Swarm Control Nucleus Method

The nucleus method is good if you don’t have much spare equipment and you plan on uniting the colony back to one again.

This method may sound similar to the artificial swarm however its the other way around. In the artificial swarm you moved the parent colony away and left the queen and the flying bees on the original site. In the nucleus method you are removing the queen, a little brood and young bees and leaving the colony where it is.

You need a nuc box or full size hive with dummy board (so you can reduce the space the bees need keep warm). You have queen cells and your queen is still there. Find the queen and take her on the frame she is on, which most likely will have eggs, and also take another frame of sealed brood and a frame of food. If you are using a nuc box fill the rest of box with frames, drawn comb if you have it, foundation if you don’t but remember to feed them with syrup! You will also need to shake in a couple of frames of bees, you need to compensate for the flying bees that will return to the parent colony. Tomorrow check this nuc to ensure you have enough bees to cover the brooda and look after the colony. If one of your frames of brood had emerging brood on it then you will soon have new young bees in here as well.

The parent colony is inspected and all but one good open queen cell is removed. It is best to find your good cell first before you destroy all the others. You will need to check this colony a week later and remove any new queen cells your bees may have started, so do mark the frame that has your good cell on it so you don’t accidentally remove that one! Once you have only 1 queen cell and no way for the bees to make more you can leave the bees get on with it. All being well the new queen will emerge and go on her mating flights and start to lay. This can take a few weeks and you do not want to disturb them during this time. I always leave mine for a good 3 weeks but I do keep an eye on the entrance. If the bees are bringing in pollen this is a good indicator that all is well. When you do check them, you should see some eggs. If you don’t see eggs look for polished cells as this means the queen is imminently going to start laying.

Your nuc will also be growing in size over these three weeks, so you now have the option to keep this as a separate colony and hive it when necessary and increase your number of colonies. Or, you can unite this back with your original colony using the newspaper method.

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