Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Double the Hives

With the center hive (most likely) having cast a swarm, we split the remaining hives (the three on the left are the new hives).

The first hive (on the right in the photo) had several queen cells, and loads of drones! I think the queen must have been rolled or squished at some point with how much drone comb is in this hive. I still have a hard time spotting queens, so I'll have to go over every inch on Friday or Saturday when I check the splits for fresh queen cells.

The middle hive is light on bees, but heavy on bridge comb. I have an adapter between the two layers and the bees have filled the gap with comb. They are starting to work the lower hive body (8-frame medium), but in the future, I'll probably just use a medium nuc until they're ready to expand into a larger box, then switch altogether.

This is my first time splitting hives. I pulled four frames for each nuc (said /nuke/, short for nucleus hive), aiming to have a frame of nectar and/or honey and one or two of emerging brood to care for the new queen and make lots of wax for her to lay in once she's bred. I'm using mostly mediums, so I added a second five-frame hive body right away, and chose to feed them. Even with a bit of grass in the doorways to encourage the older bees to stay, most of them will probably return to their old hives when they go to work the fields.

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