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Collecting Young Bees

There are several ways to do it

There are several reasons why we may need young bees. Some could be:-

Below are several tricks we can use for collecting young bees, some being more reliable than others.

The following methods are often advised or demonstrated, but I find unreliable. They may work for an experienced beekeeper, but I think the risks are too great for an inexperienced one. On many occasions I have seen nucs made up using some of the methods below, only for the colony to be very short of adult bees the following day.

When doing any of these operations you need to make sure you know where the queen is. You could temporarily cage her or put the frame she is on in an empty box.

Young bees look different than older bees. They have a grey sheen and their wings are close together. For the inexperienced beekeeper it would pay to study bees on combs to gain practice.

With the methods mentioned above where bees are shaken, I have never had a problem shaking bees from several colonies together. If possible I try to shake them alternately, but it doesn't seem to matter much. In my experience the older bees fly off quickly and young bees rarely fight. I tend to mix them up as much as I can.

Colonies that are preparing to swarm can usually afford to lose some young bees and this may help delay swarming.

Some of the above tricks are reliant on the weather, the cooler it is, the more reluctant the bees are to do what you want.

Roger Patterson.