As I get used to reading the frames with this all-medium beekeeping I’ve taken on (it’s slightly different), I’m playing it safe in regards to swarm signs. We’ve also had an unusually warm summer so far. Most of my colonies are bursting at the seams. I’ve run out of frames and boxes to keep them contained. So any sign of backfilling and I’m giving the queen more room to lay.

Backfilling is when so much nectar is coming in that the bees run out of space to store it, so they end up storing it in the brood nest where the queen normally lays her eggs. When the queen runs out of space to lay like this, she becomes “honeybound.” And when that happens, the colony usually swarms.

That’s something I try to avoid as much as possible, especially since I live on a street packed with little kids, and one of those little kids is terrified of flying insects. I don’t want a swarm to land on her swing set and traumatise her for life.

Video Table of Contents

00:00 — A foundationless frame added 10 days earlier.

00:40 — Backfilled brood nest? Nectar in every empty cell of the brood frame.

01:25 — Queen cups, not swarm cells… yet.

01:45 — Waxless plastic foundation the bees won’t touch.

02:20 — Problems with a homemade super.

03:20 — Summary of what I did.

04:10 — Summer solstice triggers honey hording.

04:40 — Trashing homemade super.

05:00 — Review of colony condition.