Moving double brood and splitting

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cweaton 

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Hi, I've (jointly) taken over a hive in a slightly complicated situation, and wouldn't mind another viewpoint on how to go about a whole string of operations please.

Here's the situtation:

At the moment we have one very strong colony of placid bees in a double brood box, with evenly distributed stores and brood. One super, but good stores in brood boxes. The queen is marked and quite large. However:
(a) it has to be moved asap, to a location very close by (less than 0.5 miles)
(b) it has a very high varroa count, which needs seeing to - I'd like to do a shook swarm
(c) we want/need to split the colony.
(d) because of the bad weather we've not been able to do a full inspection for a while, so there are probably queen cells - let's assume there are. We'll inspect when we come to move the hive.

I'm guessing the best thing is to keep things simple and do one thing at a time (move, split, shook swarm), but this seems like three lots of disruption for the bees. It would also be very heavy to lift!

However, there might be advantages in combining some proceedures. For example, here's a complex plan:

(i) separate the brood boxes at old site onto two floors etc. and sort through, swapping frames so that we have queen in one and queen cells in the other.

(ii) come back in the evening and move the two boxes onto the new site, doing a shook swarm straight away on the one with the queen in. (And a shook swarm on the other once the queen is mated and laying).

Any opinions?
 

biggles 

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They will just fly back to the old site if you only move them 0.5 miles. Move them more than 3 miles away and then back.

Pete
 
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The local association that I hope you have joined will have someone who will help you!

Hopefully you would, for a couple of pints, be assisted to move the complete hive at least 3 mile away to another apiary site where you could get help in treating the varroa, requeening etc.

You did not mention the type of hive the bees are in... do you have enough equipment to undertake splitting / moving etc?

Good luck.... do not rush it!!!
 
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cweaton 

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Thanks. We have plenty of gear for doing all of the operations (nationals).

Re the distance we're moving, this is a discussion that I have already had with the person who I am looking after the hive with. We have means of moving the hive somewhere else and then back again, but he insists that he's used tricks to move hives short distances successfully before and I'm happy to go with this. Unfortunately the enforced quick move is something which is beyond our control.

My main query is really about the fact that we have it in two brood boxes and whether the movement might actually be an opportunity to get some other tasks done at the same time.
 

oliver90owner 

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I'd like to do a shook swarm

Why? How long a time scale is ASAP?

The split
Double brood - so split the brood to induce supercedure cells . A/S. Job done. KISS.

The varroa
Treat each part of the A/S while broodless. Job done. KISS.

Sort out balancing the colonies later if necessary.

Where you do it might depend on time-scale, but just do it. Inspect after moving the hive if it can be accomplished relatively easily (two people). Just close up and move it late in the evening. Inspect and separate boxes if necessary. A/S when queen cells are being built. Treat for varroa as appropriate.

RAB
 

biggles 

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"he insists that he's used tricks to move hives short distances successfully before"

Please let us know this trick, it could save me lots of moving.

Pete
 

cweaton 

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"he insists that he's used tricks to move hives short distances successfully before"

Please let us know this trick, it could save me lots of moving.

Pete
The plan is just to put foliage in front of the entrance. We're shifting them this evening. I'll let you know if it works! I'm guessing we'll lose a few, but that's probably better than the disruption of moving them twice.
 

Moggs 

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I would think carefully about moving them this short distance. Be prepared for a mop-up operation and a relocation back to Site 'A'. Once bees are airborne, The foliage is irrelevant and no amount of foliage is going to fool them into thinking that their new home is better than their old!

The advice 'less than three feet or greater than three miles' is borne out of hard won experience. Your bees are probably no different to the millions of bees that have gone before. But do let us know the outcome....
 

Teemore 

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I'd be inclined to block the hive entrance with a bit of foam rubber/an old sponge and leave them blocked in for 24 hours at the new site and use some foliage in front of the entrance when you do remove the entrance block. Hopefully that should really get the colony (or colonies) to re-orientate on the new site.
 

cweaton 

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I said I'd post again to let people know how the move went.

I'd say neither unsuccessful nor a complete success as there were a couple of hundred bees back at the old site the next evening. I'd left a nuc with a couple of undrawn frames there and it was interesting that less than half the bees went in there, the rest sitting in clusters on the ground. Bees happily coming and going at old site.

I replaced the nuc by a 'hive' made of a super (with capped but grazed honey to keep them going)instead of a broodbox, and moved the bees in there with a dustpan and bee brush. When I can I'll put the super on the hive in the new location with a sheet of newspaper. I'll be happy if half of them get the message the second time. Weather looking very unpromising though.

Thanks for your posts, even if it did turn into a discussion about moving short distances!
 

oliver90owner 

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How does this work

The queen pheromone is reduced in the 'supercedure' area so the bees build queen cells - much more like supercedure cells than swarm cells. Large cells, so good sized queens. You are under control of the process so do your A/S (and splits) more to your timetable than theirs. Se Demaree. Good method to keep them from swarming, too.

RAB
 

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