It’s bee’n rough. 2017 was the year of splits. No, no breakups, thank Goddess! Just trying
to make as many splits from the one surviving hive (the Survivors located in the backyard) as possible. By splitting the hive, we create double or multiple new hives. This is fairly easy to do; however, the success of a flourishing new hive is ultimately dependent on weather conditions and on the bees’ willingness to embrace change.
Our first split. Let’s call them the Front Yard Gang. (FYG)
The front yard gang started out as a small nuc (hive) consisting of 5 frames taken from our Survivors:
- 1 frame of brood
- 1 frame with pollen
- 1 frame of honey
- 1 empty frame
- 1 frame with the queen on it (which usually has lots of brood)
- a couple cups of extra bees.
They were placed just around the corner from their original hive (the Survivors). We instantly fed them with sugar water. And they did just what we had hoped they’d do. They produced brood. So we added another nuc (5 frames) on top. When they outgrew that, we transferred them to a dadent (the regular sized 10 frame hive). Since the FYG was going so strong, we decided to make some more splits. For the next two new nucs we had a frame of developing queen cells in each. Out of these two new nucs, one successfully hatched. Let’s call this new nuc the Third Generation (TG). The other nuc did not seem to have a queen but a noticeable large amount of bees AND a hatched queen cell. So…we kept thinking, this queen was just away on honeymoon. We had our hopes up that she would appear soon and kept reinforcing the hive with more brood. Unfortunately, she never did make it back or the weather was too bad for mating. So we’ll call this nuc the Queenless One.
Let’s backtrack to the Survivors. Because we’d transferred their queen to create the FYG, they would have to raise a queen from the brood remaining in their hive. We waited for 16 days but still nothing. Several times we restocked the hive with new brood because she was long overdue. Finally a new queen emerged. Yippee!!! The Survivors were doing well all summer long until their hive was robbed! Can you believe it? And it’s not just a break and enter. It’s a battlefield. Many bees die trying to defend their honey stash as bees from another hive find their way into the lesser protected hive. With such a weakened hive, the bees don’t stand much of a chance for survival. Therefore, we decided to combine the remaining bees, the mega Survivors with the Queenless One WITH a queen excluder in case there now was a queen in the Queenless One. After three days, we checked to find no queens at all. That was disappointing. We dissolved that hive and let the bees find a new home on their own. They’ll be accepted at one of the other hives, if they show up with honey.
If this hasn’t been overly confusing, can you figure out how many hives we now have remaining? Hehe.
In conclusion, the Front Yard Gang is still doing well and the Third Generation has yet to be checked. So we went into winter 2017/18 with two hives. Let’s see what happens next.