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Home > International > Apiaries > 6-frame bee hives

6-frame bee hives

The 6-frame bee hives represent the main element of our production. We actually own more than a 1000 and overwinter more than 800 yearly.
End of March-beginning of April, while the colonies are on 5 or 6 frames, we remove 2 or 3 open frames to start a swarm in a new hive. The rest of the colony (overwintered queen + 3 brood frames and honey + the foragers) is sold on the market- in overwintered swarms.

It is on the colza blossoms that the new swarms are getting developed. We will find them on 6 frames one month and a half later.

Until 2012, we were producing a second set of swarms just before the sweet chestnut’s blossoms. At the end of May-beginning of June, we were removing 2 or 3 opened frames from each colony.

  • we were starting a new swarm with a 11 day old royal cell able to overwinter at the end of the season,
    -* the rest of the colony (spring queen + 3 brood frames and honey + the foragers) were sold in swarms of the year.
    Since 2013, we are more focussed on our honey production than on our sales of swarms of the year. In parallel, the less time dedicated at the second set of swarms lets us more time for the development of more nuclei and for the sale of fertilized queens.
    -* a part of the hives’ population is dedicated to the pollination of semen productions,
    -* the other part of the bee population is used for the production of honey in 5-frame honey chamber and also for the elite strains’ testing. In 2010, the average production of a colony was of 3 honey chamber (25 kg of honey). The best one filled 7 honey chambers, which represents 55 kg of honey.

The small hives’ behaviour:

Anti-varroa treatments:

  • Summer: 2 treatments of oxalic acid by drops + pieces of cardboard soaked with amitraz. The treatments start as soon as we begin the honey chambers’ crop (before the winter laying)
    -* Winter: 1 treatment of oxalic acid by drops + pieces of cardboard soaked with amitraz, out of the brood.

The feeding:

  • The feeding of the hives represents a major step for our production. We feed the small hives during fall: generally we need 2 to 3 kg of syrup for all the colonies and twice the quantity for the smallest swarms.
    -* The second half of March is a critical period for us. In fact, the colonies expand quickly at this time and the nectar incomes are poor if the weather is bad. This is the reason why we often have to counterbalance the reserves’ insufficiencies.
    -* During the swarms’ constitution, we systematically distribute a little quantity of diluted syrup, right after the royal cells’ insertion.

The different formats of hives used on our farm specializing in queen rearing and the swarms production

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