Beekeepers all around the world are curious to see what springtime will bring to their hives. However, if you do not handle your hives with the proper know-how, you may find that a large grouping of your furry friends is ready to form a swarm and take off for greener pastures. Every hive is different, and there is no universally correct method, but here are a few suggestions for how to prevent honey bee swarms in the spring.
The most basic requirement for any beekeeper, it is essential that you regularly check the hive for any signs of a coming swarm. This could include inspecting the queen’s productivity, looking for swarm cells at the bottom of the frame, and spotting for available room. Truth be told, a lot of knowing how to prevent honey bee swarms in the spring comes down to intense observation and careful action.
If you see that a swarm cell is already there, you should leave it be. There is nothing to do now. The bees have picked a new queen, and you should be ready to recapture and give them a new home once they have outgrown their current residence.
Reverse the Deeps
Once the weather is nice enough, you can rearrange the frames so the brood is moved lower into the box. Reversing the deeps creates room for honey storage and allows the honey bees the opportunity to grow upward. By giving them more room to grow, you are eliminating the purpose of a bee swarm, which is to create a new hive once the current one cannot contain its population.
New queens are less likely to cause a swarm because they are just getting established in a hive. Plenty of people actually begin every spring season by switching out the queen bee.
Some beekeepers like to remove the queen and let the hive produce a new one themselves. Others prefer to purchase a new queen and add her to the hive. If you do decide to introduce a queen bee that you purchased, make sure you wait a few days after you remove the original queen to do so.
Bees can be very sensitive to new queens, and if you choose to directly leave the one you purchased in the hive, there is a strong possibility that she will be swarmed and killed by the honeybees already there. To avoid this, you can put the queen in a one-inch wide and three-inch long cage made from hardware cloth and leave it in the hive so the others will have time to acclimate before she is completely introduced. To complete this task, there are VHS queen bees for sale at The B Farm.
Watch for Rain
When the weather is sunny and nice, bees are out of their hives, flying around and pollinating. But when it gets rainy, as it often does in the spring, honey bees are trapped in their boxes for days at a time. During these stretches, they may start building a new hive at an alarming speed. If you start to notice a lot of rain, you should increase your inspections to see if it is time to prevent a swarm.
For more information about all aspects of beekeeping, browse our blog. And for assistance in purchasing bees, contact us at 978-667-2337.