Controlling Swarming They’re telling you something!
Swarming occurs naturally as it is Nature’s way for Honey Bees to be fruitful and multiply. But you do have a lot of control over these insects. (Ahem, Beekeepers!) Swarms rarely sting as they have no hive to defend and usually have gorged themselves on honey.
Why should you prevent swarming? • You don’t want to lose half of your bees! • People are generally surprised to see a clump of swarmed bees on a tree. • And it means you weren’t paying attention.
Swarming When honey bees want to split they will start creating queen cells. They also do this to replace older queens. So are they going to swarm or not?
Swarm Cells • Queen cells that are placed at the bottom of the frame are usually a sign of that they are going to split. Get rid of the swarm cell before it’s too late!
Supercedure or Emergency Queen Cells • Are usually placed in the middle of the frame. • They do this when the queen become too old or in an emergency to replace a missing queen.
Add Space! When bees run out of space in their hive they will start thinking about swarming. You can tell they are running out of space because many of the frames will be occupied by brood, pollen, and honey.
Rearranging Frames/Hive Bodies The queen typically hangs out in the middle of the hive laying eggs and can run out of room. You may have to move frames to provide her with more cells to lay eggs in. Also, she may hang out in the top hive body during winter and you may need to reverse the top to the bottom.
Split the Hive If your hive is strong (large number of bees) in the spring. You can take 4 to 5 frames of brood and a new queen and create another hive.
Clipped Queens Queens with one wing clipped cannot fly away, so they swarm has no where to go but home. This can buy you some time to make them happy again
Honey Bee Swarm Lures During the spring you may also gain a swarm from someone else’s hive if you place a swarm lure inside an empty hive body with a few frames