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Swarming

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 !

Do's

  • 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)

Don'ts

  • 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 can come and collect swarms. This service costs $150 for one hour + $50 per additional hour. If you are more than 10km away from our office, travel costs will be added ($0.75/km).

Otherwise, contact your city services or a beekeeper near you.

 

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