Step By Step Guide To Succesful Hive Duplication / Eduction

Ripley Valley Native Bee Hives

Oath Native Bee Hive Eduction / Duplication Process Explained

**This is a simple guide on HOW WE DO Eductions / Hive Duplications

Results will vary depending on a lot of factors including

1. How Full And healthy the Mother Hive is.

2. how you prepare your daughter (empty hive). if you simply use an empty box with no preparation of course your results will be slower.

3. seasons....when its colder the bees are less active, thus build time will be substantially higher...spring - autumn build time will be much faster due to availability of resources

this is just OUR guide on how we do our duplication's

 

 

Part 1 – Preparation and Plumbing/Connecting your hives

 

Preparation of hive:

 

The below advice on coating hives is not mandatory for an Eduction, but it’s just how we do them, and we have a proven record of Strong hive growth from the very start.

Begin with a Ripley Valley Native Bee Hive for your daughter hive (new duplication hive - EMPTY)

We coat all of our Eduction hives with a Secret mix of propolis wax (we cant tell you exactly what’s in our recipe – it’s a secret lol) you can start with a mix of 80/20 apis wax and native bee wax collected from rescue hives or your own hive, melted in a water bath till liquid as a good base. It will look a little like mud on the bottom, but that’s good.  or you can buy our refined wax in the shop HERE

Use a blow torch (if you purchase wax in a block) to melt it down, roll around the inside of the empty hive or use a paint brush to apply to the inside of the hive. place down newspaper, it’s going to be messy!!

Make sure your coating gets into all the nooks and crannies sealing up all the gaps, Your bees will love you for it, as they wont have to work as hard sealing the internals as they normally do in other eductions…trust us when we say they will begin building the structure of the hive within 24hrs done this way provided your mother hive is strong and healthy. A recent observation of a non-coated hive and a coated hive, from the same mother hive…our coated hive built more in 24hrs then the non-coated hive did in 2 months…so we changed hives to a standard oath coated hive. And it’s going gang busters.

Now you’re ready for plumbing.

Plumbing – Attachment to mother hive:

If you have purchased one of our duplication kits they are plug and play, just insert one end of the fitting into your daughter (empty hive) once you drill a 14mm hole in the rear, then insert the other entry into your mother hives entry..its that simple

if you are doing your own hookup with your own fittings and hose heres how we do it.

We connect our hives with 19mm or 14mm fittings – You can use a short length of garden hose (use a 14mm drill bit for this size hose) or a 19mm piece of black irrigation pipe works too…you can then use a “T” piece instead of drilling a hole in the pipe and covering with tape. Keep your connecting tube as short as possible.

firstly make sure you have a strong platform to sit you eduction box on directly infront of your mother hive, if its a log, make a platform and either fix it to the log, or you can even use a besser block or something else to get the right position.

  1. Put a pencil mark in the centre of your lower brood box on the rear end. (opposite side of the entry hole) matching the height of your mother hive entry.  Use a 19mm spade bit or 14mm drill bit or spade bit (garden hose only) to bore a hole into the brood box all the way through.
  2. Place Conduit or hose into the hole – You can glue into place with a 2-part epoxy if you wish (we don’t use epoxy, we use propolis to keep things natural)
  3. In the Top of the conduit drill a 6-7mm hole – This will be the exit further along in the Eduction process – Place tape over the hole in the meantime, this will force the bees in the mother hive ( your hive containing bees) to enter and exit the daughter (new empty hive) hive during the Eduction process.
  4. Now Drill with the same drill bit or spade bit you used for the rear of the new daughter hive into the entry of the mother hive. You only need to go as deep as necessary for a good fit, or use a hose that is appropriate for your mother hives entry hole.

 

  1. if it’s a log mother hive, only drill 2/3rds inch into the hive, or better yet, use a dektite floor flange available at bunnings. if you have drilled you mother log hives entry clean out the entry hole until you see bees re exiting the hive as normal, if they don’t start exiting as normal, try to find the source of the blockage (most probably you have smeared wax and resin over the exit point. to fit a dektite flange, use timber screws to fix to the log, and a small bead of silicone to seal up the gaps if you have any.
  2. If it’s a timber man made mother hive, drill the entry/exit hole that is currently used, but don’t go all the way through to the main box ( just deep enough to get a good seal with the connection hose is sufficient)

You can also use a 20mm hole saw, this will make a recess around the current entry hole that you can slip the 19mm conduit into but remember not to go all the way through to the inside of the box. Ripley valley native bee hives already have a 14mm entry hole in the front of your hive, so no need to do anything except clean out the recess and hook up.

Now you’re ready to connect you daughter hive to your mother hive. please read part 2 below.

Just remember to make a good seal around your plumbing, we use propolis, if you roll it in a thin string, you can press it around your pipes ( wet hands makes it easier, and if you place the propolis under some running hot/warm water it will make it pliable.

****There is really no right or wrong way to do an Eduction setup, we can only guide you with our experiences in the field, the main focus should be on making the new hive as inhabitable as possible & forcing the bees to enter and exit the old hive through your new hive. You must not leave any leaks for bees to bypass the intended route of exiting and entering.…remember Eduction is not a quick process, it depends on a lot of factors out of your control, but we can give you the very best tips and tricks to see your Eduction work successfully every time. In saying this Eductions don’t always work, your mother hive needs to be very strong and unsplit to be viable for Eduction in our opinion. Eduction also has somewhat to do with the internals of your daughter hive, this is why we coat our hives, it sends the bees into overdrive, and they don’t need to spend time sealing it up.

 

 

Part 2 – Hive duplication process

 

Hive duplication:

Remember these results are based on OUR Hives..and OUR Preparation, if you don't wax your hive, this will be MUCH MUCH slower.

