I understand the advantage of taking a frame of capped brood from a strong hive when starting a new colony with new package and new queen. I have one very healthy hive and am getting packages for 3 new hives next weekend. Two questions:
(1) would it be a good idea to take one frame of capped brood for each of the new colonies, or would depleting the existing hive by 3 such frames be too much? and
(2) how do you get the bees off the capped brood frame(s) to shift the frame(s) into the new colonies' box(es)?
David in Baltimore
>(1) would it be a good idea to take one frame of capped brood for each of the new colonies, or would depleting the existing hive by 3 such frames be too much? and
If it's a booming hive (a box or two full of bees) it's not a problem. Just make sure you don't take the queen with the brood.
>(2) how do you get the bees off the capped brood frame(s) to shift the frame(s) into the new colonies' box(es)?
Shake. Shake hard. It takes some practice to learn exactly how hard to shake but putting your hands on the end bars and hitting your hands on the sides of the hive you're shaking them into works well. With practice you can just do a quick downward movement with a sudden change in direction back to up really hard and the bees just fall off. If you can't get the hang of this, use a bee brush or a goose feather.
Or just leave the bees on the frame. They will be mostly nurse bees anyway.
If they are capped brood as indicated, use a brush. You won't hurt the brood. Using capped brood that is ready to emerge, will also give the new queen comb to start laying in versus foundation. Other than that I would do like MB said and leave the bees on. Dumping 3 pounds of bees into a new hive will cause enough confusion that by the time they settle, they won't know who is who anyways.
The easy way to shake the bees of a frame
is to hold the frame with the ears resting
on your forefingers, with thumbs on top.
Lift thumbs about an inch.
Toss the frame upward, sharply with
a flick of the wrist.
It will hit your thumbs. Grab frame
between thumbs and forefingers after
the impact with your thumbs.
Practice the trick with an empty
frame, and get the knack of doing
it with as much force as you can
If it takes more than 3 tosses to
get the bees off, you are not being