bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Artificial swarm tip

How often have you split a hive to try to create an artificial swarm only to find that you cannot find the queen? There's a good 50% chance of leaving the brood-and-queen-cells split with the old queen -- 100% chance if Murphy has a hand in it.

Bee Craft, the monthly magazine of the British Beekeepers' Association has a great tip this month for such situations:

Move the brood combs to a new brood box leaving all the bees in the original brood box. Then put a queen excluder on top of the old brood box and place the new brood box at the top of the reassembled hive. Then one day later, create a new hive with the new brood box to the side of the old one and carry on with your artificial swarm as normal.

What happens is: the queen (and all the bees) is inevitably left in the old brood box, but when the hive is reassembled the nurse bees make their way to the brood in the new brood box at the top of the hive. The queen can't get through the excluder and so stays in the old brood box.

Nice one! As long as the bees don't attempt to swarm in the 24 hours that the hive remains as one.



Blogger Rufus said...

That is genuinely clever, and simple too. Might just try it this year!

6:45 pm  

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