Swarmed and came back with queen outside

Hi this morning our hive swarmed. We are in northern nsw Australia. Then 10 minutes late they seemed to come back to the hive, I walked over and a queen was walking on the roof with the other bees paying no interest to herimage

I’m new to this (10months) and am completely unsure what to do. Any tips would be greatly appreciated

Looks like a strong primary swarm possibly doing some practice swarm or ready for the real thing.

When was the last time you opened the hive? Did you notice any queen cells?

Do you have spare hive-ware to capture? You could lure them into a new box using a frame of brood as bait. Make sure the new queen doesn’t come along.

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Hi thanks for the reply
We inspected 6 weeks ago , wasn’t aware of any queen cells.
Our intention is to have 1 hive. Perhaps we need another super. From what I’ve read people say you should try and stop a swarm from happening but then others say it’s inevitable? I was wondering why the queen was walking around with no one interested in her. Is she old or tired perhaps. Would she have layed other queen cells before she left.

HI there Vanessa. 6 weeks is a bit too sparse to keep an eye on swarming. At this time of year try to inspect every couple of weeks.


You can’t stop a swarm from happening if the colony has their mind set on it (it’s a colony’s natural response to reproducing). But on the same merit, it’s the responsibility of beekeeping to take measures to take precaution or actions to prevent it.

So we’re supposed to look out for signs of swarming - overcrowing, pollen/honey bound cells resulting in less space for queen to lay, swarm cells etc.

Queens only lay eggs (fertilised or unfertilised) as dictated by the colony and nurse bees. When the colony decides to supersede, swarm or make a queen, they feed the larvae on royal jelly and change the configuration of her cell.

The thing with swarming is that often after the first swarm, the colony will may possibly send out secondary, tertiary swarms and greatly reduce the size (health) of the colony.

Whilst capturing a swarm (and then having 2 hives) is not what you want, you could capture it - then sell it, or recombine the colonies at a later stage. This would mean euthanizing that possibly tired and old queen - but not before confirming your current hive is queen-right.

Your neighbours would appreciate not having a swarm in their roof space, wall cavity etc…


@Poogly , here’s a vid of @JeffH luring a swarm down from a banana tree.

You just need a frame of brood to lure the queen into the new hive-ware. The rest of the colony will follow.


Here’s a pdf that @Dawn_SD references often for swarm prevention:


Ok clearly we need to read up more and do regular fortnightly inspections of our brood box until things cool down. Lucky we are on acreage so neighbours not an issue I don’t think. Suit out and gloves :gloves: on. Thanks for the input.
Much appreciated :honeybee:

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First year is always a steep learning curve. But once you learn and understand the temperament of your hive, you sleep easier… :rofl:


It’s a big learning curve. I was lost too in my first year. Three years later I probably still am. But I get better every year.

People underestimate the work involved, and knowledge you need to manage a beehive properly. I sure did.

Acreage or not, you should never just let a hive swarm. I am on 2 acres, I still don’t want them to swarm. Bees compete with local wildlife for nesting spots, and they are quite aggressive.

I believe we have to keep bees responsibly.


That link is not working Fred, and Dawn.

Thank you for posting this video @fffffred was very interesting for me at this time that I am learning everything from zero in school… ! :clap:

It does work, it is just a huge file (about 20MB I think), so if you have rural or mobile internet, it takes patience… :blush:


You really need to do inspections every two weeks including the brood box. That is the only way you can see what is going on in the hive and if your not understanding what your seeing that is where the forum can help.
You can do preemptive swarm control to almost eliminate the risk of a swarming and loosing a valuable asset. A split off a hive is a very saleable item if you don’t want a second hive, but I’m a strong advocate for having a minimum of two hives, anything is better than having swarms take up home nearby in the bush to compete with your hive for local nectar.

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Was your queen clipped?
If so this would mean that she couldnt fly with the swarm and usually drops to the ground at the hive entrance. She might then have climbed up the hive.
Clipping queens means that the prime swarm will return to the hive, although usually with the loss of the queen.
Remember that the primary swarm usually leaves, weather permitting, when new queen cells get capped in the hive, so unless you take action now you can expect other swarms 8-10 days after.

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I’m unimpressed with the idea of clipping a queen’s wing, primarily because it doesn’t stop a colony from preparing to swarm with all of the associated hassles. As you say "expect other swarms 8-10 days later.

I think in the time it takes to find a queen in order to clip her wing, we can do a preemptive swarm control split, as @Peter48 mentioned.

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No clipping of our queen. She was just roaming around on the roof and ground.

Hey Jim. No we didn’t clip her wings. Dunno how one would even do that :joy: no we are very new and going through a big learning curve at the mo.

Yes we are definitely considering have the spare box and frames for these moments. Thanks

But I clip my chickens’ wings and they never swarmed. I’m now confused. :slight_smile: