Apicultura Wiki




The most suitable season for transferring is in the spring, when pasturage first becomes plenty, say about the time that peach trees come into blow. Hives rich in stores and strong in numbers may be changed one or two weeks earlier with safety, by giving them a large supply of honey. In the Sacramento, and other valleys having the same resources, the best time is from the 20th of February to the 20th of July, though it may be performed with safety one month later ; but I do not recommend it unless skill and care are exercised. In localities where the pasture fails in June, transferring ought not to be attempted Jater than the 1st of May.


A hive, to receive the transfer, should have the frames provided with the metallic clamps : a box six inches deep, and of a size to fit on the mouth of the hive that the bees are to be driven from, is also necessary. (If the box is simply a square, with a movable cover, it is more convenient for dislodging the bees.)

Tools suited to remove the sides of the old hive, and a table or work bench should be at hand ; also, a wide dish to receive the honey, and a long-bladed knife to cut out the combs ; a roll of cotton cloth for smoking the bees, a wing or quill for brushing, and water for sprinkling them and washing hands, are the preparations required.


The time of day best suited to this purpose is late in the afternoon, or by candle-light. By commencing about one hour before sundown, the operation can be completed before dark. By transferring late in the day or evening, robbers are not so apt to be attracted by the broken honey, which is of great importance, for when they once get a start it is difficult to stop their depredations. It also gives the bees time to reorganize, and clean up the honey that is smeared over the combs before the following day.


When the brood is to be handled in the open air, the temperature should be mild.


If the operation is performed by day, the bees are driven out in a box and left on the stand where the hive stood. The combs, as they are taken out and freed from bees, should be taken into a room where the temperature is sufficiently warm to prevent a chill of the brood. Placing the combs and honey in a room also precludes the attraction of robbers. When the combs have been arranged as hereafter described, the hive containing them and the bees is set in the same place that the original hive occupied, and the bees hived as a natural swarm.


PLATE XLII, p. 293, fig. 69. Driving Bees from Hive, fig. 70. Transferring Comb.

When the operation is performed at night, the bees may be driven and managed in the same manner as by daylight, or all may be taken into a shop or cellar, out of the wind, where all the appliances are at hand.


If the bees are flying, commence by blowing smoke into the entrance, or elevate the hive and sprinkle the bees with pure cold water, and jar the hive for ten or fifteen minutes ; this will prevent the bees that are in the hive from leaving it, and give them time to fill themselves, and those that are out, time to return. The hive is then to be inverted, as represented in plate XLII, fig. 69. B is the hive, and A is the empty box set on the mouth of the hive for the reception of the bees that are now compelled to ascend. A cloth may be fastened around the joint to prevent the escape of the bees.[1] Now with a couple of light sticks commence striking the sides of the hive smartly and regularly, which is to be continued for about fifteen minutes. If there are any openings in what was the top of the hive, but as it now stands, the bottom, blow in smoke to accelerate their movements. At the end of the above time, lift the box which now contains a part of the bees, and without turning or jarring it, place it on a table as represented in fig. 70. A is the box and C is the table ; one side of the box is raised to admit the bees freely. Then with a hammer and chisel remove one side of the hive, to give easy access to the comb. The hive is to be placed with one side against and even with the table, so that the remaining bees can crawl into the box as they are driven from the hive, which is done by smoking or brushing them with a wing or quill. Then with a thin-bladed knife cut out the comb, and gently brush all adhering bees from each piece on the table, and see that they enter the box with the others. The first comb taken out usually contains stores, and should be laid on the table as represented in plate XLIII, fig. 71. D, the comb ; frame K, laid on as a measure to cut it by, so as to fit the frame as represented in fig. 72, which is prepared with metallic clamps to secure the comb in the frame, and is held upright by being stepped in a sill or block prepared for the purpose. When the comb is fitted and fastened, the frame containing it is placed in a hive ready to receive it ; beginning at one side, each comb is removed in the same manner. Each piece should be examined and the part containing the brood should have the preference. Having cut and fitted in the frames with as little loss as possible, the frames, when filled, should be placed in the new hive in such a manner that the brood is in a compact form. When the brood is all disposed of, fill the remaining frames with comb containing stores.


PLATE XLIII, p. 294, fig. 71. Fitting Comb to Frame. fig. 72. Frame for receiving Comb.

If there is more comb than fills the upper section of the frames, a second cross bar may be put in, so that there will be two portions of comb in the same frame. When all is complete, the glass frame and the honeyboard are put in their places and the door closed ; the front slide is taken out, and if any honey has run from the combs, clean it out before commencing to hive the bees. A broad board is placed on a level with the entrance, and the bees are to be shaken out of the box on it and compelled to enter. When all are in, arrange the entrance so that the bees can pass out and in freely.

After all the frames are in 'their places, close the door and leave the lid open ; then hold the box containing the bees closely over the hive, and by a sudden- jar they will fall directly on top of the frames, whence they are easily compelled to go below, by brushing them with a quill or wing, or by sprinkling or smoking them. When this is effected, open the door and adjust the honey-board so as to prevent the bees reascending. When the hive is properly arranged and set on the original stand, the apertures are to be opened for the working of the bees. As soon as they have repaired and fastened the combs, which will be done in two or three days, commence to give them the remainder of the honey. This may be done by placing a portion of the comb under the cluster of bees, or in the chamber. When the honey is taken from this comb, let it be removed and more given, until the hive is well provisioned.


  1. A gum-elastic band three inches wide, and of a suitable length to reach around the mouth of the box, will answer the two-fold purpose of holding the box firmly on the inverted hive, and preventing the escape of bees.