Evening before day 1 : Hook up your hive in the evening, make all your preparations for plumbing etc BEFORE you hook your empty daughter hive up. hook your daughter hive up when the foragers have returned to the mother hive for the day.

 

Day 1: So assuming you have your mother and daughter hive hooked up the night before, now you need to cover your mother hive so that foragers don't return to that hive. keep it covered for a couple of days, a thin sheet, or something sufficient to hide the hive or log is good, native bees are very visual creatures, so if they cant see home or the old entry hole they will begin to return to the new daughter hive entry (they may be a little confused for a day or so but they will work it out pretty fast)

Week 1:

So your hive is all hooked up, bees are flowing in and out as normal. In week 1 you should notice a few things changing on the inside of the daughter hive.

Day 1 you should see a lot of bees inside the daughter hive, mostly up around the top viewing panel, this is because its one of the only places we can’t seal internally. But we can place resources there for them to use readily, we tape the top surface leaving a 10cm section on the INSIDE EDGE and place/paint melted propolis along this edge (sealing the view panel down)

Day 2 - 7 By the end of day 2 you should see a thin line of propolis and sealing material forming around the edge of the viewing panel. We have seen hive view panels sealed in overnight on our very active log hives – remember our hives are very very strong, and our bee numbers inside our duplication's with our log hives will be more than using a standard oath hive for duplication. But nether the less you should start seeing that the bees have fully sealed the top rim of the hive

You should also start seeing the bees creating a lip around the rear entry and the inside of the exit (front exit / entry), they are starting to build entry structure. This will continue on for the rest of the build, They are building thier defensive tunnels.  they will begin by building a tube at each end, followed by spires around it, this is all to do with the defensive structure within to keep pests at bay.

WEEK 2 ONWARDS:

Day 7 – Onwards you will start seeing spires develop on the side walls, rear walls and base first. This is the beginnings of structure, you may also see small cup like structures being built, notably on the sides towards the corners, and along the base in the corners. these will become pollen and honey pots….if you see this happening, chances are the bees are provisioning the hive, generally when we see this we know things will be moving ahead soon with luck.

Once you see a good amount of structure developing AND ONLY WHEN YOU SEE A GOOD AMOUNT of structure, you can take 2 paths with the eduction detailed below.

 

 

 Method 1

Natural method : you can just leave the internal structure building at this point, we have seen our own hives start building brood in as little as 14 – 20 days, but it can also take a lot longer upwards of months. and depending on the species 12 months or more. You cant rush bees, they work on bee time not ours, once you see brood being built, you know there is a queen laying, so its vital you watch carefully from this point

If you have access to a solar wax Melter or propolis you can provide extra wax to the bees during the building, we have found through our research that they build faster with access to wax, our method for doing this is as follows:

Open your view panel, we smear wax around the top ¼ edge of the hive, we do this in an almost liquid / melted chocolate consistency state, so you get a nice clean soft wax layer…the bees will start gathering from this available wax straight away, and begin to build new structure with it. We do this periodically, or when you can see the wax has all been utilised. They will also use it to supplement the mother hive for new structure inside that hive as well, so don’t be too concerned if the amount of build doesn’t seem to reflect the amount of wax you gave them.

If you have a t piece installed on the eduction tube, you can open this once the brood is around golf ball sized, that way the mother hive wont kill off your queen. This allows the bees to choose which hive they want to be a part of.

The brood will begin hatching in 50 days from first lay. TIME THIS for disconnection from the mother hive.

 

We check our rear eduction tubes regularly, so we do it slightly different, if the main mother hive seals the tube off, we know its successfully ready to be disconnected, simply disconnect and move forward an inch till the tube is free of the mother hive, that way you will gain new foragers everyday and the mother hives colony is free to enter and exit the hive without the need to exit through the daughter hive.

In a few days remove the daughter hive to a new location in the garden.

remember you can only move your hive around a meter per day..OR take it somewhere over 1km away for a couple weeks to reset the native bees gps.

 Method 2

Seeding Method: once you see a good amount of structure, you can seed with brood (advancing front is preferred) either from your mother hive or from a rescue of corresponding species, or you can purchase from a couple suppliers with guaranteed queen cells attached.

Place 1-2 discs (you can use as little as ¼ disc if there are queen cells but we think a bit more is better) of advancing front brood in the centre of the hive, the bees will very quickly cover this with involucrum and begin building structure. At this stage a princess will be released from the mother hive with luck, or your workers will begin hatching a new princess from the queen cells in the brood. This can take time as they hatch the brood that is ready to be hatched.

Once your princess has been mated, she will begin laying post haste, and your brood will begin building in size, its very important you adhere to the 50 days rule at this point…from the first day you see new open cells, and a queen laying, wait 50 days to disconnect, this way you don’t get any lag in bee hatching, and you will have a good diverse range of bee ages in your hive.

As always either open the t piece at the rear or keep a very close eye on the tube itself, if its sealed off, this is your prompt to disconnect, DO NOT DELAY as the mother hive will kill your new queen, and you will have to wait until a new queen has been mated..

 

 

Once disconnected move the hive an inch forward of the mother hive entry, and in a day or so, move to a new location in the garden, your eduction is complete..

remember you can only move your hive around a meter per day..OR take it somewhere over 1km away for a couple weeks to reset the native bees gps.

 

At this point we either hook up a new hive (only ever do 2 eductions back to back) Then give the mother hive a rest for a period of near 2 months (MIN 50 days) allowing them to rebuild stores and go through a complete hatch cycle (50 days) so you have a new crop of workers to build a new hive next time you hook up an empty hive.