I never imagined that owning bees was so… what is the word I’m searching for? In-depth. Or that they required so much management. My knowledge of bees, before I owned bees, was that they lived in a box and made honey and then, wallah! there was honey for bread and honey for cooking! Pretty simple. Go bees!
But in reality, when you are taking a wild animal…insect…from another location and placing them in a man-made box, and expecting them to live and actually stick around, they need a little encouragement and help.
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Bees do not like it when they feel crowded. They have an army of 30,000 to 50,000+ bees and when cramped in their quarters, they will swarm and move to another location that is not so small.
But there are a few things you can do to help. And in this video, I will show you what I will be doing with my hive to (hopefully!) prevent swarming. There are several ways to undertake this hive “procedure” and I will be doing somewhat of a combination of two methods.
Many beekeepers simply swap the bottom box with the top box because during the winter months bees have moved up into the top box to stay warm and then the queen goes to laying in the top box and then says, “whoops! There’s no room, let’s go!” And so to prevent this, you can move the top congested box to the bottom, and then the bees move up into the top box and the queen goes to laying upstairs again. This is a great way and has worked for many beekeepers.
These are my bee swarm control steps I’m going to take when I open up my hive:
- Take off the top box and set it aside
- Remove the four middle frames from the bottom box and set them aside
- Remove the four middle frames from the top box and place them in the bottom box.
- Push the remaining frames of brood in the top box together so that the brood has a better chance of staying warm
- Place the four frames from the bottom box that were set aside into the top box
- Put the top box back on top of the bottom box
- The bees and brood are now divided and this will split the congestion of the boxes. And the queen, if she is still in the top, will have plenty of room to lay.
Feel free to print off this free printable of the above steps: MANAGING HIVES TO PREVENT SWARMING
A strong hive with good honey flow will always need more room, and our role as their helper is to give them more room.
If you have been following my beekeeping journey, you may have watched me install my very first bee package. If not, read my post and watch my video here: (How to install a bee package) in your hive and “How to Install a Nucleus Colony”
I will be checking and doing some maintenance on my recently installed bee package hive as well. Again, if the queen has gone to town in laying eggs, which she appeared to be doing when I checked the hive in this video, The Honey Bee Life Cycle, they could be very eager for their top box to move up into. If they have 6-7 frames filled with brood, pollen, and honey, I will add the top box.
Watch this video of how I managed my bee swarm control this spring:
This is the time of year to stand under the blooming trees and lilacs and close your eyes and listen. Your bees are hard at work.
I hope this video has helped you and I would love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment below! What did you like most from this video? What did you learn? What do you do differently?
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Thank you so much for watching. I look forward to continuing this journey together in the next video.
PS I would love to hear what your biggest aha and takeaway was, and what was most valuable to you. Please leave me your comment below.
Thank you in advance.
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