I'm down to only one hive of bees. A beekeeper should never have just one hive. You can always try and fix a weak hive with another hive, but if you don't have another hive, no fix. Thus, I am going to create another hive. Magic, you say? Not on my part but I do think the bees are quite magical. As I've explained before, honey bees swarm. That's their natural way of reproducing. The old queen leaves the hive and takes about 60% of the bees with her. The remaining bees are left to create a new queen. That's the magical part. They create a new queen by feeding a bee larva (a freshly hatched egg) with royal jelly, aka the magical potion.
So why don't I just let nature take its course? Because sometimes the beekeeper really does know better than the bees. One of the biggest tasks of the beekeeper is to prevent his/her bees from swarming. Why? Because more times than not, the bees will swarm when the beekeeper is not present. So if the beekeeper doesn't know where the bees are, it's impossible to capture them and place them in a new hive. Often, the bees swarm to a place out of reach to a beekeeper such as the top of a tree. No chance of getting them there.
Usually, a swarm will not survive the winter as our world no longer offers enough safe and protected nesting spots for honey bees. Also, the bees probably won't have time to build up enough food to survive the upcoming winter. Due to our overly cultivated landscape, the bees are unable to find nectar after July. And let's not forget the varroa mite. So even if the swarm is lucky enough to find a secure home in nature and has time to store enough honey to survive the winter, the varroa mite will get them for sure. Unfortunately, honey bees just can't survive in the wild anymore. They need treatment to keep the varroa mite at bay. And on top of all that, I don't really want to go get my bees from my neighbor's terrace.
So I am going to assist my ladies with their magic. I will remove three brood combs along with their bees and place them in a new brood box. Make sure the comb has open brood.
I will also remove two honey comb frames and place them on either side of the brood frames in the new hive. So that means we have moved five frames totally from the old hive to the new hive.
We replace these frames with empty frames in the old hive. This gives the bees more space to build, so they lose their urge to move out (aka swarm). Make sure the queen isn't sitting on one of those frames though. The queen needs to stay in the original hive. Fill up the rest of the space in the new hive with five empty frames. So, we need ten empty frames in total, five for the old hive and five for the new hive.
When all of the frames are moved into the new hive, it should look like this.
Next step, patience. Four weeks later, we can check and see if the magic worked. At this point we should see freshly hatched brood.
abracadabra, sim sala bim....