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Nucleus split in Spring - Italy

20190419 Nucleus Split of a ten frame Langstroth beehive

19 April: Splitting the hive using the ‘nucleus method’,
The bees have been angry / defensive, I imagine because of lack of space in the brood chamber, preparing to swarm, and defence of honey stocks.

Purpose for split was that I saw several capped Queen cells on quick examination of hive on 17/4, my first inspection in a month.
These capped Queen cells indicate that the hive’s colony is preparing to swarm.

Today 19/4, I moved the existing strong beehive & colony away from the usual position to nearby under shade of a tree. I then placed the newly prepared nucleus hive in the space of where the old hive had been.
Then the fun…. I couldn’t find the Queen in the old hive, despite taking my time.
So, unable to find a Queen, I reversed my approach to the nucleus split. Reasoning that new uncapped brood was an obvious sign that indicated a currently active Queen.

I decided to place five of the ten frames from the old hive in the new hive (dark green colour), ensuring there was no Queen on the frames that I transferred.
The transferred frames contained only one Queen cell, as I removed about eight Queen cells.
I assumed (gambled that the Queen was still in old hive,
Today, while doing the split, I saw one Queen cell already opened by the colony.
So, I placed five frames from the ‘old hive’ into the new hive. The frames were placed from the wall inwards, containing honey stores and brood. I had also added five new frames of undrawn comb to fill the remaining half of the hive. I added a Queen excluder, a honey super, and a bag of bee candy on top to help the new colony establish themselves.
After sunset, I moved the hive which had been placed under the tree, back to the support table where I keep my hives.

My next viewing of hive will be on Saturday 27 April to see if colony has settled and that there are no more new Queen cells.

1 Like

Hi John, well done. I wouldn’t have bothered with adding the bag of bee candy during a period when bees are preparing to swarm. There must be a lot of honey & pollen coming in while the days are lengthening to trigger the bees to prepare to swarm.

I used to also think that bees are defensive of honey stocks. They would be for sure during a honey dearth, however I now believe that bees are foremost defensive of the brood.