During this period, the hives are swarming, a natural part of the development and annual life cycle of bees.
The old queen bee leaves the hive together with a group of workers in search of another home. Its place will be taken by a new queen bee that will give new life to the hive.
There are many factors and mechanisms that regulate this phenomenon, some still not completely clear, but both the age of the queen and the space available inside the hive play an important role, which, if too limited, prevents the further development of the family.
It is a real migration, a very exciting spectacle to watch.
In preparation for this moment, the worker bees reduce the amount of food for the old queen bee, in this way it slims down and stops laying eggs. Reducing its volume will also make it easier to leave the hive.
The worker bees, together with the queen, come out of the hive with a certain frenzy and take shelter on a branch, waiting for the explorers to find a definitive shelter where to create the new nest.
The queen takes with her more than 70% of the bees, effectively “emptying” the hive. It is therefore clear how this phenomenon represents a problem for the beekeepers!
The experienced beekeeper is able to recognize in advance when the bees are preparing for swarming. In fact, what is called swarming fever occurs; a great ferment in the hive and a constant movement of exploratory bees visiting the outside in search of a refuge where to create the new nest.
The beekeeper must therefore be able to manage this phenomenon: the best technique is to carry out a controlled artificial swarming, so as to create a new hive and consequently increase honey production, preparing an empty hive nearby so that the bees can swarm directly inside it.
In case the swarm takes place anyway, the beekeeper can try to recover the bees with specific equipment.
Swarming is a totally natural phenomenon that should not frighten us; bees are particularly docile during this period and the risk of being stung is really very low.
However, if their presence is a cause of problems, you absolutely must not kill them (they are a protected species) or try to drive them away with “do it yourself” methods; you must contact a beekeeper who will be able to help you without putting them in danger.