Week 4
Queens, Hive Splitting and
Swarms

Dara K. Dimitrov
dkd4@waikato.ac.nz
Swarms

 Can be an easy way to increase the number of hives you
have
 It is the natural way that bees replicate themselv...
Types of Swarms
 Primary Swarms
 1st Swarm of the season

 Contains a Queen and can have up to 25,000 bees
 Sometimes ...
Types of Swarms
 Secondary Swarms (sometimes called after-swarms)
 Happen after the primary swarms (maybe only be a coup...
Types of Swarms

 Absconding Swarms
 The whole hive leaves the box
 They are starving
 There is disease present
 Inse...
Catching the Swarm

 You need to consider 3 main points
 How long the bees have been sitting there
 Where exactly the s...
Catching the Swarm
 If the bees have not settled properly
 They will not go into your box easily
 They will probably mo...
Location of the Swarm
 If the bees settle in a very high tree or some other
difficult spot – it will be very difficult to...
Size of the Swarm

 If it is a primary swarm –
 You may need a full size box
 10 frames

 If it is a secondary swarm
...
Catching the Swarm

1. Suit up
2. Make sure you have all your wood ware ready
- put a couple of drawn frames in the hive b...
Catching the Swarm
 The bees will be clustering around the queen

 Shake the bees into a bucket
 If possible – put the ...
Fanning Worker Bees
Catching the Swarm
 Leave the lid off the swarm for the first 15-20 mins
 Then when the bees start fanning and the major...
Emergency
 You can put them into a cardboard box – use one that
closes
 You can use a bucket with a lid – slip the bucke...
Final thoughts on Swarms
 You can use Bait hives to catch swarms when you are
not around – (nuc box with some drawn frame...
Splitting Hives

 If you want to increase the number of producing hives
for either the current year or the following year...
Hive Splits and Time of the Year
 If you get the timing wrong – it will be a waste of time,
money and bees
 Generally mi...
How to Split them
 Split a double brood hive in half
 Leave the queen in one box
 Put a queen cell/mated queen in the o...
Splitting side by side
Side by Side Hive Splits

 Double Brood Boxes
 Put 2 hive floors together – in front of the old hive
 Put one box on ea...
Walk Away Splits
 Split the hive in half (brood frames and honey)
 Leave them alone

 The Queen-less hive will raise a ...
Hive Splitting

 If you do it in the spring – 21 days for the hive to get
going if you leave it queenless
 If you use a ...
Queens
 Mature queen cells – ready to hatch in a couple of days
usually
Queens
Buy Mated queens – come in a cage, with other
bees
- They have a sugar ‘end’ – you MUST remove the
plastic cap so t...
Queen in cage with other bees
Questions????
Bees Week 4 - Queens, Hive Splitting and Swarms of Honey Bees
Bees Week 4 - Queens, Hive Splitting and Swarms of Honey Bees
Bees Week 4 - Queens, Hive Splitting and Swarms of Honey Bees
Bees Week 4 - Queens, Hive Splitting and Swarms of Honey Bees
Bees Week 4 - Queens, Hive Splitting and Swarms of Honey Bees
Bees Week 4 - Queens, Hive Splitting and Swarms of Honey Bees
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Bees Week 4 - Queens, Hive Splitting and Swarms of Honey Bees

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If you want to catch swarms, queen, requeen your hives or split your hives -- this slide show will show you how to collect swarms, split hives

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Bees Week 4 - Queens, Hive Splitting and Swarms of Honey Bees

