Swarming is the process by which a new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees. In the prime swarm, about 60% of the worker bees leave the original hive location with the old queen. This swarm can contain thousands to tens of thousands of bees. Swarming is mainly a May - June phenomenon, but swarms can happen throughout the producing season. Secondary after swarms may also happen but are usually smaller and are accompanied by one or more virgin queens.

Swarming is the natural means of reproduction of honey bee colonies. In the process of swarming the original single colony reproduces to two and sometimes more colonies. Swarms settle 20–30 m away from the hive for a few days and will then depart for a new nest site after getting information from scout bees. Scout bees search for suitable cavities in which to construct the swarm’s home. Successful scouts will then come back and report the location of suitable nesting sites to the other bees.


Go to top