NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Splitting a colony so it stays put  (Read 399 times)

PK

  • Joined Mar 2015
  • West Suffolk
    • Notes from a Suffolk Smallholding
Splitting a colony so it stays put
« on: June 06, 2019, 12:05:54 pm »
I am getting mixed advice about how to prevent a split colony returning to the old hive. I want to have yet another go, so do you have an approach that works for you?
Voss Electric Fence

DavidandCollette

  • Joined Dec 2012
Re: Splitting a colony so it stays put
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2019, 08:17:35 pm »
Have a look at the Haynes beekeeping manual. Works for me

Dogwalker

  • Joined Nov 2011
Re: Splitting a colony so it stays put
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2019, 07:06:47 am »
Are you splitting to prevent swarming and / or increase number of colonies.I've found the WBKA's booklets really helpful.
http://www.wbka.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Swarm-Control-Wally-Shaw.pdf

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Splitting a colony so it stays put
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2019, 07:38:49 am »

I'm a newbie (or is that newbee?) with bees. Isn't it just the flying bees that go back to the original hive when you first split unless you move the second hive over 3 miles away?


At our training apiary they say "ask twelve beekeepers for advice and you will get 13 opinions" but I guess that goes for most livestock. I have found the beekeeping community really helpful.

Dogwalker

  • Joined Nov 2011
Re: Splitting a colony so it stays put
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2019, 08:25:11 am »
Usually yes, but..I had a colony swarm three times out of the hive I'd put them in, each time deeper into a nearby hawthorn hedge.  In the end I gave up and let them go.  Don't know why, tried putting them in a different hive as well.

Dan

  • The Accidental Smallholder
  • Administrator
  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Carnoustie, Angus
    • The Accidental Smallholder
    • Facebook
Re: Splitting a colony so it stays put
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2019, 10:10:11 am »
This is the method my mentor taught me, and I've used it successfully several times since:

1) Put the frame the queen is on into a nuc having checked there are no queen cells on that frame - if there are, remove them or put the queen on another frame.

2) Dunt the bees from two or three frames into the nuc, but do not dunt from a frame containing queen cells.

3) Add two more frames without QCs from the parent hive, making sure one has some stores.

4) Seal up the entrance with grass and position somewhere else in a different direction - distance isn't a factor, I've had them on adjacent stands without issue.

This is the step that should prevent most of the bees from returning to the parent hive. By the time the grass has withered, most will have forgotten where they came from and will return to the new box.

What you should have is a mini colony with the old queen, some brood, some nurse bees shut in.  Watch it does not starve if the weather turns poor. This is your insurance colony if the new queen does not mate!

5)  Assuming that the bees have not swarmed and you have unsealed QCs, wait another 4 days at least so they cannot make any more and then go into the parent hive and leave a "nice" QC, removing all others. Do this by finding the chosen one, brushing off the bees to see there are no more on that frame and then you can dunt the other frames to check for and remove QCs.

What you have is the parent colony, one QC which will provide the new queen - maybe! If you have missed one and left two, it will swarm!

6) Wait 3/4 weeks, check for new queen who should be laying by now.

If there's any problem with the new queen you can give the hive a frame of brood from another colony to make new QCs.

PK

  • Joined Mar 2015
  • West Suffolk
    • Notes from a Suffolk Smallholding
Re: Splitting a colony so it stays put
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2019, 08:04:16 am »
Thank you everyone for the helpful responses. I think I have a plan of action of how to best proceed.

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Splitting a colony so it stays put
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2019, 12:41:08 am »
Usually yes, but..I had a colony swarm three times out of the hive I'd put them in, each time deeper into a nearby hawthorn hedge.  In the end I gave up and let them go.  Don't know why, tried putting them in a different hive as well.
I bet the queen was out on her mating flight or there were two newly mated queens i .
Happens sometimes when the QC's are present  and the weather is so foul the  natural swarming cannot take place , then on the first decent day a swarm emerges with a virgin queen and waits near by for her to  return mated  . Then they take off for a new home that's bee sounded out by faithful workers whilst she out on the flight .
 Had it happen to me twice that I now of the escaping swarm  came out the hive like hose pipe of bees to hang in a big cluster 30 yards away .
 Had I realised the score I would have set up a simple brood hive by the swarm & shook the bees into it after spraying a weak water & sugar solution on the frames .

  Then cut the branch they landed on off & burn it asap so there is no pheromone scents to confuse the returning queen & her escorts .
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

 

very weak colony

Started by jaykay

Replies: 16
Views: 6594
Last post April 15, 2011, 10:19:39 pm
by Beewyched
Traditional hay meadow looking for new bee colony

Started by Haylo-peapod

Replies: 5
Views: 2503
Last post May 10, 2012, 02:12:49 pm
by Haylo-peapod
Tricky one this - old nailed up hive with colony in..........

Started by OhLaLa

Replies: 5
Views: 1984
Last post May 03, 2013, 11:37:39 pm
by Plantoid
How long to leave a new colony before looking in the hive?

Started by Birchlea

Replies: 7
Views: 1228
Last post May 12, 2017, 10:07:46 pm
by VEG

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Little Peckers

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS