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Article on Swarming

There are queen cells in my hive - what should I do?

Introduction: You have opened a hive and found queen cells. First of all, don’t panic and, whatever you do, on NO account adopt the Dalek strategy of ‘exterminate them, exterminate them’! It did not work for the Daleks - they lost out to Dr Who every time - and it will not work for you. Destroying queen cells to prevent swarming never has been and never will be a successful method of swarm control. If you destroy one lot of queen cells the bees will immediately make some more and will probably swarm earlier than normal in their development - often before the first cells are sealed. If you destroy queen cells twice you run the risk of the colony swarming and leaving behind no provision for a new queen. Any delay of swarming that you induce by destroying cells will probably result in the prime swarm being larger than it would have been if you had not interfered. Once a colony of bees is triggered to swarm nothing will stop them and all the beekeeper can do is to control the situation by some form of artificial swarming - and even then the eventual outcome is not a foregone conclusion. If you approach the problem logically and find out exactly what stage of the swarming process the colony is in, you will stand the best chance of successfully intervening; not losing bees, saving as much of your potential honey crop as possible and not ending up with a queenless colony.

 

Complete article (pdf)

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The purpose of this website is to promote honey beekeeping by providing a forum in which current honey beekeepers may become more knowledgeable of best practices and the public can become more, and accurately, informed on the benefits of honey bees. For more info or comments, contact Jeff Crooks at jlcrooks@live.com