Natural Beekeeping

Top Bar ApiRevolution has begun! Lets make some inexpensive Top Bar Hives and let them be pesticide free on their own natural comb! Che Guebee is a rebel bee fighting for the survival of the Biodiversity we all depend on and which is seriously endangered by deforestation and mono-crop agriculture! What kind of teaching have you got if you exclude nature?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Splitting hives and Unbelievable News !!!!

The air outside is filled with a nectar smell from various flowers: Dandelions, Cherries, Plums, Canola, various bushes and tress like Maple ... So much forage, the nature is exploding into life :)
Bees are flying very well bringing in lots of nectar and pollen. I have decided to split all the colonies and let them build new Queens.
Papa Dusko working the Che Guebee Apiary consisting of Top Bar Hives
I do the first splits always in the same fashion: I take out the old Queen and move it into a new empty hive with 3 combs of capped brood and 2 combs of nectar/honey. I give them a cup of water since they mostly have house bees and I place a tree branch in front of the entrance to force the bees to re-orientate so they don't fly back to their mother colony. This worked for me well last year and I have got this tip from Michael Bush (use google).
I have placed a tree branch infront of the entrance of new splits. This way bees
cant just fly out but must struggle to get out of the hive. This cause them to re-orientate (orientation flights)
and learn that this is their new entrance. 
Now about the Unbelievable News :))
I decided to open the hives which suffered during the transport from Sweden just to check their status and to see if they have begun building Queen Cells since there was no way Queens could have survived that catastrophe (previous posts). Once I started inspecting the combs I quickly realized that they DO HAVE A QUEEN :)) capped brood, and eggs and larvae in all stages AMAZING!
Then I checked the hive which suffered even more and had only 2 handfuls of bees left and out of 10 only 2 combs didn't collapse. They had started building some more combs but everything looked like a very weak colony and then I saw IT :)) Eggs, new eggs but no larvae! Anyway they sure must have a Queen in there right so I looked more and found her in great condition! How is this possible!?!?! This colony was one of my biggest before the comb collapse during transport. Thousands of dead bees, me shaking out the bees onto the ground in front of the hive, all bees dead and alive covered in nectar. total catastrophe YET :)) she survived, WOW and thousand time more WOWs :)) Im totally over my head :)) yeah!!! I gave them a few more combs from a stronger colony but Im not worried since they will sure build up fine this summer.

One of the hives is starting to boom with bees and I can see queen cups but no larvae in them. I wanted to split this colony too but could not find the queen. I inspected the combs 4 times to no avail, so I just close the hive. This is the only colony which started building combs in the super above them. Im sure they will start making new Queens soon. I might split them in about 2 weeks or let them swarm and collect the swarm instead.

The one colony which survived the winter queen-less is indeed queen-less and they are not going to make it if they dont get a new queen so I might give them a ripe Queen Cell from another colony of mine.


  1. Hooray for queens! Great tip about the cup of water, too. That's something I wouldn't have thought of, but you're absolutely right.

    1. Thanks :) when placing the cup of water in the hive make sure to place dry gass into it so bees dont drown. I have got that tip from an old conventional beekeeper

    2. Try a saucer of water with a clump of moss or lichen in the middle.