How to Form Nuclei

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From the Vintage Publication:
“The American Apiculturist.” (1885)
A Journal Devoted to Scientific and Practical Beekeeping.

By Henry Alley.

Most beekeepers wish to rear a few queens and must have for such a purpose a few nucleus colonies.

The following plan for forming them is an easy and simple one. The nucleus hives should be constructed of light material and about one-third the width of the large hive, and the covers should be cleated to prevent splitting and warping. If the hives are painted they will last many years.

The nucleus colonies should consist of three combs and two quarts of bees. When ready to form them, place in one of the hives two combs containing honey and, in the centre, one containing brood, after which add the bees. Perhaps the better way would be to remove from a full colony a comb containing brood, together with the adhering bees, being careful of course not to take the queen with them. In such case there will be a sufficient number of bees on the comb to care for the brood; if not, a few more may be brushed from another comb into the hive.

After the combs and bees have been placed in the hive, confine the latter to the hives for thirty-six hours and release them early on the morning of the third day.

Do not remove the screen (with which they have been confined) from the entrance except just before dark or early in the morning; as, if released in the middle of the day, the bees would rush out and many would not return.

After having been confined in the hive for thirty-six hours, the bees will have constructed several queen cells and when released will return to the new location.

A matured queen cell may be given them at this time; or, when they have been queenless seventy-two hours, a virgin queen can be introduced safely.

Before releasing the bees the nuclei should be placed some distance from the stands from which the bees were taken. While the bees are confined in the hives they should be supplied with water. For such purpose I find the cone feeder very useful.

If the reader has studied the article in the May number in reference to the drone trap he is prepared to have his queens purely mated with any particular strain of drones in the apiary.

Wenham, Mass.

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