Hive Splitting

Because of Covid 19 related delays in delivery of a completely new and robust Beehivemonitoring system, it was decided that the old sensor system – Heart plus Scales – would be reinstalled in the Sophia hive despite the fact that the scales was giving erratic weight readings. A new battery was fitted to the Heart and it was cleaned and readied for installation above the queen excluder.

Heart preparation.
The hive heart was opened and cleaned. A new battery was installed and the heart reassembled.

The Sophia hive inspection undertaken by Allen revealed a very strong and vibrant colony. Allen recommended splitting the hive (artificial swarming) so as an insurance policy to avoid loss of a swarm from the colony. A nucleation box was preparedand placed beside the Sophia hive. Next Alan found the queen on a broodbox frame. He transferred the queen plus frame plus supported bees to the centre of the nuc box. He then added further brood frames from the Sophia hive (2 brood plus two food?) and shook some bees from other frames into the box. Two ‘new’ brood frames were added to give a full compliment of six frames in the nuc box.

Nucleation Box
A brood frame with the Sophia queen was transferred to the nuc box with additional frames to provide the essentials for a new colony – some brood and some food (honey plus pollen).

The lid was placed on the Nuc box and the bee port was closed. A cloth was wrapped around the nuc and the lid/nuc box was secured with a rope. The Sophia hive was reassembled with the Heart placed on top of the queen excluder. The scales was placed underneath the hive and the GSM unit with integrated solar panel was placed on top (see live data by clicking on this link). The nucleation hive was then transported a few kilometers to be placed beside the Foxgrove Hive which was also very strong. Alan then repeated the process of hive splitting. A ‘Poly’ nuc box was used to house the Foxgrove queen.

Foxgrove Split
The Foxgrove coloney is split by transferring the queen plus some brood and food to the Poly nucleation box.

The Foxgrove queen and nucleation colony was then transported back to the Knockainey apiary to join the Sophia hive. If all goes well, both nucleation colonies will need to be transferred to hives by the end of next week. We will hopefully need to come up with a naming sequence – Sophia 1, Sophia 2? I’m sure someone can come up with something a little more imaginative!

Sophia 1 +
The Sophia hive with the nucleation colony from the Foxgrove hive.

Many thanks to Alan for all his expert help.