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I keep reading that people start out with two nucs and before the year is out they've had to split and end up with 6 or more hives.
G'day Grace,

That's one of the reasons why I developed a method called Opening the Sides of the Brood Nest (OSBN)

When you live in a residential area there are restrictions to the number of hives you can have and you don't want to upset the neighbours with swarms going into their yards or buildings.

It appears to be an effective swarm prevention method. (But like other methods requires inspections at least every 2 weeks during swarm season.)

For detailed information have a look at :

Main points -
During Swarm Season:

  • Maintain at least 2 undrawn frames in every box.
  • Place undrawn frames on the outer edges of the Brood Nest.
  • Move honey frames up and out of the Brood Box(es).
  • Start as soon as Drones are being raised.

Steps -
Start 3-4 weeks before your usual Swarm Season (or when Drone Brood is being raised):

  1. Move each outermost frame from a Brood Box up into the middle of a New Box (of Undrawn Frames), placed directly above the Broodnest. (So that 2 Old Frames have moved up.)
  2. Insert a New Frame (Partial Foundation or Full sheet of Foundation) on each outside edge of the Broodnest of the Brood Box. So that Brood frames are only on one side of each New Frame. (2 New Frames inserted, at least one Partial Foundation initially, the other can be a Full sheet of Foundation.)
  3. Check the Hive in 2 weeks and repeat steps 1-2 if comb has been at least partially drawn on the New Frames in the Brood Box. (So that 2 Old Frames are moved up, 2 New Frames inserted into the Brood Box.) You will now have 4 Old Drawn Frames that have been moved up into the New Box.
  4. Check again in 2 weeks. The New Box should now have comb getting drawn out. Repeat steps 1-2 if needed.
  5. Throughout Swarm Season ensure that there is at least 2 Undrawn Frames in each Box. This is to maintain Wax Making by getting the young bees to draw out new comb. (These Frames can now all be full sheets of Foundation.)

My largest hive this season has drawn out, filled and capped honey on at least 40 Deep Frames of Foundation. It was wintered as a Single Deep. So be prepared!

I actually first developed the method in a Horizontal hive, so the same principles can be used. Start opening up one side of the Broodnest closest to the main entrance and move honey frames across towards other end, away from the entrance. (I can also put supers on my Horizontal hive.)

· Registered
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First year, it is not my experience that a nuc grows into more than a full hive. Second year is a different story, assuming success.
I mentioned that more to focus on the point that the method helped prevent this large hive from swarming.

This is a second year hive. It was a swarm the previous year that grew to 3 Deeps. I purposely winter in a single Deep in this area, because if the box is not full of bees going into winter then the hive has issues with condensation and mould.

The smallest hive was a first year hive wintered as a 5 frame Nuc. It grew to 3 Deeps, but I also took a couple of splits from it as this hive is less defensive. So it would have grown to 4 Deeps.

It really depends on both the nectar and pollen flows in your area as to how large hives can get. You need both for good wax making.
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