This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Divides and or New Queen

Queens in a shipping box
Now is the time for a decision. I have a strong colony, it has around 10 frames of bees and brood.
I know it has to be divided. If I don't divide the bees will swarm and I will not get honey off that hive.
The call I have to make is, am I going to over winter the parent colony? The queen in the parent colony has gone through the previous winter and I don't want to run it through another one. If I have a colony that I can't divide I will replace this queen also. Maybe the reason I couldn't divide this colony is that the queen isn't the best.
A new queen in a hive decreases swarming, which leads to more honey this year and increases the odds of colony survival through the next winter.
If I am going to over winter the colony I will put a new queen in the divide and the parent at the same time.
I will also save the old queen and put her in a nuc for emergency if I need her. She can continue to lay. When the nectar flow starts I will combine this nuc with my weakest colony and dispatch the queen at this time.
Some folks face the dilemma of not wanting to purchase any more equipment and expand to more colonies. But a strong colony still has to be divided. There are many beekeepers right now that are looking to purchase bees and brood from a beekeepers divide.
I have a link on dividing a colony on the right side of this blog.