Artificial Swarming - Apis Mellifera Beekeeping Course

Apis Mellifera
Beekeeping Course
by Amazing Bees
Apis Mellifera
Beekeeping Course
by Amazing Bees
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Artificial Swarming

Session 5
Swarm Control

How to create an Artificial Swarm

Mandatory Prerequisites:
One empty beehive (8-frame single-box hive)
8 frames with embedded sheets of wax foundation
One nucleus hive as holding box for the old queen

Optional, to make life easier:
One holding box for sorting frames

Assumption: The existing bee colony is in a single-box hive; otherwise another holding box might be required.

Note: The empty beehive can also be used as holding box.


Procedure:
1. One by one, transfer the frames from the existing hive into the holding box - take note of how many queen cells are on those frames - search for the queen as part of the transfer. Pay attention to sequence and orientation of frames; they need to be put together in the same order.

2. When the queen is found, put her with the frame she is on into the nucleus holding box – it is essential having located the queen and knowing where she is.

3. Complete transferring all other frames from the existing hive into the holding box – take also note of frames without queen cells, and those containing only honey and pollen.

The objective now is to create an artificial swarm in the existing hive, being now empty of frames, by carefully following the next steps.

4. Transfer the frame with the queen on it from the nucleus holding box into the existing, frameless hive. Check thoroughly if any queen cells are on this particular frame. If no queen cell on that frame, leave the frame in the hive. If any queen cells are on that frame, brush the bees and the queen off that frame into the empty hive and put that frame (without the queen) to the other frames in the holding box. Make sure the queen has been transferred back into the existing hive!

5. From the holding box select one frame with honey and pollen and one with some brood – but without any queen cells! - and insert them with the bees on them side by side into the existing hive, towards one side of the hive with the honey frame on the outer side. The existing hive does now contain two of the old frames, some bees and the old queen.

6. Fill up the existing hive with six new frames with wax foundation.

7. By this time all bees having returned from their foraging flights have entered the existing hive, returning to their usual hive location, back to their queen, steadily increasing the bee population. Put the hive mat on and close the lid. You have created an artificial swarm!

8. Transfer the six remaining old frames from the holding box into the empty (new) hive. To reduce the risk that the first emerging successor queen leaves in a secondary swarm, instead of killing her sister queens, leave only two or three filled queen cells in the hive; destroy all others. Pay attention to sequence and orientation of frames; they need to be put together in the same order. Then add two frames with wax foundation on one side of the block of six. Put the hive mat on and close the lid.

9. Place the new hive at least two meters away from the old hive location. In the new hive you now have what the “swarm” left behind, the remainder of the old colony with queen cells for the successor queen to emerge within the next 9 days. This is close to nature with some safety added, in case the weather turns bad.

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