15 May 2018

Bee Split of Cathedral Top Bar Hive

During a spell of settled fine weather, and having a hive about to swarm, I chose to remove the queen into a new empty hive, together with her nurse bees, plenty of honey stores and some brood. About 9 combs in all were transferred, and they remained remarkably calm throughout the procedure. The donor hive was alarmed, as they well might be, having lost their mother queen. I had the misfortune to break one or two combs due to sheer weight of honey and partial cross combing. This being one drawback with the top bar hive design - the bees free to build without the support of an all surrounding frame. The advantages of this hive design is however, well worth the trouble and has many advantages.
After closing up both hives I realised that bees were not entering the new hive and remembered to place the queen right hive close in front of the donor hive, such that returning foraging bees have the opportunity to fly into the queen right hive.

Inner end farthest from entrance

Honey being laid down here

New Combe

End follower board prevents bars from toppling over

Plenty of brood comb to be transferred

After procedure completed the queen right hive (on the yellow stand) is placed in the flight path of the flying bees which now have the choice of entering the donor hive or the  newly formed queen right hive

The third hive to the rear and right is not involved in the work today

Some broken comb - Oh Dear !

Adjacent combs are kept in sequence as near as possible

Third hive not yet strong enough to swarm. Recently turned through ninety degrees so that it catches more sun. The original end entrance to the right will soon be sealed up and the side entrance fully opened.

Time to walk away - Further inspection to be made in a few days time.

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