And then there were 2

CSC_0269It is our first attempt at splitting a hive. We searched for advice from many sources and this is what we went with:

-Remove the queen from the original hive and place her in the new hive with brood frames and honey frames (shared between the two hives).

-Face the two hives towards each other and let the bees decide where they want to go. The old hive should make a new queen…we’ll see, it did have two empty queen cells. Not sure if that means this is a new queen (we found her on a brood-less frame??),or if they have already swarmed or if they simply killed off the new queens as they didn’t need them? In any case we have access to a new queen with a phone call if we don’t see something happening very soon.

CSC_0274This frame was a little honey on one side and drone brood on the other. The new bees are in the medium super not the deep. The deep is mostly empty, other than nectar, and there were quite a few dead bees again on the screened bottom board. Winter was extraordinarily long and hard this year so the fact that they made it will have to do.

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The queen but no brood…??? There were other frames with brood, but it didn’t seem like much. Our theory at this point is  try, watch, learn…

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Going with foundation-less frames. We had a container of “biscuits” ( I called them cookies, oops) that serve the purpose of a starter strip. It gives them a place and direction to start building out wax. The original hive came with full plastic frames so we are alternating them to see what happens.
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Bees, Bees galore. Everything looks good, they are calm, busy and seem plentiful. All good signs. One of the deep frames was actually a medium frame that the bees built to fit the deep super. They don’t seem to care what you give them to start, they will fill the space.

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The first bee venturing out from her new home. The hives are loud with confused buzzing and we are enjoying the view.

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Since so much time is spent watching them we might as well be comfortable; it’s better than watching the traffic go by. The bees fly around us, land on us and keep about their business. It is exhilarating and calming at the same time.

Our concerns are the lightness of the frames, is it too soon?  Also, there was one moldy frame that we removed. On the plus side, the bees are pollen heavy going in and we have given each hive a pollen patty ( in the top super of each hive) to help them get started so we are hoping for the best.

Funny thing to say, who hopes for anything else?

Well, we are starting to feel like real bee keepers. Our comfort and ease in handling them is intensely better than our first season, we plan better but still forget something and have to run to the house in full gear, bees in tow ,but it is getting more normal.

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Bee Love.

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