Hiving a Swarm

Our hives in their new rural location, about 16km (or 10 miles) from our house in the city.

The first inspection of our hives in their new location was great. It was so much more relaxed knowing we could take our time and not worry about nosey neighbours. We’ll only be able to see the bees once every week or two, but the change of scene is worth the temporary inconvenience (until we get our own vehicle). It feels like a whole new world of beekeeping. All the hives seemed to be humming when we arrived around 1:00pm. I’ll write a summary of our inspections in the comments for this post. But in a nutshell, our hives aren’t in perfect shape, but we feel more comfortable dealing with whatever comes our way now that we don’t have suspicious neighbours close by making us feel hurried.

Here’s a slideshow that shows how we hived our swarm just before we left:

3 thoughts on “Hiving a Swarm

  1. We had four hives and one split set up (along with some temporary mating nucs belonging to some other beekeepers). The split had some honey but no sign of a laying queen. The grafted queen cell we introduced to it a few weeks ago may have produced a queen that hasn’t begun to lay yet or didn’t successfully mate.

    We then inspected the hive that swarmed in our backyard a few weeks ago. A week earlier when we moved the hives, all of our hives were starved, virtually empty of honey. But the top two boxes of the swarmed hive were now packed with nectar on the way to becoming honey. The bottom box was full of brood. That means the new naturally produced queen successfully mated and was off to the races. We pulled out some of the nectar frames, replaced them with empty frames, and pulled up some of the brood to the second box. We also added a honey super.

    Another hive showed no sign of brood, about a dozen open queen cells and a moderate population of bees — in other words, it had swarmed. We could only assume the new queen hadn’t begun to lay yet. The hive was full of empty cells, lots of pollen, not much nectar. We put a hive top feeder on that hive.

    After that we inspected our foundationless hive and found only one frame of brood in the bottom, some honey and pollen, but mostly empty frames. That hive needs a new queen pronto. We put a feeder on it. (I didn’t take notes, so some of these details may be a little mixed up.)

    Then we inspected our hive that has follower boards and spotted the marked queen right away. This follower board hive has been our pride and joy and continues to thrive. We left a honey super on it last week and most of the frames were well on their way to being filled with honey. We saw the queen had plenty of space to so lay and didn’t bother with a full inspection. (We enjoyed our 5-hour marathon of beekeeping, but we didn’t pack a lunch and began to feel it about this time.) We need to add another honey super to it ASAP.

    We found a frame with a single queen cell close to emerging during one of our inspections, but I can’t remember what hive it came from. Anyway, we took that frame and placed it in the split that might be queenless. We figure if it’s queenless, the colony will have a new queen in a day or two. If it’s not queenless, the queen that’s already present will kill the new queen before it emerges. Or maybe the new queen will emerge, battle it out with the other queen and they’ll end up killing each other. We’ll see…

  2. sounds like a day well spent! you dont have to worry about the duelling queens offing each other, the virgo queen is smaller and more nimble. she’ll kill the mated queen every time! a real bummer when the one she offed just started laying lol, but better than laying workers. i enjoy reading your blog, keep up the good work!

  3. Phil, there wiull be more queen cells ready this weekend. Also I can steal a frame from the quen cell ready to swarm from my colony.


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