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Content archived on 2023-04-17

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In the course of our scientific work and acoustic monitoring of bee colonies using our Apivox Smart Monitor device, we came to an understanding of the changes that occur in the bee nest in pre-swarming period ...

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment
Food and Natural Resources icon Food and Natural Resources
Fundamental Research icon Fundamental Research

The fact is that at the beginning of the process of preparing for the swarming, the task of the family and the queen is to build up the maximum possible strength of the family before the swarm leaves. Then, dividing in two, the family will remain large enough to survive and collect honey for the wintering. To do this, the queen begins to fill all the cells in the hive suitable for this with brood ... But the nest is not the whole hive, and the bees do the following - They start powerful heating of the ENTIRE hive! The whole hive turns into a nest! The earliest queen cells appear on the periphery of the nest - on the second frames after the extreme honey frames ... It was at this moment when a specific acoustic signal appears in the hive, which we use as a sign of an impending swarming, which Woods considered to be a signal of young bees, and Prof. Eskov mistakenly considered to be a signal of passive bees .... A signal that accompanies heating of the hive and a signal that accompanies heating and aeration of open brood. These signals become so powerful that they dominate in the hive even in the daytime, suppressing the signals associated with the work of bees on honey harvest! Expanding the nest with new honeycombs or foundation or setting up additional body-boxes is an old method of suppressing the swarming state of the bees ... What is the reason for the effect of this method on bees preparing for swarming? The reason is that we destroy the thermal balance of the bee's nest or of the entire hive which has become the new, big nest. As we know, correct temperatures are the main factor for the process of bees rearing. If the bees are not able to eliminate the consequences of our actions, and to maintain the heat balance necessary for normal pre-swarming processes, that is, for setting drone and bee brood on all frames of the hive and setting up swarming queen cells at the periphery of the nest, then, apparently, they postpone swarming for an indefinite period! And they stop trying to heat the enlarged hive. In this case, the family returns to its normal life cycle, not associated with swarming ...