beekeeping
 

Swarming Bees

The springtime is when honeybees reproduce. Reproduction for honeybees usually is a time when the honeybees begin to swarm from their beehive. The spring time swarming period typically last about four weeks. Normally a single swarm of honeybees divide and becomes two during the swarming period.

Because swarming typically means a loss of honey production most beekeeper's try to discourage the bees from swarming. Beekeeper's control the swarming of their honeybees by purchasing new honeybees each spring to replace their previous honeybees that left the hives the previous fall.

Another method commonly used by beekeeper's to control swarming is the creation of a new colony. Creating a starter beehive and then splitting it encourages honeybees to stay in their respective hives. Some beekeeper's believe that honeybees only swarm when they have a large amount of food in the beehive. beekeeper's who believe this theory use a method called checker boarding to discourage their honeybees from swarming. When a beekeeper checkerboards their beehives they remove some of the frames full of honey, giving the honeybees the feeling that they don't have any excess honey in reserve; therefore, discouraging the honeybees from swarming.

It is unusual for honeybees to swarm when there is a new queen honeybee in the beehive. As time passes and the queen honeybee ages is when the hive typically prepares to swarm, generally the elderly queenbee leaves with the primary swarm, leaving a new queen in her place.

When the elderly queen honeybee is getting ready to swarm with the primary swarm she stops laying eggs. The queen then concentrates on getting fit enough to fly when she leaves the beehive. When smaller swarms of honeybees leave the beehive they are commonly accompanied by the virgin queen honeybee.

When the honeybees first leave the beehive in a swarm, honeybees don't typically go far from the beehive they have always known. After fleeing the beehive the honeybees usually settle on a nearby tree branch or under an eave. The worker bees cluster around the queen bee, protecting her. Once they have the queen bee protected, some honeybees scout out the area until they find a suitable beehive to turn into their new home.

Some beekeeper's see honeybee swarming as a way to restock their beehives. An experienced beekeeper has no problem capturing a group of swarming honeybees. Beekeeper's use a device called a Nasrove Pheromone to catch swarming honey bees.

When honeybees swarm, they take no additional food supply with them. The only honey they take from the original beehive is the honey they consumed.

Although honeybees normally swarm only during the spring time the same is not true of Africanized Bees, also known as "Killer Bees". The Africanized Bees swarm whenever they have a difficult time finding a food supply.

Africanized Bees typically don't go after people when they are swarming, there is something about the site of a swarm of killer bees that scares people. It is not unusual for a beekeeper to be called out to capture a colony of swarming bees and usually they're not honeybees.