There are many reasons why bees swarm, this can be due to lack of room in the hive, an old queen which is unable to create enough Pheromone ( The control chemical) for all the bees and a breed of bees that are just “smarmy by nature”
A ‘natural’ swarm consists of the existing queen, all the flying bees, and as much honey as they can carry; we have now are manually creating this situation.
By carrying out an artificial swarm procedure you can benefit from another colony and possibly prevent your bees from actually swarming. There are many methods of doing this but this method is most probably the easiest and most straightforward. This method can also create another colony without affecting the honey flow and the later harvest.
So at the very least you will need the following spare or new equipment
The method described will hopefully maintain the maximum amount of foraging bees with the queen who can continue to lay eggs without interrupting the honey flow. The key to success is to carry out careful inspections and to ensure you don’t miss any queen cells.
If during an inspection you see an unsealed Queen cell containing larvae in a pool of royal jelly , it’s time to carry out an artificial swarm procedure. When a queen cell is found do not shake any bees off the comb because this is likely to damage the developing queen. just knocking a developed queen cell off will not delay the inevitable swarm as the swarming process has already been started; be aware that another one could be built in as little as 20 minutes
Gently push the bees aside with your finger or use a bee brush (brush with very soft bristle) so you can see the whole comb and look to see if there are more queen cells. After checking each comb in the brood box, note which frames has a queen cell or cells. Select the two best cells and destroy the reminder
Mark this frame with some mark you will be able to remember ( a drawing pin or map pin is ideal and quick with gloves on ) to avoid having to handle it again. Queen larvae are notoriously fragile, it’s very easy for the precious larva to become dislodged and fall straight out. Remember the cell’s opening is at the bottom!!
The next step is to find the existing queen and isolate her on one frame.
- Floor Brood
- Box Full
- Set of frames with drawn comb, but if not with frames with foundation sheets.
- Crown board
Tags: Artificial Swarm, Swarm, Swarm Control