Shopping Basket
Your Basket is Empty
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should receive an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Basket

News Updates

News Updates

June Hints and Tips - look out for swarming signs!

Posted on 8 June, 2016 at 4:30

Austen’s June Notes


The end of May and first few day’s in June have certainly seen a change in the conditions from relatively cool weather to a bit of a heatwave (at least by Scottish standards). Nectar has been pouring in to hives from the Sycamore and Chestnut trees and next in line is the Hawthorn if it decides to be ‘co-operative’ this year. Notably the first clover flowers are now out in bloom. Clover will yield lots of delicious nectar, but only if the temperature exceeds about 20 degrees C and we have some moisture to refresh it’s roots.



It is noticeable that our cooler spring has brought many of these plants into flower at almost the same time, whereas we might have expected a bit of a stagger in their timings.


In last month’s notes I mentioned that swarming was more often associated with the ‘June gap’ – when early nectar sources had ceased and the later flowers were still to come out with declining day length. As usual the bees do not read the books and I have been informed that several of you have already experienced swarming in your colonies. It is worth remembering the factors which affect swarming in a colony. Firstly it is the bees’ only method of reproducing and forming a new unit. Swarming will be determined by the genetics of the bee strain which you keep. Some will swarm every year and others may seldom swarm. Swarmier types may produce several cast swarms: That’s with one of the hatching virgin queens.



Conditions within the colony are important too. Congestion (either insufficient space for the queen to lay in or for the bees to store incoming nectar) may promote the urge to find a new home. They say that “idle hands make mischief” and so it is with the bees, hence the propensity for June gap swarms in our area. The ratio of field bees and young bees in the colony is often associated with the swarming urge. This aspect can be exploited by the beekeeper in making an ‘artificial swarm’ (more below).


I don’t intend to re write the text books on the subject however if on your weekly colony inspections you see queen cups with larvae in them then you have the possibility that swarm preparations are underway. Later in the season (July/ August) it will almost certainly be supercedure of the old queen but a significant number of cells (say 6+) at this time almost certainly indicates the bees intention to swarm. So beginners will need to keep their eyes well ‘peeled’ during inspections. That doesn’t mean spending an eternity examining every corner of every last comb but if you see queen cell cups (which are common) have a look inside some of them. Eggs may be the prelude to cell development but they are often discarded, however taken to the larval stage then the bees will be unlikely to stop. Action will then be required by the beekeeper.


I might at this stage recall a personal experience many years ago with my bees. I went into the first colony and split the top and lower boxes to look for cells (note beginners, a good minimally disturbing technique for rapid ‘diagnosis’) Horror of horrors to see a dozen cells hanging down BUT they had all been torn open by the bees. The automatic conclusion was that the queens had long since hatched and that the bees had swarmed days ago. However further inspection showed that there were lots of bees present and that the old queen was indeed still there. That was lucky I thought. I went into the next colony and was met with the same sight and so it continued with every colony in that apiary. All had been stimulated to build cells and all had been stimulated to rip them down again and abandon the swarming urge. Why?, I still have no idea! But it is worth noting that poor weather will delay swarming or the bees may abandon the idea altogether but given a blink of midday sunshine and they will be off. Beware!


OK so back to your colony with the cells. Remember the important little rhyme, “Three, Five, Eight, and a queen can mate”. If you see all open developing queen cells then there is no need for panic as the bees seldom swarm until they are sealed and you can temporally close up the hive if you don’t have the necessary equipment to hand. Bees normally swarm when the new queens are within a couple of days of hatching if the weather conditions are right.


So after the foregoing ramble, what are you going to do to prevent the swarm escaping? Firstly, don’t panic and think with a clear head.

Form a plan of action from the desired outcome (eg do you want more colonies).The simplest technique is to make an artificial swarm. Now, to hark back to the springtime (when of course you remembered to mark your queens??), you now need to find her.


Place the frame with the queen into a fresh box on the old site. Fill up that box with frames of stores (no bees) and/or empty combs. Take all of the brood frames with queen cells and place on a new site (or sites if you want to expend numbers). Shake all of the bees from the supers into these new colonie(s) and close the box up. Return the unsealed super boxes to the original site above your excluder.


So the first thing which the foraging (flying) bees will do is to return to their former home so you have a colony of flying bees and their queen and few if any young bees . ….. so the bees now ‘feel’ that they have swarmed and will work hard to boost their ‘new’ home.


Now note that to save on equipment, you can fly your new colony out of the rear of the existing site and from above a cover board with a swivelling entrance. Once the new queen has been mated, you can either remove the old queen and unite with the top queen via the newspaper method, or take the new colony to a distant site for a week before bringing it back to the home apiary.


Now you are all bored with reading this, you can look forward to the Lime, Bramble, Raspberry, Willowherb and Heather flows later in the summer!

Austen Brown - Chair

Categories: Beekeeping Hints and Tips

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.


