swarm cell

More often than not, the protrusion circled at left is not a welcome site for a beekeeper.  This is a swarm cell, which means a developing queen bee is inside.  While this may sound like a good thing, it is not.  When bees feel crowded in their hive they will develop a second queen, and before she hatches, half of the colony leave in a swarm with the reigning queen, looking for a new and less crowded home.

If you remember from last year, I caught three separate swarms, which are great if you want “freebies” to start a new hive with.  But the last thing in the world you want is half of a colony that you have been caring for to up and disappear in a swarm.

I found multiple swarm cells in our 4 hives, and it appears as if the current queens had already left in a swarm.  The swarm cells should produce a new queen in time, and go on to maintain a healthy colony….I hope.  Outside of this news, there is plenty of activity in all 4 hives as can be seen pictured right.

beehive activity

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