What is Swarming?
Swarming is when the colony splits into two separate colonies, takes the Queen bee and leaves for a new home. This happens in the Spring and Summer months in Arizona.
Why do Bees Swarm?
Bees swarm for several reasons.
- More space is needed to sustain the population
- Colony genetic survival (reproduction)
- Uncomfortable/ unsafe living environment
- Little to no resources
Methods of Preventing Swarming
Splitting your hives. With two brood boxes.
That is the process of you taking 1 of two stacked brood boxes (usually the bottom box) and moving it to its own space, while giving the bees within the brood box that is left a new queen. You will need a Queen excluder, bottom board and a new Queen.
- Find the frame with the Queen (make sure she is in the bottom brood box)
- Add a Queen excluder to keep her in the bottom box.
- Make sure top brood box has frames with brood, pollen and honey
- Leave bees with the excluder for 24 hours.
- The top box will now be full of young nurse bees looking after the frames of brood with the original queen below the excluder.
- Take the top brood box above the excluder, and move it sideways.
- Move the old boxes to the side at least three or four feet away
- Place the top brood box in the location of the original bottom box hive, with a new bottom board and roof.
- Add your new caged Queen
- You will need to put another brood box on top of the original hive box
- Release Queen in the new hive 3 days after installing
- Check in on new hive 7 – 10 days after releasing new Queen (checking to make sure was accepted and for new brood)
What you will need in the new box:
- A minimum of 4 frames of eggs
- Two frames of pollen
- Two frames of honey
- Two empty frames.
Note: You should concentrate on getting eggs that are less than three days old to keep the nurse bees busy and the new Queen comfortable.
*Make sure to put the frames containing honey and pollen on the outside of the brood frames with eggs, the eggs should be in the center of the frames.*
Demaree Method (once you notice a your hive is trying to create a queen)
In a hive that has one brood box and two supers you will need an unused brood box with frames and a queen excluder.
- Remove supers and top
- Move Brood box to one side
- Place new brood box in its place
- Find the frame with the Queen and move it from the original box to the middle of the new box. If there are Queen Cells on this frame wait until she moves or you move her to another frame with Brood.
- Place the removed empty frame on the far end of the Original brood box.
- Place the Queen excluder on the brood box that contains the Queen
- Replace the Supers on top of the new brood box with the Queen
- Place a second Queen excluder on top of the supers
- Prior to adding Original Brood box remove all Queen Cups and Cells
- Replace Original Brood box on top of the Queen excluder
- Replace top board
4-5 days later check the top brood box for Queen cells and remove any left.
25 days later the Brood in the top Brood box will have hatched and the top Brood box can be removed.