Swarm Control - Wilson's System

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Queen Bee
Aug 24, 2009
Reaction score
Wiltshire, Somerset, S Glos & S Oxfordshire
Hive Type
As I do I often get to to pre-swarm season thinking about a number of methods and am always intrigued to try something new.

It would be good to know if anyone has tried/uses this system.

As far as I can understand, it is good in that all the flying bees remain on site, you get 2 new queens as well as the old one as an insurance policy, 2 nucs and honey too, and the added bonus you don't need to find the old queen ...

Commence once Drones are present and flying.

1. In a colony that hasn't got queen cells, take 2 frames of sealed food, 2 unsealed larvae and 2 with emerging brood (6 total) with bees brushed off and place in a new brood chamber. Put new combs - foundation or drawn comb in the old colony, place a queen excluder above and then the new box with the 6 combs. leave for 2 hours.

2. After 2 hours, reverse the brood boxes - set the new box on the floor, then a screen board with 2 side entrances left open and the original colony on top (with the queen in, obviously!). Super the lower box if required.

3. Flying bees enter the normal entrance and queen cells will be started in the bottom box.

4. 10-12 days later, swap the brood boxes once more, adding excluder and supers then screen baord with entrances open, then the bottom box with the queen cells in it.

5. Divide this new top box with a full division board, ensuring queen cells both sides. There is no need to select a cell.

6. Virgin queens will hatch, and mate and start laying in the nucs in due course.

The outcome now is a main colony below with a queen that hasn't stopped laying, an unrestricted brood nest due to the 6 frames being removed at step 1, no loss of flying bees as they all return to the main entrance in step 2. and plenty of honey as the fkying bees have remained on site, and 2 x 5 frame nucs with new mated queens in to expand the apiary/sell/unite at the end of the season.

Time wise - end of April/early May or at least once 4 frames are covered with larvae/brood with some spare.

I admit I have made the process simple, and probably a bit too glossed over some detail for beginners, but it sounds a good one to me.


Last edited:
The problem is all these systems are beguiling.

They all have issues. Divided nucs is it for me for this one. *shudder*

So the original colony is closed off for 10 - 12 days and can't get out?
I have never had success with divided nucs.

I have found that one queen will be more interesting than the other/s and I end up with an expensive queen.

I far prefer mini nucs as the cost of failure is cheap and so is the cost of success.

other beeks in my BKA say i always over complicate things, but that's far too complcated

All i do is take my tool box cum Nuc box, take out the tesco carrier bag of tools and put some brood and stores in the Nuc, shake a few bees ,,,then take it home (4 miles) with my carrier bag of tools, i try to get the queen in there but sometimes i dont

then take it back the next weekend or the one after...done
Last edited:
nice and simple, MM. I like it !

I take it you don't take it back to Tesco >? LOL


it says something about me, in that its not a tesco carrier bag but a tesco plastic wine carrier bag...six little pockets for bits...and i use it to collect my christmas wine as well...the bees dont mind they are asleap
I would not like the idea of the scrub queen possibility - no, the high probability - and so separating the brood boxes, with another box between, and waiting for cells under the supercedure, rather than emergency, impulse seems the far better choice every time.

Regards, RAB
Surely it is far better to take the situation by the scruff of the neck and produce proper managed cells than faffing about with half measures.

It's far more satisfying for a start.

If the block to doing it is lack of bees then suggest starting a Queen Rearing group at your local association. Then you pool the bees and get the chance of better ma

Latest posts