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Swarm Prevention

A bit of planning helps

"Swarm Prevention" is the steps taken by the beekeeper to reduce the chances of swarming before the visual signs are seen. "Swarm Control" is the action taken after the visible signs of the colony intending to swarm are seen. Some beekeepers think they mean the same thing, but they don't.

I think swarm prevention is misleading and "Swarm Reduction" might be a more accurate term.

In my view swarm prevention should be a major part of all management methods and I include some below:-

The Bees.

The above points are relevant to the types of bees that are kept. The good beekeeper will cull any colonies that show strong tendencies to swarm. In my opinion Bee Improvement should be a major part of all beekeeping management systems and selecting for lower swarming tentencies could be one characteristic.

Colony Management.

If you attend to the details above you have done as much as you can to reduce swarming. Regular inspections will still be needed and as soon as eggs appear in queen cells you will need to use some method of swarm control.

With the current queen problems it has become common for a colony to swarm on supersedure cells and there is no chance that swarm prevention will affect that. It is also common for colonies to swarm on emergency cells.

Roger Patterson.