Bee Control: Simple swarm control

A simple method of swarm control & queen rearing

This is yet another variation on the artificial swarming technique; it has the advantage over other methods of requiring no attention after the initial manipulation and is therefore suitable for an out apiary, or for a beekeeper who wishes to take a prolonged holiday during the swarming season. It also provides an additional young queen that heads a new colony.

I have used this method for a number of years with moderate success, however it cannot be readily used with double-walled hives.

Additional equipment

A simple screen board with a single entrance; a Snelgrove board will do.

An empty brood box, (if colony is not worked on a double brood box.) This to be filled with frames of foundation or drawn comb.


It is suggested that this be carried out during a good nectar flow in late April.

Remove brood box or boxes (A) to an improvised stand a few yards distant.

Place an empty brood box (B) on original stand; if working a double brood box, leave empty; otherwise fill with foundation / drawn comb, omitting centre three combs. Place excluder over and supers over this; temporarily cover with crown board or roof.

Leave for approximately twenty minutes. Field bees will leave (A) and fly to (B) on original stand.

Find queen in box or boxes (A) and place her and comb on which she is found into centre of (B) together with two combs of sealed and / or emerging brood on either side. If necessary make up any void with broodless combs.

The artificially swarmed colony now consists of; brood box (B) with queen and some emerging brood, queen excluder and supers over. Place box (A) containing queenless brood over this, complete with crown board and roof. Nurse bees will now pass up through supers to join brood.

On the following day

Place screen board under (A), i.e. over supers, with an open upper entrance facing to the rear of the hive.

A feeder should be given to (A) since no foraging bees will be present for several days.

Within a prescribed period of time a new queen will be raised and mated from (A). No further manipulations are required, and no casts should be thrown after emergence of new queen.

This procedure may be carried out even if queen cells are present, unsealed ones of course !

If unable to find queen at iii), shake all bees* from combs onto an improvised alighting board at entrance to (B); the queen excluder should retain the queen and prevent her running up to join her brood.

(* It is not recommended that you shake bees if you have neighbours in close proximity to your hives.)

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