Friends of the Bees
Natural Beekeeping International Forum
low-cost, low-impact, balanced beekeeping for everyone

 Forum FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileYour Profile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 


Please use the Facebook group UK TOP BAR BEEKEEPERS for information and discussion of top bar beekeeping.

Please support Friends of the Bees

Reasons for swarming apart from overcrowding/honey bound

Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Beginners start here
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
House Bee

Joined: 01 Jul 2019
Posts: 15
Location: Mid Wales

PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reasons for swarming apart from overcrowding/honey bound Reply with quote

So this conventional beekeeper guy I know split 3 of his 4 hives (Nationals) in May or June, but he didn't have time to split the last of them so he put a second brood box on it in the hope they'd not swarm. Well, that hive has thrown off swarm after swarm after swarm since, and I had a look in there with him the other day and there were 3-4 swarm cells with larva in so they're still trying to swarm. The thing is, the only reason I know for bees swarming is that the queen has nowhere to lay: either there's no space for brood, or there's a honey barrier, but neither of those things seemed to be happening. If anything the hive looked empty: the brood nest was only in the top brood box and it was pretty small too, and they had empty frames in the supers they weren't doing anything with. I know this isn't a natural beekeeping scenario but I'm really curious, I want to know what's happening!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is hard to comment on that particular case without seeing it but there is also a primitive urge to reproduce and that has a genetic element in that some bees will be more predisposed to swarming than others. Also, bees often do not recognise the space below their brood nest as an opportunity to expand unless it is an open space ie devoid of frames or you move a frame or two with brood on it into the bottom box, to encourage them to expand into it, so overcrowding can still be a factor after a box has been nadired like that..... I think it is sometimes referred to as false floor syndrome where the bees view the top bars of the frames in the box below as the floor of their cavity.

The colony will of course now be severely depleted if it has swarmed multiple times and depending upon when those swarms emerged.... I would assume June and maybe early July..... it is possible that the queen cells you are currently seeing are supercedure rather than swarm cells in a bid to replace a poor virgin queen that they were left with after swarming.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Beginners start here All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast

Now available from

Now available from

Now available from

4th Edition paperback now available from

See beekeeping books for details and links to ebook versions.
site map
php. BB © 2001, 2005 php. BB Group

View topic - Reasons for swarming apart from overcrowding/honey bound - Natural Beekeeping Network Forum