Drawn comb gives a new package a head start – we’ve done it both ways, but logic dictates that drawn comb allows the bees to become more productive quicker. With new foundation, more time is spent feeding, particularly if the spring is slowing any normal spring bloom.
We’ve always taken an empty box – 1/2 filled with frames, set it next to the hive we want to split, then pull out 4-5 frames of brood – making sure the queen from split hive isn’t on the frame – put it in new hive, shake some extra bees and add a new queen. Seal the hive, and move it at least a couple of miles from the split hive. If you don’t, they’ll find their way back.
Up to six weeks.
Approximately 3500 or less if gorged with honey.
That’s highly dependent on the moisture content of the honey – it varies up to 11 lbs., 14 ounces.
Swarming can occur from any reason listed below, or a combination of reasons listed, or possibly from other reasons depending upon their geographical location:
- Honey bound (meaning a super should have been added),
- Brood bound (another brood chamber should have been added),
- No bloom available,
- Elevated hive temperature,
- A heavy initial nectar flow,
- Heavy drone population,
- Extended seasonal photo-period,
- Optimum weather.