Saturday, March 13, 2010

Making a Split

We've had such a robust early bloom here that the hives are building up quickly. In the case of this hive, I felt the time was right to make a split; especially since another one of my hives is slowly but surely dying off.

In a split, you look for a combination of capped brood, open brood with eggs, and food. You also want plenty of "nurse bees;" the ones who are young enough that their job is to feed brood. They haven't flown out of the hive and foraged, so they have no point of reference--- meaning they can be moved and they'll stay with the new hive. Most of the foragers you unavoidably take with you on a split will go back to their original hive, unless your move is more than a couple miles away.

Anyway, here's a shot of the targeted hive, after having removed the two top supers. I found the queen in this medium hive body, and tons of capped brood. Once I removed it, I took four frames out of the Deep hive body (the bottom one). I hope I got enough eggs; I didn't actually see eggs, but I saw lots of very young, open brood, so I'm reasonably confident there are some eggs there too.

Here's the "nuc"--- short for "nucleus hive"--- loaded with four frames and plenty of bees. I stuck another foundation-filled frame in with them, closed them up, and moved them a few hundred yards away to my other beeyard.

The idea is that this nuc hive will grow a new queen, by feeding royal jelly to several of the eggs (or really young larvae). That queen, once she hatches, will take a mating flight, mate with several drones, and come back and start laying eggs. that entire process, if all goes right, will take about four weeks... so I'll let 'em be 'til this time in April.

Also checked on the hive that's been beleaguered by mites, and found the queen... but not much increase in numbers, if any. This hive may be doomed; but I'm gonna go ahead and hit 'em with Apiguard again. I'm not gonna harvest any honey from them, at least not early in the year, so it's safe to treat.

I'm also going to set a "swarm trap" tomorrow. More on that in a later post.

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