Understanding Swarms – July 19

Charlie Vanden Heuvel talks about Swarming

Charlie Vanden Heuvel talks about what beekeepers need to know about swarms

Date: July 19, 2017

Time: 6:15-8:30

This is the regularly-scheduled monthly meeting of the Columbia Gorge Beekeepers Association. The meeting is free of charge, and open to anyone interested in learning about bees and beekeeping. Mark your calendar!


Rockford Grange, Hood River, Oregon

Understanding Swarms – What Every Beekeeper Should Know

Charlie Vanden Heuvel will discuss why bees swarm, the telltale signs of when a hive will swarm, and what you can do about it (or not).

Swarming is a natural process by which a new honey bee colony is formed. It happens when the queen leaves her previous colony with a large group of worker bees, and ultimately finds a new place to call home.  The previous colony, meanwhile, creates a new queen, and if successful, regenerates itself. Thus, one colony is split into two.

Beekeepers can help themselves and bees by understanding swarms and what they can do to encourage or prevent them.

One key question for beekeepers is, do you want your hives to swarm or not?  If you’re a commercial beekeeper, most likely the answer to the question is no. On the contrary, you want to prevent your hives from swarming because a swarm will disrupt the ability of the hive to both produce honey and perform pollination services.

If you’re a hobby beekeeper, the answer could be very different. Maybe you’re interested in letting the bees simply “do their thing,” in which case, you would have no problem if the bees swarmed…and, in fact, you might prefer that they did.

Charlie will talk about all of this, and more, in his remarks about understanding swarms.

He’ll discuss what types of conditions trigger a swarm, how to tell if one is going to happen, and what you can do about it. He’ll also discuss how to capture a swarm and steps you can take to ensure a swarm survives.

“Understanding Swarms” is a topic of discussion you won’t want to miss.

About Charlie Vanden Heuvel

Charlie Vanden Heuvel, like many arriving at a ripe old age, set foot back to a childhood experience of beekeeping. Most memorable of those times was experiencing the pollination of the Bougainvillea vines which were inside the house. The bees would hang on the outside of the screen door awaiting some human to open it for them. Once they had their fill of nectar and pollen they would again return to the inside of the screen door to once again wait for someone to allow them out. Charlie is now at the Journey Level of the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program avidly studying, mentoring, and learning.

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