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Culling Without Killing

When we reach mid-summer, if we have hives that are not starting to produce honey for any reason, we take them out of production. We call this culling, but there is no killing involved. In fact, this process helps us BUILD our apiary in the long run.


Watch this video of me culling a hive from production:



Please note: Be careful to asses WHY your hive is failing. In many cases, it's just that the queen is poorly mated or reaching the end of her productivity, or that they suffered through a 'learning opportunity' by the beekeeper. If you suspect disease in your hive, it is better to deal with that disease in ONE box before you cull the hive and share those frames out between various boxes.


The basic process is this:

  1. Find the queen and remove her from the hive. You can kill her, or give her away if she is still productive.

  2. Set up some bee transport boxes beside the hive, enough to accommodate all of the frames in the hive (we use Pro Nuc boxes; the Hive Butler is another great option).

  3. Go through your frames and set up small nucs with at least 2 frames of brood and one frame of food in each. You can make these stronger by adding more brood frames, but don't make them smaller than that.

  4. Set these nucs up in nuc boxes and decide how you will get each a queen (grafting, walk-away, introducing a purchased queen).

Badabing! Now instead of one weak hive, you've got two or more hives brimming with potential.

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