taking bees

Taking bees

Taking bees is the most important work done in the second half of the year and requires complex and extensive work by beekeepers. Taking consists of the following actions:

  1. Preparation for taking;
  2. Providing the necessary amount of food for the winter;
  3. Irritant feeding for the performance of winter bees.

Preparation for taking bees

Preparing to take begins immediately after the end of the honey harvest season. Includes cleaning beekeeping companies from varied and preparing beehives and honeycomb frames. It is important to keep in mind that the beginning of the preparation of taking coincides with when the bee colonies enter the phase of reducing the mass of bees, and the varroa reaches its maximum development. When bee colonies are severely affected with varroa, the ratio of bees and varroa maybe 1: 1 when the preparation of taking begins.

This is an alarming situation, even if such bees do not enter the winter in the spring, so at the beginning of August, rigorous measures are taken to control and eliminate varroa in winter bees. You can apply various methods of elimination by natural means, I am even a supporter of the application of chemical means, considering the seriousness of the problem, but only on bees that will not enter the winter, that is. to complete the treatment by 01.08. After that, continue with the natural preparations and methods of professional beekeepers.

Hive disinfection

Simultaneously, the hives are disinfected internally and the outer part by spraying with the preparation EM-1 to disinfect the hive and the terrain in the ratio of 10 ml of the preparation per 10 l of water. The hive inside is sprayed completely with bees, brood, and honey, and spraying is done with a fog sprayer.

The applied effective microorganisms develop and occupy all the hive surfaces, taking away the living space of the varroa. Thus, an unfavorable terrain and poor conditions for varroa and disease development are obtained. The naturalness of using EM-1 is in conquering living space and creating unfavorable conditions for development, and not physical destruction – it is practically moving away from the beehives.

For wintering, it is also necessary to arrange the space for winter life, moving full frames with honey in the middle and half-full at the ends. My method of preparing frames with honey and honeycomb showed full functionality, justification, and usefulness. Me on every frame, I open 4 holes of about 10 mm each for bee communication in the hottest part of the hive, which bees gladly accept, and if they didn’t need them, they would easily close them anyway.

It is the best at the same time connection with food because bees can move in all weather conditions in the warmest part of the hive and maintain a constant temperature in the whole area with the bees and be in constant contact with food. The taking material is placed directly on the stones. There is no free space in which moisture and unused heat are concentrated, so heat retention is fully ensured in the most populated part of the hive, which allows the bees a more comfortable stay inloose club.

Providing the required amount of food

Providing the required amount of food is the next task of preparation for taking, and it is done promptly, leaving the bees enough time to process the food and close the lids. You should take strict care not to be late because if it gets cold, the bees’ working ability will suddenly decrease, and the food will become acidic and will not be suitable for winter use. By this period, every beekeeper has already gained insight into the existing quantity and quality of food prepared for winter. He should supplement the amount of food 20-25 kg per hive during this period. Food supplementation is performed daily in addition to a larger amount of syrup, i.e., how many bees can take over and place in the cells overnight. Some authors and even beekeepers claim that sugar has a detrimental effect on the bee colony’s development. There is as much truth here as poisonous material used to make white sugar.

Sugar syrup is incomplete, simple, and simple, so apart from sucrose, it has few nutrients that do not ensure the normal development of bees and quality brood nutrition. This is neither desirable nor advisable. The syrup should be enriched with vitamins and proteins, and other nutrients and used only as such. In eastern countries, the syrup is enriched with skim milk, fresh eggs, or lemon, among other things. I personally do not use simple syrup, but I add 5% boiled baker’s yeast, citric acid, EM-1 preparation, and defatted soy flour.

My practice confirms the justification of these supplements because I achieve a high mass of worker bees, average bee products above the average in Serbia, the vitality and working mood of workers, and high health. The whole operation of adding food should be completed by September 15. From then on, it continues with irritating feeding as long as the weather allows, that is, until the end of October. If this is done, you will notice all the bees in November, which is very favorable for the complete taking.

Irritant feeding

Irritant feeding is producing young and healthy winter bees, which achieves complete quality and high health status of winter bees and a good start in the renewal of society and replacement of taken bees. This operation is performed from the end of the companies’ filling with the necessary quantities of food until the end of October in the plains, while in the hilly and mountainous areas, you should do this work much earlier.

Upon completing these actions, the taking of bee colonies can be started, which is also performed in two phases. The first preparatory phase aims to start maintaining the internal heat promptly, especially in the space for creating a club and creating conditions for the last young bees to come out. The turning point is the unstable weather situation and the lowering of the outside temperature 20-25 ° C. There is a big difference between the required temperature of 36 C ° and the actual one.

Maintaining the required temperature, bees provide increased food consumption. Particularly weaker companies have abnormal consumption, but they are left without significant quantities at the end of January, so in February, they begin to decline irreversibly. Beekeepers are generally very worried when something like this happens, wondering why bees have consumed so much food. If they follow this recommendation, they will find a solution, and if they watch the video I prepared, they will still be able to save their companies.

How is this phase performed?

After arranging the wintering place,  a few newsprint sheets were placed so that the bees now had no opportunity to cross into other streets through the hive and began to manage using open holes. They begin to feel comfortable moving, and communication continues beneath the satanic. When they accept the new situation and feel the heat, they attach the placed paper to the satin carrier with propolis, and if they do not accept it, they start biting it. The installed paper completely covers frames on the side above the flight, while on the other opposite side are left uncovered frames for 2 cm works security circulation. This is mandatory because, without good circulation, bees suffocate from moisture. Connoisseurs of animals need bees to know that clean air is the second life component of bees: first food, then clean air, then water, heat, etc.

The second phase is performed when the temperature stabilizes between 15 – 20 C °. Complete warming is performed. Warming is done by placing an empty frame wrapped in newsprint to the partition board and the wall on the other side, thus reinforcing the previously installed thermal insulation. It needs to be controlled and ensure good circulation. Newsprint must not be moistened, and if the moistened circulation is not good, you should increase the uncovered part. Warming material is also placed on the attic board. Now the bees are starting to live comfortably in newspaper comfort, within reach of food, they are allowed to move to other streets. There are no winter expenses, so the renewal process begins around January 15 with the first eggs’ laying.



When the process of taking is completed, the complete beehive is disinfected. This is done on my recommendation using EM-1. The front side is treated by pouring the space 5-10m ahead of summer. The space on the side and back is treated up to two meters because they visit that part less often and spend less time there. By 01.11, the bees have been taken, the space and hives cleared of the germs of all infectious diseases, and the beekeepers are merrily preparing for the New Year holidays, celebrating and waiting for new strong societies.


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