Last year my patience was like a soft rubber band, ever stretching, becoming longer and longer. My wonderful bee NUC was delayed owing to a dreadfully long Winter spell and a damp and inclement Spring that extended itself well into a third of the year. Every book, every article I had read advised that a late brood of bees would not come close to swarming the year after receipt. I was therefore unprepared when my little colony exploded with growth and virtually tumbled out of the hive.
First course of action is apparently to checkerboard the main brood box. This meant the use of a second brood box. Half the colony was placed in the second brood box and new frames and wax were place in between on both brood compartments. I hadn’t the time to purchase a complete new hive and so the second box was placed above the three supers on the original hive. A new entrance was made by pulling back the mesh. Another entrance was also created in the supers. This action, I thought would be enough but the following week during inspection the queen had obviously lost a considerable amount of weight. Oh no! That must be a bad sign, I thought. And, of course, it was.
Measures to prevent the swarming of honey bees – splitting the colony and checkerboarding the brood box