Honeybee Swarm Time

Each year, as the spring moves closer to summer, healthy honeybee hives begin the process of propagating through casting swarms. A swarm is a natural method for honeybees to spread their genetics. The old queen is instructed by the worker bees to not lay any further eggs, as she moves through the hive, the workers shake her legs to prevent her from laying every 10 seconds. This process will force the queen to lose up to 25% of her body weight which allows her to fly once again, this time to move to a new hive.

When the hive is ready to swarm, up to 60% of the workers and the queen will leave the current hive. The swarm will immediately collect somewhere nearby, typically in a tree or a bush, while the scouts carry on looking for a new suitable location to move the queen and all of the workers who swarmed. Back at the hive, just before the previous queen and workers left, they laid a handful of new queen cells. One of those queen cells will emerge first and will eliminate the queens that have yet to emerge, making her the new queen of the hive.

As soon as the scouts find a suitable location to move the swarm to, they will collectively leave their temporary shelter for their final home. Once in place, the workers will quickly move to build comb to make room for eggs and honey in their new hive.

If you encounter a Honeybee swarm, please do not spray it.

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