Thanks to all who made Horde at the Hive 2018 such a success. The weather couldn’t have been better and it was great to have a record number of Vikings on hand plus amazing performances from Mounted Combat Arts. Check out the event photo album and mark May 11th and 12th, 2019 in your calendar for next years event!
Bang – summer arrived in southern Alberta May 2nd and we’ve been going at top speed every since. Dandelions were quickly followed by cherry and apple blossoms, now its caragana and soon alfalfa flowers. The time lost because of April snow has been recaptured and the bees are loving it. Our NZ bees have adapted well and the over wintered hives are bursting. Last month we described the long journey our bees make from New Zealand but that’s not the only way we re-build our hive numbers in spring.
Splitting a strong hive to create a ‘nucleus’ hive (also called a ‘nuc’) is a fine art. The process sounds simple enough – take frames of bees and brood from a strong hive, put them in a new box and voilà – a new hive. But how many frames, what ratio of bees to brood and what about a queen? The biggest danger is accidentally taking the senior queen from her hive. This would result in a great nuc, but the senior hive will be set back at least 3 weeks while they try to re-queen. Generally a nuc requires 2-3 frames of brood and bees plus 2- 3 frames of pollen and honey. Placing it in a smaller than standard box helps the small cluster maintain warmth with less bodies. A ratio of 1:1 brood to bees should ensure there’s enough workers to carry out all the hive jobs. Queen options are to purchase a new queen, let the nuc create their own queen or (with much pre-planning) rear your own queens and have them mated before creating the nuc.
This is a very brief summary of a complex procedure but splitting hives is definitely a preferred way to increase our hive numbers because of less cost, the opportunity of improving our honey bee bloodlines and at the same time reduce the risk of swarming.