[Two Queen Swarm]

 

Beehive Removal from Maleny, Sunshine Coast

Two Queens One Swarm. It’s almost impossible to prevent some beehives swarming such is the determination for colonies to multiply at this time of the year. It’s not uncommon to come across more than one queen in an European honey bee swarm.

It’s not the way it is supposed to happen, but nature doesn’t always follow the order of things. When a hive decides to reproduce, the colony builds a new queen-cell (in most cases they build several) where a new queen is raised. After the first queen-cell is capped the old queen will leave the hive with about half the population; this is the primary swarm.

The order of things should see the first virgin queen to emerge go around the hive finding all of the unhatched queens and stinging them to death, leaving just one new queen in the hive. However, this doesn’t always happen as multiple queens can emerge almost simultaneously or they can emerge on opposite sides of the hive and thus result in virgin queens having to fight to the death, or leaving the hive as a secondary or tertiary swarm, or as in this case, more than one queen in the swarm.

The second queen I found in this swarm didn’t really want to go into the queen-clip and went on a short flight before I eventually was able to cage her. Now the questions is what to do with a two-queen hive?

Looking for some great instructional videos on general beekeeping including swarm control? visit the University of Guelph Honey Bee Research Centre's online beekeeping video series.