Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Artificial Swarm 1/5/12

After phoning Martin we arranged to meet early the next morning to split the hive creating a second colony and hopefully avoiding a swarm. I went home and made up 12 brood frames and set off early the next morning. We wouldn't normally open the hive first thing and in the rain but we had no choice. Armed with an umbrella Martin Denn Bruce and I set about preparing the new hive. We swapped the brood boxes so the new hive occupied the original hive position and made ready the new frames. The hives are swapped to fool the flying bees into thinking that they had already swarmed when they return to the original spot and find a different home.

We then opened up the hive. Luckily the rain had stopped and the bees were surprisingly calm (at first!). We looked through the hive to find the queen to ensure she was in to the new hive position but after 3 checks we couldn't find her although we were certain she was there. There was no option but to move all the frames with queen cells on them into the new hive (now in the old hive position, complicated isn't it!) we shook the bees off so we could, as far as possible ensure she was not being carried to the hive with the queen cells. While checking we discovered a fifth queen cell and another well developed play cup with royal jelly in it, a certain sign it was also on its way too. We filled both hive spaces with the newly made up frames put some feed on the queen cell hive and closed up.

In a weeks time well swap the old hive to the other side of the new colony this is so that when the newly flying bees from the old hive return from foraging they find their hive gone and will go to the new hive in the original position and join the new colony
The new colony cannot be opened for 4-5 weeks this is to allow the queens to emerge. The first queen should find and destroy the remaining queen cells. At some point during the next week or so she will emerge on her mating flight to be fertilised by several drones and return and start laying. This may take around 3 weeks although it has been known to take much longer. Hopefully everything went to plan, Ill keep you posted

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