March 2016

Northwest Arkansas Beekeepers Association

March Meeting 2016

Fayetteville Arkansas

March 14, 2016

Club President: Brad Keck

Vice President:

Treasurer: Victor Mathis

Secretary: Brian Hauck

There were 98 in attendance at the start of the meeting.

Brad Keck opened the meeting by welcoming new beekeepers. Over half in attendance were new beekeepers who had attended the Bee School sponsored by NWA Beekeepers Assn.

Thanks to Brad for providing the food and drinks for the meeting. Every meeting, two members provide food and drink for the meeting. Volunteers sign the list and bring food a bit early to the meeting in time to set up before the meeting starts. If you would like to volunteer, please see Brad or Brian.

Email list: If you would like to receive the NWA Beekeepers Newsletter, please contact Brian at 479-295-3870.

New club honey extractor: The club has a second honey extractor that can be borrowed for extracting your honey. See Brian for contact information.


Mark Eaton gave a presentation outlining the procedures for installing new package bees.


Package bees are picked up at the post office. 3 or 4 frames are removed from the center of the target hive box. Install a restrictor in the hive entrance set for the smallest opening size. The bees are sprayed with a 1.1 sugar water solution. Remove the can and set aside. Remove the queen cage and set aside. Carefully dump the bees into the open space in the target hive box. Set the empty package near the hive entrance so that bees left in the package can find their way easily into the hive. Carefully reinstall the frames removed at the start. Don’t force them back or you will hurt many bees. Remove the cork in the queen cage. Install the cage between two center frames so that the queen exit hole with the sugar plug is facing up. Close up the hive. Wait four days to open and verify that the queen has been released.

Dr. Jim Pickett gave a presentation on how he splits a hive. This is an awesome way to split a hive and has worked very well for me. I highly recommend this technique!!

Splits can prevent swarming. Splits increase your number of hives economically.

You will need a new queen for the new hive. Queens can be bought or produced by the new hive. Counting on the new hive to make a new queen can be time consuming and risky. At best, it will take 16 days to grow a new queen. She will then need to go on a mating flight. Then she will lay eggs for workers that will take another 21 days to hatch. So it can be a month and a half before you see any new bees. A bought queen will begin laying eggs immediately and you see new bees in approx. 21 days. So it is best to buy a queen if you can.

Dr. Pickett’s split technique:


Start with a two box hive, which we will call the mother hive.. Also have a new hive box ready with drawn out comb (best) or foundation, which we will call the new hive.

Remove four center frames from the new hive. Smoke the mother hive and carefully search for a frame with open brood and capped brood. Shake off the bees carefully and install in the new hive. Make sure there is no queen on the frame. Repeat one or two more times. Find one frame of honey or nectar and install in the new hive. Replace the frames taken from the mother hive with the frames removed from the new hive at the start. Rebuild the mother hive and top with a queen excluder. Set the new hive on the excluder and install a short 2” frame then a cover. The 2” frame will provide room for the queen cage in a later step. You now have the mother hive below an excluder with the queen and the new hive on top of the excluder with no queen.


Let sit overnight. Overnight, nurse bees and workers will go up and cover the brood in the new hive. In the morning, take the new hive of and set it on a waiting bottom board. Close the entrance and seal it. Use a strapping device to keep the hive from coming apart in transit. Install a cover on the mother hive or install a honey super on top of the excluder and install a cover on the super. Take the new hive to a new location 2 miles or so away and set on a stand facing SE. Open the entrance and leave.


Return after at least four hours. Open the cover and lay the queen cage on top of the frames parallel to the frames. Observe the behavior of the bees. They will probably cover her immediately! Pretty cool! Close it up and don’t return for four days.

After four days, remove the cover and see if the queen has been released. If not, make sure the cage is OK and give it a few more days. When you see that she has been released, close it up and let the hive be for a week or so, then move the new hive to its’ permanent location. Now you have two hives for the price of a queen!!

Thanks Jim for a great presentation!

Our next meeting will be April 11, 2016

Hope to see you then!!!

Peace BEE with you!!