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Splitting a swarm prep hive

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  • Splitting a swarm prep hive

    One of the things I like to do when I find a hive that has begun swarm prep (basically a quantity of swarm cells have been constructed, or at least begun, with open larva, or capped) is to split the hive "to the winds." In other words, I split the hive up for the most part so that there each frame with queen cells starts a new nuc. I use my 3x3 queen castles to do this so that each 3 frame nuc gets one frame of brood with queen cell, then two more frames, either of brood or stores, preferably one of each.

    In this way, not only do I "catch the swarm" (though I may have already missed it) but the queen cells don't go to waste when the early queen kills all the rest. It's a very quick and easy way to make a small batch of nucs out of one hive. No grafting, no multiple visits. You do need the equipment, and it needs to be hanging around ready to be used. You could also use 5-frame nucs or split box nucs or whatever your preferred equipment is.
    Last edited by Solomon; 01-20-2019, 04:58 PM. Reason: tags
    100% Treatment-Free, 16 years.
    Medford, Oregon, USA

  • #2
    This topic is exactly what I was looking for on this forum.
    I was planning on splitting my hives this way if it came to that next spring.
    For my preferred methode: I have a box in my friends shed that he'll use as an example. It's a 10-frame Zander (deep box) and I want him to copy it but make it so that I can have 3x3 frames in the one box with divider boards in there and holes on opposite sides for mating flights. If one, or more queencells do not hatch and one of the sections is queenless all I have to do is remove the divider board.
    Only question I have about this set-up is how to do the cover of the box. Does one cover for the whole box suffice, or should I go with 3 strips, one for each section? Haven't made my mind up yet, so any input is welcome!
    Waregem - West-Vlaanderen - Belgiƫ (Flemish/Dutch)
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    • #3
      Originally posted by BobTheBuilder View Post
      Does one cover for the whole box suffice, or should I go with 3 strips, one for each section?
      The way mine work, the dividers (5mm luann plywood) extend 3/4" above the top of the box and then I use three individual boards as inner covers, then a telescoping cover sits over top of the whole thing. The inner covers are made from 1x6s, the center one trimmed to fit.
      100% Treatment-Free, 16 years.
      Medford, Oregon, USA

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      • BobTheBuilder
        BobTheBuilder commented
        Editing a comment
        That is a clear answer! Thank you for putting it up, I'll shamelessly steal that!

    • #4
      Solomon, how big is the parent hive when you do this? How many frames of brood and stores are you leaving behind for the mother queen?
      Angela
      Kalispell, Montana Zone 4a
      Second Year Beekeeper

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      • #5
        Originally posted by atollerson View Post
        Solomon, how big is the parent hive when you do this? How many frames of brood and stores are you leaving behind for the mother queen?
        Whatever size they are when they decide to swarm. I usually try to leave at least one frame of brood behind, for the queen, or in case the queen is already gone. In either case, they'll be able to build back.
        100% Treatment-Free, 16 years.
        Medford, Oregon, USA

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