Starting mid-May begins in Montreal what is called the swarming fever. This means that within beehives, bees (at least half of them) are preparing a great departure. They are going to found a new colony with a queen. But don't panic, there are several options to prevent the migration of a swarm or, if it has already spread, to dislodge it safely before the colony comes in to settle.

Reasons for swarming

Several factors can lead to the formation of a swarm. First of all, remember that this is a natural process that allows bees to disperse and perpetuate themselves. It is their natural mode of reproduction. Then, elements such as genetics (high propensity for swarming), an elderly queen, a populous hive, abundant and prolonged harvests (etc.) can favor swarming.

Which are the swarming signs ?

  • Pheromone is not well distributed because of the large number of individuals
  • The queen, less well nourished, reduces her laying and the size of her abdomen
  • The workers gorge themselves (30 mg)

How to prevent swarming ?

  • From mid-May, visit your hive every 10 days maximum!
  • Watch at the bottom of frames if there is a production of royal cells
  • Destroy royal cells if they contain eggs or royal jelly to control the risk of swarming
  • Make one or more divisions of the hive
  • Move all brood and bees (except the queen) in a 4th and 5th boxes
  • Replace the queen

Do you have a swarm at home?

Do not panic, several solutions are available to you !


  • Contact your city services
  • Contact a beekeeper to pick up the swarm
  • Contact Miel Montreal (paid service - see details at the top right of this page)


  • Contact an exterminator (they do not have the legal right to kill a colony of bees)
  • Hit the swarm to dislodge it (dangerous behavior)

Swarm Alert!

Miel Montreal is unfortunately no longer capable of providing the service of collecting swarms, due to lack of financing.
You can still contact the mayor 's office or a beekeeper of your area.


Crédit Photo : Manoushka Larouche, Samuel Cogrenne, Alexandre Gillez.