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The “tear ’em off” split

On Saturday, the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association held their annual Field Day at the Washington Park Arboretum. The event was well-attended, expertly organized, and truly fun. The featured speaker, Dr. Zachary Huang of Michigan State University, is a wealth of information and a great photographer. During the long day he displayed a pleasing combination of […] Read more

How to keep queen bees in reserve

Every spring I re-queen my strongest hives in order to reduce swarming. A colony is less likely to swarm when the queen’s pheromones are strong, and the pheromones are strongest in a first-year queen. In fact, according to most sources, a new queen is the single best deterrent to swarming. However, it seems ridiculous to […] Read more

How to start a queen in a two-frame nuc

I had a request to write about how I start queens using a two-frame mating box such as the Brushy Mountain “Queen Castle.” The Queen Castle is a standard size deep brood box that can be divided into four two-frame sections, each with its own entrance. But the following instructions could be used for any […] Read more

How to make a walkaway split

In contrast to a swarm-control split where you need to know the whereabouts of your queen, a walkaway split can be made without having to find the queen. The steps for setting up a walkaway split are easy: The queenless portion will soon begin to raise a queen of their own from very young larvae. […] Read more

How to start multiple hives from a swarm-control split

Last time I wrote about a simple way to split a hive to prevent swarming. It is quick and easy and results in two fairly equal hives. However, if your original hive is loaded with swarm cells you may be able to raise a few extra queens or start more than one hive. Let’s say […] Read more