Primed to Swarm

This hive told me today that they’re ready to swarm. The population is high, the brood nest is full, and the weather is ideal.

The bees look like that all the way to the bottom. When the foragers out gathering pollen and nectar return for the night, it’ll be chock-a-block full.

The outer bees on this frame are curing nectar (you might see the glint of it in the cells), the tan cells are larvae turning into bees, and under that are larvae that haven’t been capped yet.

There were many queen cups scattered through the hive, but classically this queen cup at the bottom of the frame is “charged” — there’s a new queen on the way. This location says it’s a swarm queen.

This was one of my first trial hives that yielded no eggs in queen cups. I found the queen, and returned her to the queen cage with the same frame configuration — a queen bar with just queen cups available. I also pulled the top box and made a split, taking that beautiful swarm cell with it for a new hive for the apiary.

Northeast SARE LogoThis material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, through the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program under subaward number FNE24-102. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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