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Are my bees ready to swarm? Pictures!

My hive past two days (Midlands). Not even concerned about swarming its toasting outside. If they swarm they swarm. Nothing more natural. As long as its not from disease or pest infestation swarming isn’t anything I overly think about.

take care feeding when you have a flow super on- if the bees already have honey stores maybe you don’t need to feed at all? During swarm season there is generally plenty of food about.

Your first hive photos don’t look at all like swarming. Just regular activity- maybe a cleansing flight. All hives show a few periods of extra heightened activity usually sometime around midday. This seems to go for about 30 minutes maybe.

In a swarm bees pour out in a steady stream almost like a liquid. Within minutes the the entire sky is filled with more bees than you ever could have believed were in the hive.

If you want to know if the hive is preparing to swarm inspect it for signs of swarm cells.

With you hive that swarmed I would be inclined to let the bees make their own queen. Assuming good spring weather they have a good chance of doing that. Personally after a hive swarms I like to leave the two best looking cells- but just the one often works out fine. Depending on the stage the queen cell was at you should be able to calculate when to expect to see eggs again.

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The frustration about swarming for me is if one is not able to recover them - another beekeeper got to my swarm before I did. My hives are from nucs I purchased in April, so I haven’t even had them that long.

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I appreciate you advice @Semaphore. The super was only added just over a week ago when I realised they needed more room. I’m not really hoping to harvest any honey this year but hoping the build up enough winter stores for a good harvest next year, hopefully.

Yesterday’s inspection of the green Langstroth revealed no swarm cells in the brood box, and some activity in the super (only about two frames were drawn).

I panicked and requeened the flow hive following the swarm. She has been accepted but found more queen cells, which I removed. Although the first brood box is well built up, there was no activity at all in the second brood box I installed.

This make me think that I would have to move a couple of frames with brood the the second brood box - to encourage them upwards OR split the hive if there are sealed queen cells during the next inspection.

Happy to hear your thoughts.

Hi Brian, well you did panic to rush into buying a queen after the swarming of the Flow Hive. Normally when a hive decides to swarm there is already new queens being made for the colony to continue. It is better to allow the making of a new queen in the colony if your happy with the genetics. You also could have used a frame of eggs from the Langstroth hive.
I wouldn’t move frames up to the top brood box, the bees will build out comb there and when the bees want to make use of the top brood box they will. If I find queen cells with larvae in them then I would do a split taking the frame with queen cells and start a new hive, if you want to expand the apiary. The queen cells don’t need to be sealed to do a split using them and I would also take the nurse bees that are on the frame as well.


Yeah, I did didn’t I - I’ll put that down to experience or the lack of :blush:

Will think about making a split (if I see more queen cells during my next inspection) space in the apiary depending.


My apiary has hives only inches apart Brian, it doesn’t seem to stress the bees as much as it does me when I find them too close together for an easy inspection.
Take it from me with 47 years of bee keeping when you think you know it all the bees will tell you you don’t. Bee keeping is never boring… NEVER…
Cheers mate