When a colony swarms, up to 60% of the colony leaves with the old Queen, beekeepers do their best to control swarming as not only do we lose over half our bees, but good Queens can be lost, the honey harvest is diminished and swarms can be a nuisance and alarming for the public.
Hive 2 in our apiary have been trying to make swarm preparations for a couple of weeks now...! The children have been great at spotting the signs and keeping a close eye out for any Queen Cells. Queen Cells are made by the workers when they are producing a new Queen for the colony. The Bee Team have now carried out 2 artificial swarms, 1 by moving the old Queen into a different hive, and another by moving a Queen cell into a nucleus hive with some nurse bees who will care for it.
Today we checked the 1st artificial swarm to see if the cell had been sealed, usually done on day 8, it was and the workers were making the finishing touches to the cell! We will leave these two new Queens to emerge, go on a mating flight and come back to their new colonies. Fingers crossed we will now have two more colonies for the bee team to look after and inspect.