Hiving a colony so that it doesn't abscond
I started beekeeping with a few colonies that I was given, and have been trying to build up my numbers by removing problem colonies from buildings and drains and air-bricks and the like. I manage to get most of the colonies out okay, and also mostly manage to get them settled in a box in my apiary - but then almost all of them just abscond. Can you help?
It's not an uncommon problem, Mike. My experience exactly parallels yours. In short, they don't take kindly to being messed with.
I have a golden rule; I now immediately, preferably the evening of the day I removed them from their happy home, immediately unite them onto a weak colony. Plenty of smoke to get them thoroughly confused and then just place the new brood chamber onto that of the weak colony.
If the weak colony occupies only say five frames, then I remove the others and slot in those from the hive you've just saved from extinction.
During a flow it's quite straightforward; in a dearth you might have a war, but unlikely.
The queens presumably fight it out, and they never then abscond; you now a strong colony with a huge work force ready to supply you with plenty of honey.
I hope this helps; it's an age old problem.
Any more questions?
Bernard Preston home page»How to start beekeeping » Hiving a colony so that it doesn't abscond
Click here to post comments
Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to How to start beekeeping.
Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself, your family and friends, and Mother Earth for future generations. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books!
Here are the back issues.
you find this page interesting? How about forwarding it to a friend, or book and food junkie; or, better still, a Facebook or Twitter tick would help.
56 Groenekloof Rd,