Reply Easy Payday Loan
21:24 on 11 May, 2021 
microloans loans with no credit check
Reply Eyeliend
21:22 on 11 May, 2021 
pharmacy discount coupons where can i buy cialis online without a prescription doxycycline over the counter uk where can i buy viagra pills over the counter sildenafil over the counter canada buy viagra australia online generic viagra from india online viagra medicine online how much is viagra in australia 20 mg cialis daily
Reply benelync
20:52 on 11 May, 2021 
nike air max 87 zero women all red green billig nike roshe noir runners julie and the phantoms sweatshirt boston red sox rainbow hat hatchling jokes nike in esecuzione nero friday seahawks zip up hoodie
Reply Online Payday Loan
20:50 on 11 May, 2021 
1000 loan
Reply Online Lenders
17:49 on 11 May, 2021 
money loans no credit check
Reply malatyarent
16:04 on 11 May, 2021 
nike air max 2009 blue 80 billig new york yankees beanie hats off air jordan retro 4 bred black oakland athletics baseball cap results game nike hypervenom phinish kopen 400 billig nike internationalist negro and rojo
Reply Fastest Payday Loan
15:51 on 11 May, 2021 
loans for poor credit
Reply yeezy
15:04 on 11 May, 2021 
My husband and i got so thrilled that Edward managed to complete his inquiry with the precious recommendations he grabbed while using the web page. It is now and again perplexing to just happen to be making a gift of information that many many others could have been selling. So we do know we need the website owner to thank for this. Most of the explanations you've made, the straightforward website menu, the friendships you make it possible to instill - it's mostly exceptional, and it's really assisting our son and us know that the idea is pleasurable, which is certainly rather serious. Many thanks for everything!
Reply moncler
15:03 on 11 May, 2021 
Thank you so much for providing individuals with an extremely memorable possiblity to discover important secrets from here. It is always very fantastic and packed with a lot of fun for me and my office acquaintances to visit your blog at a minimum three times in a week to find out the new stuff you have got. And definitely, I'm just certainly satisfied considering the good creative ideas you give. Selected two facts in this posting are clearly the very best we have all had.
Reply golden goose outlet
15:03 on 11 May, 2021 
I wish to express my passion for your kind-heartedness giving support to men and women that require assistance with in this topic. Your real commitment to getting the solution around ended up being exceedingly significant and has specifically encouraged professionals much like me to get to their desired goals. Your new informative help and advice indicates a great deal a person like me and additionally to my office colleagues. Best wishes; from all of us.
golden goose outlet
Reply jordan shoes
15:03 on 11 May, 2021 
I am only writing to let you be aware of of the fabulous encounter our daughter undergone using yuor web blog. She came to understand several things, with the inclusion of what it's like to possess an awesome giving mood to have a number of people without problems know just exactly several complex matters. You actually did more than my desires. Thank you for displaying the informative, trusted, educational as well as fun tips on this topic to Ethel.
jordan shoes
Reply yeezy supply
15:03 on 11 May, 2021 
Thanks for all your efforts on this site. Kim delights in conducting research and it's simple to grasp why. Most of us learn all regarding the lively mode you create important ideas via this web site and therefore invigorate contribution from other people on this area of interest plus my child is certainly learning so much. Have fun with the remaining portion of the year. You have been performing a really good job.
yeezy supply
Reply jordan shoes
15:02 on 11 May, 2021 
My spouse and i have been very contented that Peter managed to carry out his inquiry through the entire ideas he acquired using your site. It is now and again perplexing to simply choose to be freely giving secrets and techniques other people could have been selling. And we all recognize we have got the writer to appreciate for that. The illustrations you've made, the straightforward site menu, the relationships you can help promote - it's all impressive, and it is facilitating our son in addition to the family reckon that that topic is interesting, and that is pretty indispensable. Thank you for all!
jordan shoes
Reply yeezy shoes
15:02 on 11 May, 2021 
I precisely had to appreciate you yet again. I do not know the things that I would've tried in the absence of these smart ideas provided by you directly on such problem. Entirely was a very horrifying problem in my opinion, but witnessing the specialized manner you resolved it forced me to weep for joy. I'm happier for this help and as well , hope you know what a great job you are always putting in instructing the others thru your web site. Probably you've never got to know all of us.
yeezy shoes
Reply stone island
15:02 on 11 May, 2021 
My husband and i felt very glad Chris managed to do his research via the ideas he was given through your site. It's not at all simplistic just to possibly be releasing secrets which usually people might have been making money from. And now we grasp we have the website owner to appreciate for this. The specific explanations you've made, the easy website navigation, the friendships you help promote - it's got many wonderful, and it's really letting our son and the family consider that that content is fun, which is certainly especially essential. Many thanks for the whole thing!
stone island
Reply air jordan
15:01 on 11 May, 2021 
I wish to get across my respect for your kind-heartedness supporting people that should have assistance with this one subject matter. Your very own commitment to passing the message all through was exceedingly valuable and has usually encouraged many people much like me to realize their ambitions. Your new interesting tips and hints denotes a whole lot a person like me and even further to my fellow workers. With thanks; from each one of us.
air jordan
Reply yeezy shoes
15:01 on 11 May, 2021 
A lot of thanks for all of your effort on this web page. Gloria really loves setting aside time for internet research and it's really simple to grasp why. A lot of people know all of the lively way you provide practical tips via this web blog and recommend response from others on this article and our own girl is discovering a great deal. Enjoy the rest of the year. Your conducting a first class job.
yeezy shoes
Reply Lisaliend
13:15 on 11 May, 2021 
tadalafil 2.5 mg in india
Reply cironajle
9:15 on 11 May, 2021 
47 brand black boston red sox hat zombie black and red jordan cp3 billig royal blue nike lebron soldier billig herren schwarz roshe run woven turnschuhe denim polo outfit female nike seattle seahawks 12 fan 2015 super bowl xlix green game kids jersey
Reply Direct Lender Loans
9:12 on 11 May, 2021 
one hour payday loans