We've already heard about some swarming, another sign the flow is on. In a swarm, the old queen leaves the hive with up to half of the workers to start a new hive elsewhere. A new queen will then hatch out in the original hive and the remaining bees will begin collecting and storing honey. The good news is that a swarm means you have a strong, healthy hive. It's their way of reproducing themselves. The bad news is, you just lost a bunch of bees! But still, it's a sight to behold!
As a beekeeper you try to prevent swarming so that you will have more little honey collectors in your hive. One way to do this is to create an "artificial swarm," which is what I described in a previous post about making nucleus hives. You may remember, I created eight new hives by taking honey, pollen, bees, eggs and larvae from eight of my stronger hives. In five of these, the bees did make their own queens and this week I moved these into regular sized hive bodies. The bees from the three hives that did not make a new queen were added to the hives that did. These new hives will use this year's nectar flow to become established hives and I will collect honey from them next year.
Each year, my strongest, best honey-producing hives seem to be those I created in the previous year. I will be checking all the hives weekly throughout the honey flow to make sure they have room to grow and to store all that golden goodness!