Macro shot of bees swarming on a honeycomb
Photo by Tatomm on iStock

What Produces Honey Bee Swarming?

You will see honey bees swarming in spring. Swarming is when thousands of bees fly together with the queen bee to mate and find a new home. The bee hive has a lot of organization. Each group of bees has their work cut out. There are worker bees who build the beehive, and there are bees who search for new locations and sources of nectar.


Then there are bees which serve the queen bee and lay eggs in the hive cells. The hive is divided into cells for honey and larvae. The queen bee is seen going about the hive depositing eggs into the cells. The worker bees then cover the cells with wax to protect the larvae. It is amazing how the worker bee nurtures the young determines the sex of the larvae. Some larvae will become worker bees while others will become females.

The queen bee searches for and kills the females. One queen bee can be found in a hive. The worker bees will try to save the females, as they must reproduce. These worker bees will do everything they can to stop the queen bee from killing all the females. Every spring, one of two things will occur.

Did you know?

Either the workers will drive the queen bee and thousands of her workers away, or the queen with her workers will drive thousands of workers away with her queen bee. Swarming is the term for a group of bees flying in large numbers. They are trying to mate with the virgin bee queen and then search for a suitable place to build their hive. The queen bee, when they swarm, flies high, and a group called drones tries to catch up to her.

Meanwhile, workers fly in pursuit. The queen bee’s drone that catches up to her first mate is the drone that dies. After mating, the queen will retreat to safety and be surrounded by thousands upon thousands of workers who protect her. If you see a hive in a tree, it is actually hundreds and thousands of worker bees protecting the queen from any attack. The scouts are out searching for a suitable location to build their hive. They are extremely hungry and have no honey to sustain themselves at this point.