Roe Valley Beekeepers Association

Beekeeping Advice

ARTIFICIAL SWARM

You’ve found queen cells and want to avoid your bees swarming.

Here’s what to do.

 

METHOD ONE

YOU ARE ABLE TO FIND THE QUEEN 

 

(You’ll need an extra hive with brood frames and foundation or drawn comb)

 

1.     Move the hive to the right of its present site a metre or two.  (box 1)

2.     Place a new hive with drawn or undrawn frames on the old site. (box 2)

3.     Move the queen to the new hive.(box 2)  with the frame she is on and an adjacent frame, cutting off any queen cells on these frames.   She is now in the new hive

    1.        Cut down any closed Queen cells in the original hive leaving an open cell from which to raise a new queen (box 1)

    2.        Distribute the honey stores between the two hives

    3.        The flying bees away on normal duties don’t realise their hive has moved and return to their old position (new hive and  their queen) to box 2.  So, with all the flying bees and queen ending up in a new hive with lots of work to be done makes them think they have swarmed.   The old hive  (Box 1) will raise queens from queen cells you have left them as in (4) above.

    4.         Leave them for four weeks then and check for eggs.  Do not be tempted to look in sooner.

 

Now you have two hives, if you do not wish to expand then choose which queen you wish to keep, probably the new one if their temper is ok you can recombine the hives after a couple of weeks.

 

 

METHOD TWO

YOU CANT FIND THE QUEEN

 

No need to panic. This will work just as well.

 

The plan is to temporarily seperate the nurse bees and flying bees from brood, in a double chamber, seperated by a queen excluder. Nurse bees will migrate to the brood through the queen excluder. They’ll need a queen cell to rear a new queen. The old queen and flying bees will then be the artificial swarm.

 

1      Move the original hive to one side (box 1).

2     Put a new floor and a new brood box (box 2) containing a full compliment of frames of foundation or comb on the original site.

3     Select one frame with one good open queen cell then brush (not shake) the bees off this frame and place it in the middle of the original box (1).  (tip: mark it with a pin)

4     Take one frame with brood preferably unsealed and no queen cells (remove any if necessary) and place it in the centre of new box 2 in the middle of all the 'new' frames.  (This is to keep the bees from abandoning the hive.)

5     Shake all the bees (including the queen) into the new box (box 2.)

6     Remove all other queen cells on each comb except the selected one.

7     Finally build the hive back together on it's original location to look like this with a queen excluder separating the bottom box (2) from the brood in box 1

8      After 24 hours all the nurse bees will have returned to the brood in the old upper box 1 and the queen will be in the lower box

9     The original upper brood box 1 can then be moved to one side to form a new colony.

10     After 4 days inspect both colonies for emergency queen cells, remove if found.

11     Do not disturb box 1 again for four weeks as it will be raising and mating it's new queen