Main menu


Another vision of swarming

 Swarming is often the beekeeper's fear. Let's explore together why bees swarm and how to prevent it.

Often, the beekeeper curses when one of his hives swarms. Swarming is synonymous with production stoppage, additional work to recover the swarm, search for the swarming colony, deletion of cells, trouble with neighbors...

But the beekeeper is not the center of beekeeping. Let's look at this with hindsight.

Swarming, a mode of reproduction

For the bee, swarming is the only way of multiplication. After swarming, you have two colonies: the first which has swarmed with a laying queen but which must find a new home, build frames, replenish the brood and stock up for the winter.

The one that remained in the hive has the reserves, the brood but has a queen in the making who still has to go to be fertilized and resume laying.

From a global point of view, after swarming you have an extra colony, at least if everything goes well.

Sometimes, especially if the beekeeper does not intervene, there is a secondary or even tertiary swarm. This second swarming is obviously more problematic, on the one hand because the accompanying queen is not fertilized and on the other hand because the number of bees in the swarm is lower.

Swarming, a consequence of the past

Let's go back a few centuries. Long before the mobile frame hive was invented and perfected.

At the time, beekeepers who worked with straw hives had to smother the colonies to access and collect the honey. they therefore had an interest in finding colonies that had swarmed and that they were recovering. Without knowing it, they thus privileged, selected, one would say today, the swarming bees. Hunting swarms was important to constantly renew the apiary.

At that time, there were no varroa mites or pesticides and there was no talk of a decrease in diversity. The wild colonies could resist without treatment and multiply cheerfully by swarming.

We see directly that what is considered a disadvantage today was a welcome feature at a time when the practice of beekeeping was totally different from that of today.

And today what to do?

Today our productiviste constraints mean that spin-offs are considered a disaster. Prevention has become a necessity to which most beekeepers sacrifice.
And finally here is the article on capturing a swarm.
You are now in the first article