Thursday, April 14, 2016

Finally! The Weather Cooperated and We Split the Hive.

Two 3-box hives with a hive base ready for the split.
What weather. For the past few weeks we've had freeze warnings several days and it's been pretty windy -- not ideal conditions for opening the hives. Today finally, we got an afternoon in the mid 60s with slight wind so we took advantage to make a split of our big hive. We only dealt with that one and will check out the weaker hive, Queen Bianca, later.

We could have made a couple of nukes from Queen Anya's hive, but decided to just split it in half to discourage swarming. We saw the queen, a big beauty. She's in her third year and may swarm anyway, but hopefully by splitting we've created an artificial swarm and she'll think they did it already.

Our bee yard with a new hive. Spring is all about growing!
We only saw one queen cell and we left that in the mother hive which will welcome Queen Rachel shortly. We moved the old queen (Anya) to the new hive with half the colony. There are eggs in both hives so whatever happens we should be okay. Hopefully, having a capped queen cell left behind will give the new hive a faster start since the queens hatch in only 15 or 16 days and a capped cell is already about nine days old.

Then it will take another week or two for the queen to mate and start laying. So in the next three weeks we should see a new queen-right hive if all goes well. We're asking the intercession of St. Valentine, St. and St. Ambrose who are the patrons of beekeepers and St. Rita and St. Francis de Sales who also have associations with bees. With that powerhouse on board we can hardly go wrong!

Note in the picture on the right that the new hive is angled. That may help the bees not go back to the old hive although the ones in that hive likely will want to stay with the queen. We'll go out tomorrow and check the activity. Hopefully bees will be flying into both boxes carrying lots of pollen.

And as a matter of fact, despite the crazy weather the bees have been very actively working and bringing in pollen like crazy. Check out the photos of the busy bees below laden down with pollen to make bee bread which is a mixture of pollen, nectar, and bee saliva, a powerhouse nutrient to feed the brood.

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