capture the swarm and begin a new hive.

    • Determine whether the swarm can be captured safely (i.e. not to high up in a tree, on eletrical equipment, etc.)
    • Using a deep hive body, a nuc body, or even a cardboard box gently capture swarm by either cutting the branch or chaking them into the container. Make sure to get the queen
    • Once swarm is in container any stragglers will shortly follow the queen
    • Keeping the swarm well ventilated and transfer to a hive as soon as possible

    Placing in Hive: Capturing a swarm is a breeze and so is placing it into a new home.

    • Make sure hive is set up and ready for the new swarm
    • If captured in a nuc box or hive body, then simply transfer frames
    • Spray swarm with sugar water to calm down and transfer to new hive
    • Feed a 1:1 ratio of sugar water to get hives going
    Note: Capturing a swarm and starting a new colony is better in early spring so they can build numbers for winter.