Swarm Control

If you think of your hive as having three parts, swarm control will involve separating one of these three parts from the other two.

The three parts are:  1) Queen

2)  Brood and Nurse Bees

3)  Flying Force

To separate the Queen:  Make a nucleus to separate the Queen from the parent colony which has unsealed queen cells in it.

  1. You make a nuc by finding the Queen and putting that frame in the nuc.
  2. Remove any queen cells on this frame.
  3. Put a drawn comb or foundation in the nuc box along with some frames of feed.
  4. Shake some more bees into the nuc, because some of the bees will fly back to the parent colony.
  5. Don’t remove any queen cells from the frames in the parent colony.
  6. Replace the frames in the parent colony so that it is full.

The parent colony should raise its own Queen.  You’ll need to check on this colony in about two or three weeks.  If they are not successful in raising a mated Queen, you can put the nuc back into the parent colony.

To separate the flying force:  You don’t have to find the queen to perform this manipulation.

  1. Choose a frame of brood from Box A with eggs, larvae, and capped brood and place it in another deep box (Box B).
  2. Make sure this frame has no queen cells on it.
  3. Check through the rest of the frames in Box A and make sure the queen cells are all unsealed.
  4. Put Box B full of frames on the parent hive site.
  5. Put the supers back on if there are any.
  6. Place Box A at a new site.

If the Queen is in Box B, you have separated the Queen and flying force from the brood and nurse bees.

If the Queen is in Box A, you have separated the Queen, brood and nurse bees from the flying force.

If the Queen and queen cells are in Box A, without the flying force the hive should tear down the unsealed queen cells.

On your next inspection, the hive without the Queen will have queen cells.  The hive with the Queen will have eggs in the worker cells.

Now you have an extra hive.  You can keep the increase or combine it back on the parent hive site.

From the notes of Richard Farrier.