With the current unpredictable weather, many colonies may be preparing to swarm. It is really important to check your hives regularly and carry out swarm controls!
Val Vivian-Griffiths has written a very clear and useful explanation of swarm control as practised at our Apiary, which you can read here: Swarming by Val V-G
Also Clive de Bruyn in his book ‘Practical Beekeeping‘ offers these suggestions to deter bees from swarming:
– Remove some bees and brood to make a nucleus
– Remove some brood to another colony
– Exchange a populous colony with swarm cells with a weaker colony in the apiary
– Give the colony another super with empty drawn comb and foundation (place this immediately on top of the queen excluder)
– Remove the supers and bees. Unite these to a weak colony with newspaper (be sure to give the colony some empty supers to replace those taken away)
For advice on dealing with queen cells, take a look at this excellent booklet made available by the Welsh Beekeeping Assocation: There are queen cells in my hive – what should I do?