Now the winter solstice has past, the queens have started laying and the bees are out looking for pollen and nectar.
It will soon be the time beekeepers will be looking to increase the number of colonies lost in the winter. I usually try to do this by splitting colonies, however, I am always looking for new and different methods.
In 1947 a Russian called Taranov devised a method of rearing a new queen by creating an artificial swarm. Below there are two photos of what is called a Taranov board and I have made one just to try this out. See photo 1.
In the second photo you can see a gap of 10 cm (4 inches) between the top of the board and the entrance to the hive. The bees are emptied onto a large sheet draped over to bottom of the board. Hard to believe, the flying bees walk up and fly across the gap. The nurse bees who have not yet left the hive and have not flown, get to the top and wonder where they can go. They can’t get across so gather in a swarm like ball under the board. The colony is now divided into two. The hive’s frames are split and the board with the non-flying bees are placed in a new hive box. Voila!
That is the theory. Watch this space!
I am looking forward to trying this method out. Apparently, it is a most fantastic sight to watch the whole colony on the move and naturally creating an artificial swarm.
Any questions and comments are welcome contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org