Spring and early fall is swarm time for bees! When bees swarm the hive is short quite a few bees and your neighbors might not be too happy to have uninvited guests either. It's been helpful for me to plan ahead so that I have confidence going into swarm season. I recently saw a YouTube video on Bruce White's "Save Our Bees" channel that covers how to identify and prevent bee colonies from swarming.
Bees swarm when they are out of space. Typically this happens in the Spring when bees start building up fast and late summer, early fall, when bees are getting ready for the winter.
He mentions in his video several ways to tell if bees are at risk for swarming:
- Bee's are very busy around the entrance of the hive, don't mistake this for practice flights.
- A lot of foragers are gathering at the front entrance before entering back into the hive.
- Bees are packed in the hive and out of space.
- Lot's of drone bees in late summer.
- Queen cells at the bottom of the frame.
There are several ways to help prevent bee swarms:
- Placing a super on the hive.
- Removing a few Brood Frames & replacing with new frames.
- Reversing Hive Boxes (top brood box with bottom brood box).
- Splitting the Hive.
I've made sure that I always have my plan in place and the equipment to execute on my plan. For instance, this year my plan is to reverse the hive box and I will also transfer bees to a weaker colony if needed. I don't want to do a split because I do not want to expand the amount of bee hives in my apiary.