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Help after a swarm


Another question from a newbie: my strongest hive swarmed today. I have 2 deep brood. Iced and put my honey super on with the Flow frames 2 weeks ago. Do I need to remove the honey super? Also, do they need an entrance reducer again?


Yes I would remove the honey super & reduce the entrance if you think the entrance needs reducing. Be aware that a second or even third swarm may issue. If that happens, your hive will be very vulnerable to SHB damage, that is if they are in your area. Even after a primary swarm by itself, your hive will be vulnerable. You might need to weed out any frames from the brood that don’t have a good covering of worker bees on them, possibly reducing the hive to one brood box.


Look in as soon as you can.
You will find queen cells on the frames. Some will be capped and some will be open.
Choose a nice fat open cell with a nice fat grub swimming in Royal Jelly. Mark the frame. Destroy ALL the other queen cells. Go back in 6 days and destroy any others you find.
When looking for queen cells you HAVE to shake the frames clear of bees or you will miss them.
(do not shake the frame with your chosen queen cell on…brush the bees off that)
Reducing to one nice cell you know has a larva in it will make sure you don’t lose any afterswarms.


Dee, I actually opened the hive last night and found two capped queen cells, an open one that I could not tell whether there was a larvae or not and a queen cup. Lots of eggs, pupae, and larvae. I was surprised at the number of bees left.
Would you suggest proceeding as you stated above? I am definitely concerned they could swarm again.


If that open one has plenty of white jelly in it I’m sure there is a larva there. Take all but that one away and look in again in 6 days after the bees swarmed in case they made some more. Good luck. There will be lots of bees in the hive. Remember new bees are emerging all the time and a swarmed colony can look as full as it was a day later. That’s what confuses a lot of people into thinking the bees haven’t gone. Good luck


Opened the hive to look for queen cells per Dee’s suggestion. Found more than 15 queen cells! Chose one and removed the rest, although a few fell into the bottom of the hive and as the girls were getting irritated, left them there. Also added another brood box, not sure they will need it, but I feel like it’s better to give them room than not. Unfortunately, I don’t have frames with drawn out comb to give them.
Also noticed that the bees are storing nectar where brood had been, will they fix that when there is a laying queen again?


I would leave all the cells. You never know for sure that any one of them will even emerge, plus I think we SHOULD be selecting for early emergence…


Thank you, there is so much to learn. Seems to be many different ideas of
what/how to do things, I feel a bit overwhelmed at times.


The poor chap doesn’t want his colony to swarm again, why leave all the queen cells?


I’ve never found destroying queen cells to discourage swarming. Splitting does…


I agree with Michael_Bush . Destroying queen cells just leads to a queen-less hive.

I just finished harvesting two of my hives and got 120 lbs combined. My point is, both of those hives issued massive swarms and after swarms yet my supers were still full of honey. Swarming isn’t that bad of an occurrence; let it happen or help it happen (split) is my advice.


Swarming here annihilates our honey crop as well as usually condemning the swarm to death from starvation or pest control when it gets into somebody’s home. That’s why we are encouraged to clip our queens


You can leave all the queen cells in a split that has no queen and no flyers though


Right, although for imitating a swarm, I like to find the queen and move her and leave the capped queen cells to the mother hive.


Thank you for all of the input, you all have given me lots to think about. I’ve only been a beekeeper for 7 weeks now, so this has been a good learning experience.
I’ll wait and see what happens over the next few weeks. One thing I will be doing is purchasing another hive to have on hand to do a spit when necessary. Is there anything else you all would recommend having on hand?