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News from the Hive: Tis the Season… Swarm Season! What causes Honey Bee Swarms?

What Causes Honey Bees to Swarm?

When warm weather and plentiful supplies of flowers and pollen such as our citrus flower blooms in Florida stimulate the queen to lay more eggs. The resulting large numbers of young bees causes overcrowding in the hive, impeding both the queen’s desire to lay eggs and the worker bees’ ability to add more nectar and pollen. Due to these circumstances the colony will start to raise a princess to prepare to swarm. At the right time the queen and 1/2 of bees will leave the colony (swarm) leaving the remaining colony for the princess to reign. The queen and about half the colony will swirl from their hive and group together in a holding pattern on a tree branch, mailbox or even a car. The bees form a tight cluster around the queen while scout bees go out looking for a hollow space in which to make their new home. Bees will not “chew” a space into a tree or structure to make a new home. The scout bee may take a few hours or up to two days for a new home to be chosen.

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