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Swarm Prevention and Control




Division of Plant Industry – Apiculture

8995 East Main Street 

Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068-3399




When honey bees swarm it is a natural process where the colonies divide. In essence, it is nature’s way of trying to increase bee colony populations. Beekeepers can not stop all swarming. However, swarm prevention should be incorporated info a beekeeper’s management program, if he/she is interested in obtaining a good honey crop.

The following are some things that can be done to reduce swarming.

  1. Colonies should be requeened every 2 to 3 years. This can be done in the spring, fall, after a honey flow or as conditions dictate.
  2. Clipping the wings on a new queen is another attempt to prevent swarming. This procedure slows down swarming, but may resutt in the colony swarming anyway with a virgin queen.
  3. Reversing the hive bodies in the spring results in having an empty hive body being placed above the brood chamber, thus providing more room for queen laying, pollen and honey storage. This procedure may be done several times in the spring.
  4. Colonies can be split. This entails dividing the colony population in half to make up 2 hives. This is an effective method in swarm control.
  5. Cutting queen cells is a method many beekeepers use. However, the bees usually win out. Once the queen cells are eliminated the bees will produce more queen celIs.


Prepared by: Gordon Rudloff
State Apiarist
Ohio Department of Agriculture