Spring Increase Hives

I’m experimenting with a new method of increasing my hives- new to me anyway. Traditionally a split is made to make a new hive by taking several frames or perhaps half, including both brood in various stages and food from a donor hive. The foragers removed will fly back to the donor hive. This method increases the number of hives, but decreases the population of the donor hive and aids in swarm prevention.

This year I’m focusing on increasing the strength and population of my hives and didn’t want to so significantly impact any one hive. But I did want to add a couple of hives to the apiary.

I first learned of this method in Increase Essentials, by Lawrence Connor. It involves taking two or three frames from multiple hives to make a new hive. The frames I select have lots of capped brood or pollen. Then I shake extra nurse bees into the new hive.

I used this method last week, taking three frames each from two hives. I shook lots of extra bees in before moving the new hive to another bee yard about 300 yards away. I added a feeder with light sugar syrup. I did this two days before picking up my queens from Bee Weaver apiary. Before installing the new queen, I did a quick check to remove any new queen cells. It seemed to work. I saw new foragers bringing in pollen and there were plenty of bees when I refilled the feeder three days after installing the queen. I peeked at the queen cage and she had been released, so I slipped the cage out without pulling any frames.

For a second new hive, I used three donor hives. I gave the new hive two frames from each hive, plus an extra frame of honey from a fourth hive. They’ll get a new queen in two days, this time shipped from Koehnen Apiaries in California.

While making my summer increase hives, I am requeening a couple of hives. I have two hives that have grown quite defensive. The worst of the two was requeened last week and other will be requeened in a couple of days.

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