Sunday, May 31, 2009

Make Six Colonies From One!

Depending on how aggressive you wish to be when expanding your apiary, you can easily make six colonies from one (or more!). This of course depends on how many frames of drawn comb are within the colony, how many bees are in it, how much brood the queen has laid, and how many stores the bees have put in the comb. In this post I am making five nucs from a colony which consists of three medium hive bodies with one deep hive body on top. The hive bodies each contain ten frames so I will use a total of twenty medium frames to make the five nucs. After making the nucs The parent colony shall consist of a deep hive body with three drawn frames and seven frames of foundation on the screened bottom board and a medium hive body on top with ten fully drawn frames. Here I have five medium nucs placed near the donor colony and ready to be occupied with some frames of brood and bees. The entrances are screened ahead of time to keep the bees within.

Pictured below you can see that the three medium hive bodies have bee seperated and that the deep hive body is now atop the screened bottom board. With the deep hive body in place I can now have a place to relocate the queen one I find her in amongst the medium frames. Also with the deep in place, the returning worker bees have a place to go,

As I was going through the medium frames to decide where to place them within the nucs, I came across the queen on the fifth frame I looked at. After placing her within the deep I could work much quicker as I did not need to worry about finding her.

When filled these nucs with frames I started on the right side of the boxes with a frame of honey and attached bees. The second frame from the right is capped brood. The third frame from the right is open brood. The last frame, or the frame on the left is usually a frame of pollen or bee bread. In this case the frames on the left also contained some amount of brood and honey as well.

Before placing the frames into the nuc boxes I sprayed them with sugar syrup. After the bees are sprayed they will not fly and will stay in the nuc boxes until I have enough frames within the nuc boxes in order to put the lid on them. Here is a picture of the sprayer I bough at Lowe's last year for around five dollars. After it is pressured by action of the pump, a button releases a fine mist of sugar syrup by simply depressing it.

Here is a picture of a frame that has just been sprayed.

Pictured below are the nuc boxes as they begin to fill with frames of bees. AS I did with the frames, I started with the nuc box on my right and worked to the left.

Now there are three completed nucs only three frames left to select to finish the last two nucs.

I'm down to selecting the last three frames that I need and I have a medium box on the ground in which I have not looked.

Now with all the nucs filled I need to transport them to an outyard to keep the bees from going back to their parent colony.

I also have three full size nucs in the truck. I made up eight nucs this day. After taking the nucs an outyard they were unloaded and placed atop some small pallets.

After a day I gave each nuc a queen cell. They should all have laying queens by now and will be brought back to the home yard before too long. Now from this colony I made five nucleus colonies and kept the mother colony. I actually could have made six nucleus colonies but I did not want to leave the parent colony too weak. Hopefully the parent colony will build up enough in time to make some more nucs out of it, and I bet it will.


Matthew Murphy said...
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Matthew Murphy said...

Nice to read your post. An amazing photos, which are helpful to understand the process described here. Useful one for me, so will like to utilize it. Thank you for sharing.
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