Swarm Control
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Swarming In Honey Bees Equals Geographical Exploration Of Living Conditions and Forage

The idea that swarming is no just the reproduction of honey bee colonies on a colony by colony basis, but that there is also an element of exploration of forage and suitability of conditions in areas that are adjacent to the swarming colonies original location.

Many years ago (when I was an even less experienced a beekeeper as I have become.) I noticed that some colonies would swarm to such an extent that the parent hive did not survive.

I am of the opinion that bees do nothing inadvertently and I puzzled over what their (nature's) strategy might be.

The conclusion that I came to stemmed from the numbers of swarms that issued and the directions of their escape.

In the cases where swarming occurred to the extent of there was nothing left, there were usually five or six swarms and each seemed to set off in a different direction. (Many swarming occasions were observed by people working close by the hives in question.)

The different directions suggested to me that the bees swarming at the time were aware of the existence of the freshly established swarms that had left hours or days before. And that they did not want to compete with them.

It then became plain to me that the bees were not 'propagating the race', but were exploring the geography. Any swarms finding a good place would thrive whilst those in poorer areas would fail.

The parent site was not important as it would be re-populated by a swarm from one of the daughter colonies at a subsequent time.

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 Written... Early Summer 2000, Revised... Date Unknown, Upgraded... 07 September 2006,
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