  1. 1. Week 4 Queens, Hive Splitting and Swarms Dara K. Dimitrov dkd4@waikato.ac.nz
  2. 2. Swarms  Can be an easy way to increase the number of hives you have  It is the natural way that bees replicate themselves  It usually occurs in early spring to mid summer  Happens in large active healthily hives (so if the hive is weak – it won’t swarm)  If you live in the city – swarming of your bees is a public nuisance
  3. 3. Types of Swarms  Primary Swarms  1st Swarm of the season  Contains a Queen and can have up to 25,000 bees  Sometimes this maybe the only swarm from a hive  Sometimes maybe the original queen (she ceases laying eggs, so abdomen reduces and allows her to fly)
  4. 4. Types of Swarms  Secondary Swarms (sometimes called after-swarms)  Happen after the primary swarms (maybe only be a couple a weeks after the primary one sometimes)  Usually a virgin queen
  5. 5. Types of Swarms  Absconding Swarms  The whole hive leaves the box  They are starving  There is disease present  Insects are attacking the hive (hive month or ants) This is rare – but it does happen More common – the hive will die out before vacating the hive
  6. 6. Catching the Swarm  You need to consider 3 main points  How long the bees have been sitting there  Where exactly the swarm is located  The size of the swarm
  7. 7. Catching the Swarm  If the bees have not settled properly  They will not go into your box easily  They will probably move on very quickly  If the bees have been there a couple of days  They will move on very quickly to their new home  The Scout bees will have located a new hive spot  Even if you manage to catch them – they may leave
  8. 8. Location of the Swarm  If the bees settle in a very high tree or some other difficult spot – it will be very difficult to catch them  Your success rate is very low  Accessibility – can you reach them  Do you need a ladder?  How high????  If the bees are in someone’s house wall, roof, inside part of a building structure (which requires removal of the part of the structure ----------CALL PEST CONTROL! You must consider the safety aspect – and use caution when grabbing the swarm
  9. 9. Size of the Swarm  If it is a primary swarm –  You may need a full size box  10 frames  If it is a secondary swarm  Use a nuc box  5 frames
  10. 10. Catching the Swarm 1. Suit up 2. Make sure you have all your wood ware ready - put a couple of drawn frames in the hive box - the bees have gorged on honey – so they don’t need any honey frames - Swarms are often used to repair damaged frames and draw foundation
  11. 11. Catching the Swarm  The bees will be clustering around the queen  Shake the bees into a bucket  If possible – put the hive box underneath the swarm  Try disturb the bees as little as possible  You might have to shake the bees off several times before they will stay in the box  You can tell that you have caught the queen because the worker bees will ‘fan’
  12. 12. Fanning Worker Bees
  13. 13. Catching the Swarm  Leave the lid off the swarm for the first 15-20 mins  Then when the bees start fanning and the majority of the bees are in the hive box  Put the lid on BUT leave a gap for the bees to enter and exit from  The bees will use the regular entrance as well as the gap on the top  Leave the box on location until evening so that you catch the entire hive before removing it
  14. 14. Emergency  You can put them into a cardboard box – use one that closes  You can use a bucket with a lid – slip the bucket under the swarm and put the lid on the bucket (snip the branch)  Try to not to disturb the cluster – just quietly place the box/bucket under the swarm – and shut it quickly  You won’t get all the bees – but most of them & the queen
  15. 15. Final thoughts on Swarms  You can use Bait hives to catch swarms when you are not around – (nuc box with some drawn frames)  If the swarm is a secondary – you are better off jamming it on top of a weaker hive  Greater number of bees === stronger hive, better cluster  Disease can be transferred with Swarms  If it is not your own hive swarm ----Play it safe and leave the swarms separate from your own hives  Keep an eye on the brood for signs of disease
  16. 16. Splitting Hives  If you want to increase the number of producing hives for either the current year or the following year  It discourages swarming  You can generate an income from the sale of nucs
  17. 17. Hive Splits and Time of the Year  If you get the timing wrong – it will be a waste of time, money and bees  Generally mid spring (when numbers in the hives begin to increase) and before the honey flow peaks  There has to be adequate food in both splits for the both hives to thrive (so you may have to feed them too)  The general rule – the earlier and the stronger each split is – the more successful you will be
  18. 18. How to Split them  Split a double brood hive in half  Leave the queen in one box  Put a queen cell/mated queen in the other box  Make sure there is brood in both hives  Select brood and feed from a hive – and make up nucs  Minimum number of frames is 3 for a nuc  REMEMBER clustering and temperatures so 5 frames is best  You need a queen cell/mated queen for the nuc
  19. 19. Splitting side by side
  20. 20. Side by Side Hive Splits  Double Brood Boxes  Put 2 hive floors together – in front of the old hive  Put one box on each of the hive floors  Check to see which box has the queen  Re-queen the other box – mated queen/queen cell
  21. 21. Walk Away Splits  Split the hive in half (brood frames and honey)  Leave them alone  The Queen-less hive will raise a queen (16 days to hatching – another week for her to mate)  Compare this to a mated queen – about 5 days to get out of the cage – another 5 days to get laying well  Ripe queen cell – is about 11 days from hatching to mating and laying
  22. 22. Hive Splitting  If you do it in the spring – 21 days for the hive to get going if you leave it queenless  If you use a mature queen cell – 11 days for the hive to get going  If you use a mated queen – it will take about 10 days (maximum) to get going
  23. 23. Queens  Mature queen cells – ready to hatch in a couple of days usually
  24. 24. Queens Buy Mated queens – come in a cage, with other bees - They have a sugar ‘end’ – you MUST remove the plastic cap so that the bees can eat through the sugar end to release the queen -- takes about 45 days Unmated Queen emerging
  25. 25. Queen in cage with other bees
  26. 26. Questions????

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