Friday, April 10, 2009

Split = 4 Hives ?

Well I am about to learn something, it may be a positive learning or a negative learning.

On the advice of my mentor I went ahead and split Hive #2. However, I made two big errors which may or may not be very bad.

So, I will back up. Hive #2 was my very successful hive. I got home a little early today, 80 degree weather and dug into it. The hive was still going strong, bees all the way to the top (4th) box. The top box was mostly frames being drawn and honey stored. The bottom three boxes were each 3/4 filled with brood frames, many had larva and eggs, many with honey around the edges. So, I decided to go ahead and do the split. The reason for the split is essentially a controlled swarm. The bees want to swarm when they get this big, so instead of letting them, the hive is split so that two hives now exist.

I looked at every frame, one by one, both sides several times - and I could find no queen :( I know she is or was recently in there bacause I clearly saw eggs. So, I had a decision to make, go ahead with the split or not? I decided to go ahead, not knowing where the queen was. I took boxes 1 and 3 and left them in the current position. In box #2 there were some swarm cells (queen cells at the bottom of a frame), some were empty, one had a larva in it. I put boxes 2 and 4 in the new location. So error #1 was not knowing were the queen is.

But, lets talk about that. If I did know were the queen was I would have made sure that she was with the boxes without the queen cells. But not knowing she may be in either place (or perhaps she got lost in the opening and transfer). My hope is that werever she is, she will survive and thrive and that in the other hive they will make a new queen. Anyway, I now have a new Hive #3 - I hope.

But - Error #2, I put the new hive in the same yard as the old hive. This could be a problem because the bees may simply return to the old hive and then there would be no bees to in one of the hives and potentially an overabundance in one hive - aargh.

In addition to the massive manipulation above - I was not done. I also took some frames of foundation and inserted them in between the frames that had the heaviest load of brood. Again, I am trying to give them room to grow the brood chamber so they will not think about swarming.

OK, on to Hive #1. Again this hive did not have any activity going on in the top box (it is a deep and a medium only). Down in the deep there was some brood, but not a lot. There were also some supercedure cells [queen cells on the face of the frames] so I am hoping they are fixing their own problems.

Hive #4. This hive is still staying at one box, although they had put some honey in the upper box. I put some empty frames down in the brood area to give them some space there, but not really sure what is going on with this one.

Well, that's it. As always comments are welcome.

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