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There is no one thing that a person can do that will eliminate swarming. Swarming is a natural thing for the bees. I dont think anyone truly desires for their bees to swarm unless they enjoy losing half or more of them.
A few things that can help you manage your bees would be:

1. Provide adequate brood space for the queen to lay. Congestion in the brood chambers will encourage swarming. You may need to reverse your brood chambers if this occurs.

2. Maintain a young queen in your hives. By requeening as often as every year, you can reduce the propensity towards swarming. A young queen helps to hold the colony together through her pheremone output.
Inspection in and of itself does not lend to swarm reduction. It will provide information on brood chamber congestion and visible swarm signs (swarm cells.)
Inspect only as often as needed as you can also induce stress into a colony by over inspecting. Curiosity is not always a good thing.
If swarm cells are detected their are ways to keep the bees from swarming, but it is best if you properly manage them.
I am still working on this as I had several that tried to swarm last year.

best regards,

Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
54,252 Posts
Things to do to discourage swarming that don't require inspections:

Slatted rack. Increases space for the bees to cluster at night and provides ventilation.

Good ventilation. Screened Bottom Boards, vent boxes on top etc.

Lots of empty supers. Adding a number of empty supers (depending on colony strength) at the begining of the honey flow so they have room to spread out the nectar to evaporate.

Unlimited brood nest. More brood boxes and no excluder mean the queen can find somewhere to expand the brood nest.

After that there are things that DO require inspection you can do such as free up a honey bound brood nest.

9,340 Posts
>>without examining colonies

Up here we have very predictable and very strong honey flows, which lead right into eachother Starting from mid June right to September. Our swarming seasons is May till end of June. The secrete is to get your colonies split or reduced down first thing in the spring to a point where they will build into a massive colony just as the fields start to flower. The bees eurge to swarm is forgoten becasue foraging becomes their main objective.
You still have to work your colonies in the spring, there is no avoiding this manipulation, and usually followed by an equilization round. In my operation, it is the most intense brood/bee work of the year. But every area is different. So find out your Honey Flow period and work from there..
I feel unlumited brood space causes more problems than solutions. I raise my bees in two brood chambers with an excluder to the honeysuper. I feel it is lots of room for the queen to raise a productive colony. Any more space for the queen I feel is waste of resources. There are alot of beekeepers up here that use one brood chamber to produce their crops, ~200lbs of honey/hive most years.


[This message has been edited by Ian (edited November 26, 2003).]
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