Swarm Removal

Swarm Removal

If you have a swarm of honeybees on your property Oxford Honey and Supplies can remove it for you. Please call us for help in identifying whether what you have is a swarm of bees or wasps. You can also have a look at this Wikipedia website. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Characteristics_of_common_wasps_and_bees

What is a swarm?

Swarming is part of the natural process of forming new bee colonies, resulting in the larger swarm and the smaller remaining colony. It occurs when a queen bee abandons a current nest or hive for a new colony. A majority of the worker bees accompany the queen, protecting her and scouting ahead for a new location. A swarm typically only stays in one location for a few days before it moves on to a more permanent location. Swarming bees are not usually aggressive, and are unlikely to sting. Swarms are most common in spring.

How are swarms removed?

Oxford Honey and Supplies used one of two swarm removal methods, depending on the accessibility of the swarm. Typically, a newly formed swarm can be captured by applying a sugar solution to the bees and shaking them off into a box. If a swarm cannot be easily dislodged from its perch, a skep (specialized basket) can be placed over it and smoke then used to herd the swarm into the skep. Whichever method is employed, the members of a swarm can almost always be collected alive and extermination of the swarm is rarely necessary.

As a beekeeper, why should I be concerned with swarming?

Your bees will naturally work towards creating new bee colonies. If you leave a hive unattended, and do not implement strategies to prevent swarming, you will lose your queen bee and a large part of your active hive. When the queen leaves the hive looking for a new location a large portion of the strongest worker bees go with her. Not only have you lost your best producing bees, the remaining bees will be busy tending to any eggs/brood left by the old queen in order to rebuild the hive population, and honey production will be quite limited for the remainder of the year.

How do I prevent my bees from swarming?

There are a few strategies you can use to reduce the loss of bees to swarming. The primary strategies include checkerboarding (rearranging of frames within a brood nest), clipping the wings of queens, and keeping the brood nest open. Gives us a call or come in to the store to learn more about each of these options and which may be best for your hives.