About Bees – Method of Increase We Prefer


Honeycomb by Prilfish

For making a limited increase the following method has been used for a number of years in our apiary with complete success and I consider it superior to any other. By its use, two colonies can be made from one; which is about as rapid increase as is practical unless one is willing to feed considerable sugar syrup.

First take the colony from which increase is desired and set it aside. On the stand which it occupied, place an empty hive, as nearly like the first in appearance as possible, in order that the bees may not notice the change, and will therefore readily enter. From the hive that was set aside, remove one frame of brood, bees and honey, together with the queen. Place this frame and queen in the new hive, on the old stand. The old hive from which this frame was removed should then be placed on a stand at least ten feet from where it formerly stood, in order that the flying bees may not find it. To this, introduce a queen in the regular way.

Let us note now what takes place. The old bees and those that have been in the habit of flying out will return and join their queen at the old stand, which should be filled with combs or full sheets of foundation. If this is done at the beginning of the honey flow, the old bees will bring in plenty of honey and the colony will build up rapidly. The other hive, of course, loses its fielders; but the brood emerges rapidly, so it soon becomes a populous colony. The fact that the old bees desert this colony makes queen introduction sure. By the time the queen is released from the introduction cage, plenty of bees are ready to care for the eggs she will lay. Increase by this method may be made from colonies having poor queens that would not make good at honey getting. If this method is used, the colony containing the old queen should be re-queened soon as there are four or five frames of brood or sooner if the queen is failing.

Making a Limited Increase

When only a small increase is desired, one frame nuclei may be formed, and the queen introduced as described. After the queen is accepted, the nucleus may be built up to a full colony by giving it capped brood from other colonies, one frame from each colony, in order not to weaken them. If this is done just before the honey flow opens and the combs of brood are taken from the extra strong colonies that are liable to swarm, swarming may be prevented, and the colonies will not be weakened enough to materially interfere with securing a surplus. Likewise the colony that has just been formed will also be in condition to make a surplus as it has been given plenty of brood and has a young queen. Increase can be made in this manner with little or no loss in honey production, if made just before the flow begins. In case there is a second flow later in the season, more surplus honey can be secured than if the increase had not been made for there are more colonies to make honey. Usually enough honey can be produced to more than pay for the extra hive and queen.

Here is the original 1926 page:

About Bees – re-queening Information

About Bees – re-queening Information

A Beekeeper’s Guide to the Queen Bee is a great book for learning more about
re-queening your hive.