Thursday, March 15, 2012

Swarming

Seizing the Swarm

With such mild winter weather there have already been many reports of swarming. If you have come across a swarm or have been notified of a swarm and unsure on what to do, call your local Bee Association for assistance.  There are many beekeepers that enjoy capturing swarms (mainly because they are FREE Bees), so do not hesitate to ask for assistance. Swarms can be astounding and frightening in appearance but know that because the bees are not protecting any brood and are looking for a new home, they are not aggressive and can be harmless if they are not threatened.


Swarm in Tree


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. Swarming is a vulnerable time for the honey bee. Leaving the hive limits their food supply to what the bees can carry and leaves them unprotected from weather conditions.  They will begin fairly close to the hive until they can scout a sustainable living space.

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
  •          Keep a constant airflow throughout your hive
  •          Check your hive for swarm cells