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Splitting the colony about to swarm

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House Bee

Joined: 10 Sep 2011
Posts: 15
Location: UK, London, Mill Hill

PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:21 am    Post subject: Splitting the colony about to swarm Reply with quote

I have been mulling over the best way to split the colony of No1 hive. According to Phils book he takes the queen and accompanying brood, plus some combs with honey and nectar, either side of the queen and brood top bars and placed them at the other end of the top bar hive, separated by the follower board from the rest of the colony. The capped queen cells and remaining top bars with the colony are left in the original position. The hive is then turned through 180 degrees so the foragers return to what they thought was the original entrance, but is in fact the entrance at the far end of the hive, at the rear of the hive.
What would happen if, as an alternative method, the reverse was done and the remaining top bars from the original colony with the capped queen cells were removed and put in another top bar hive and moved to a different position? The queen and brood top bars and nectar and honey top bars would be left where they were originally, but in new order. The foragers would return to the entrance they always knew. Would this work? Urgent answer required as I think the colony will swarm any day now!
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
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Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Yes it should work the way you are suggesting but important not to leave any queen cells and just a small amount of capped brood so that the queen will have comb to lay into as soon as it hatches. If you have any empty worker brood comb then giving the queen that may help. Unfortunately if they are that close to swarming, they will have slimmed the queen down ready for flight and they may swarm regardless as plans are too far advanced.

You might be better to find the queen and then do a shook swarm into the new hive but you would still have to split the remaining hive in a few days time as they would throw cast swarms in approx. 10 days or so (assuming they are on the point of swarming now.... ie first queen cell capped) if you leave all the flying bees and brood in the original hive with all the queen cells.

Good luck whatever you decide, but be prepared to keep a close eye on them over the next few days and have swarm catching gear to hand.


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