Making Splits With New Queens

This spring we were able to make two splits from over wintered hives.

My dad was able to made the splits from some of his hives by locating the queen in the hive, setting her safely to the side and pulling a few frames of brood, eggs, pollen and honey and sticking them into empty nuc boxes.

He did this the night before we wanted to introduce a new queen so that their old queen's pheromones would have a chance to dissipate and they'd be more willing to accept a new queen.

When we were done setting up hives at Tom's place we took the two splits out to my house.

I setup the screened bottom boards and hive bodies on the stands and we smoked the entrance to the nucs. The bees in the nuc boxes were really trying to get out.

We pulled the cork from each of the new queen cages to expose the candy plugs. This year the queens came with some attendants, whereas in years past it was just a queen by herself in the cage.

The cages didn't come with any wire supports with which to hang them, so we fashioned our own hangers from a couple of those little utility marking flags (a different project I have going on at home) and placed the queen cage in each hive.

You can see below how a bunch of the bees gravitated to the queen cage just moments after we placed it in. Once the bees have accepted the new queen as their own they'll eat through the candy plug and release her into the colony.

We laid the nuc boxes on their side in front of the hives and allowed the stragglers to climb up the box and onto the landing board of their respective hives.

I added sugar syrup to each of the new hives to encourage them to draw wax for their frames and also to help accept a new queen.

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