Hive splits and related mysteries

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by mjrice, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. mjrice

    mjrice New Member

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    I'm hoping someone with experience can explain this to me, because I feel like I'm missing something. It sounds like you can take a frame of bees and brood from a hive, minus the queen, and simply drop it into a new hive and they will stay there and make it their home. Why don't they just fly out and go back home? I've also got the impression you can do this with just bees (no brood) - is that true? If I shake some bees into a new box, will they stay there?

    And if I had a weak hive, with a queen, is there some way to get new workers to "move in" with that hive, and accept that queen over their original one?

    In general, what are the conditions that cause the bees to abandon their previous home and accept a new hive?
     
  2. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    To make a split you will need frames that have honey, pollen and brood with eggs. The bees on the frames with the brood will be nurse or house bees, for the most part. The brood will anchor them to the new hive. They will sense they are queenless and make a queen cell out of some of the eggs (actually a larva that is 24 to 48 hours old). One of the queen will make it hopefully and a new queen right hive is up and running.

    You can put just bees in a hive but very doubtful they will stay, nothing to anchor them.

    To get the numbers up in a weak hive you can add a frame of brood with the nurse bees (be sure the queen is not on it). If it is getting late in the season I might think of pinching the queen in the weak hive and doing a news paper combine with another hive.

    They do not really abandon their hive as much as they do not abandon brood, call it a mothering instinct.
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    MJ, the bees on the frame that are foragers will fly home. Most of them will be house bees that have never flown, therefore don't know the way home, so they stay.

    You can just drop a bunch of bees and a queen in a box and they will stay and make a hive, under controlled circumstances. IE: A 3 lb. package and queen, many of which are sold annually.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    yes it does sound like you have missed some of the finer and larger points of splitting.

    most time to get bees to stick you need to confine them for a good period of time and often time move them several miles away from their original home. brood helps stick a group of bees to a comb but even a queen cell will work if you keep them confined long enough.

    you cannot get bees to just join another hive unless they have been stranded when you moved their former home. bee in your vicinity that just go into another hive are there for the intention of robbing and have not intention of joining.
     
  5. mjrice

    mjrice New Member

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    Ok, I think I get the idea. Thanks for the explanations. One thing though - if the nurse bees are the only ones that care for brood, and they don't fly yet, then who takes care of the brood in a new hive formed from a swarm?
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    A young bee will fly sooner, and an old bee will revert to house duty, when needed. The procedure of advancement is not set in concrete.