Disaster on many fronts.
I chose to do a walk away split on 24th August, Midday, on a nice sunny (with some thin cloud) day. 20deg c .
The hive consisted of two brood box’s. One a regular Lang the other a busso modified Lang to take frames X ways. Did not know which box had the Queen.
The top box a regular 8 frame Lang had 4 capped frames of honey the inner 4 had a mix capped brood, eggs, larve, pollen and honey. This box was taken some 100 m away and left closed for one and half days and opened with bushes. This was the stronger of the hives and has prospered. Yesterday I put another brood box on the bottom because they were running out of room. All good here.
Before I start… no I didn’t have a camera today, wish I did but it was supposed to be all straight forward look and close.
The bottom box of the split, was left where it was and I figured that it would reap the benefit of returning foraging bees. At the time of the split I looked at the frames quickly as it was starting to cool down. There were 12 frames X wise. The first 3 frames from each side had about 90% capped honey and built out out comb. I then looked at the middle two frames and had fully capped brood,eggs and a little honey but they were chockers full. Saw no queen cells or queen. I did not look at the last 4 frames as it looked like they had everything to go.
The first indication that this maybe the queenless hive was they were unsettled and didn’t want me around. Two weeks later they had settled and I figured the Queen had been made and was about to emerge on maiden flight.
Today I decided to go in and investigate and what i found was not good. Mainly because there had been a dwindling of bee numbers over past week and last day or so just one or two bees going and coming. There were three fully capped frames of honey at the back(so they are not starving) and a frame beside that half capped honey. Then (reading from the back) frames 5 and 6 were empty but combed. Then the weird and disastrous bit. Those frames I did not look have come back to bite me big time. The bees seemed somehow to have built from the top of frame7 to the bottom of frame 8 and from the top of frame 8 to the bottom of frame 9 and from the top of frame 9 to bottom of frame 10. It was like not exactly that, but the comb was layered between 3 frames all joined together. Frame 10,11, and 12 were just empty comb.
There were bees, not many and all the X over comb which had a bit of honey and and empty brood cells. I did the best I could with the comb which obviously came apart when I removed them. I did best I could to stick the frames back with just one comb per frame but it is still all messy and I could only comfortably put back 9 of the frames without squishing the last survivors.
My intention now is to recombine the hives back as one although there is only a few handfuls or so. No shb here so no worries there and I will use the newspaper between them.
It begs the question though about my x frame experiment. They are really nice to handle and take no effort, even when full of honey. Why did they chose to build comb the way they did. Interesting, I took out every frame except 2 at the end of March and took the honey and put back the brood. There was still plenty of food around for them and they had refilled most by Mid April.
I am not going to give up on the small frames just yet and will put formed comb, probably plastic, and see if they do better with that. Edit: See I do listen Jeff but tried the foundation less first.
Maybe try different split next time as well.