Beekeeping Information Centre

Bee Craft Timely Reminder – 20th June 2018

After splitting a colony keep good records and wait for the new queen to start laying.

If you have split your colonies to prevent swarming, you will have one hive (the brood side) with queen cells and another hive (the queen side) with your old queen. You need to continue regular inspections of the queen side as, if conditions are good, she may well make swarm preparations again. You must take care not to open up the brood side when a new queen is emerging and waiting to get mated. It’s important you keep records so that you have a good idea what state the colony should be in.

Queen larvae and pupae develop more quickly than the workers. The egg hatches in 3 days, the cell is sealed 5 days later and the new queen emerges 8 days after that. The first mating flight may take place as early as 4 days following emergence but, depending on weather, it may be 2-3 weeks before the queen is mated and it could be some days later before she starts to lay.

Wait until you expect there to be brood, and preferably capped brood, before you inspect the colony again, so you can be sure the queen has mated and is laying fertilised eggs (ie. you see worker brood not drone brood). That could be as long as 6 weeks after the queen first emerges, so give her time.

Photo: April 2015 cover photo of queen emerging by Bertalan Lorincz.

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