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Hive “practise” swarmed & fingers crossed!

Last thing I expected from my girls but what a sight! 20,000 or so bees in the air and what a noise. Fortunately they all returned home.
Managed to borrow another brood box and frames from my mentor and I have added it below and checkered the frames. Also added a queen excluder on the base and praying the queen is still inside.

I did a hive inspection almost 2 weeks ago and didn’t notice any swarm cells but I had to remove 6 today while adding the new box. I was planning on doing an inspection tomorrow as I knew the brood box would be full. Pays to keep a close eye on them.

Have I read this correctly? You have trapped the queen in the hive with a queen excluder?

My only concern is that the colony normally puts her majesty on a diet prior to swarming so that she can fly… Always a possibility she could get through.

Hopefully knocking down Queen cells and giving them more space will keep them at bay… But it’s not guaranteed - the swarming intentions are still there.

Keep us posted :crossed_fingers:


Hi Fred. I think the queen’s thorax is the part of her body that wont fit through a QE & it’s her abdomen that reduces in size so she can fly. Therefore if I’m correct, the QE should keep her trapped.


Not likely @fffffred. The queen excluder blocks the queen at the thorax. The abdomen slims down when the colony puts her on a diet, but the thorax does not, as @JeffH says. :wink:


It’s a bit of a gamble. I’m just hoping they’ll be distracted by the extra room and work to do with the empty frames. The queen excluder is just a bit of hopeful insurance that a queen won’t escape with another swarm. I’ll check it again in 4-5 days and as long as they haven’t swarmed again, if they’re really busy drawing comb, I’ll remove the QE from the bottom.

Not too many options if they do swarm, as if I do manage to locate and catch them, I’ll have to try and find another hive!

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Hi Tam, it doesn’t hurt to have a spare brood box on hand, just in case a colony does swarm. Plus once the word gets around that you’re a beekeeper, you’ll be the first person they think of if a swarm turns up in their yard.

Don’t be put off catching a swarm just because you don’t hive a hive ready, you can use a cardboard box with a small entrance cut in the bottom as a temporary hive, which I’ve done myself.


Great to know @JeffH and @Dawn_SD . Learning all the time :laughing:


True. But are you sure that the queen is there? A common reason for bees swarming and then returning to the hive is that the queen can’t keep up with the swarm and gets lost. In this case, the swarm will return to the hive, but without the queen.
I know you destroyed queen cells but there may be a virgin queen in the hive that needs to get out to be mated.
If you have eggs in two days time, it means that the queen is still there.
I think you should consider splitting the hive. The swarming impulse, once present, is difficult to defeat by simply adding more space.


Thanks Jim.
No I’m not sure her majesty is in residence! Just praying. I should hopefully be able to tell in a few days when I do my next inspection and remove the QE from the base.

Being very new to bee-keeping, I’m not looking forward to a real swarm as I don’t have another hive yet. But I’m sure there’ll be plenty of beeks locally who will be able to take a swarm if and when I catch it. As for a split, same same, no hive to put them into yet.

I’ve only had this colony for 4 weeks but I think the reason they are now so over-populated is that the colony was a full 8 frames! And we’ve had a bit of crap weather recently so I had been worried about them having sufficient food stores. And holding off adding the super.

Steep learning path but still very rewarding. I’m seeing the need to carry sufficient spares and equipment to manage them in the future.

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