I live in central Maryland, and I believe we’re approaching the nectar dearth here, if it hasn’t already come. Here’s a brief review of the past few months/weeks:
- In May, my colony of Carniolans with an Italian queen swarmed a month after being established from a nuc into one, then two 8-frame deep supers. Note: I put a medium super on top as well, and it’s now completely filled with capped honey.
- There were several capped queen cells left, and after hatching, I never found her. For weeks (as I thought I was waiting for a queen to develop) my bees were very irritated.
- I went and got a Saskatraz Queen from a breeder, and a week later both brood boxes were filled with her healthy larvae and eggs…she’s awesome!
- This week I have several frames of capped brood (solid, beautiful pattern!), but it’s starting to look a bit crowded…
Okay, here’s the question: I don’t want them swarming again, so should I split them? I’ve got the equipment to do so, but I just don’t want to end up with two weak colonies because we’re most likely in a dearth. I’m going to plant a lot of bee balm soon, so hopefully that’ll help. Also, I want to treat them for mites soon (I have ApiLife-Var, wanted something ‘natural’, and I’m going to drone cull). If I were to do a split, how would you recommend a setup so that they both make it through the winter? I currently have one colony in two deeps, one medium.
I want to keep that medium super of honey for them so they can make it through the winter (at this point, I just want them to survive, since I lost last year’s colony due to low stores). I don’t really plan on harvesting it, and maybe if I split, I can use some honey frames to boost the two smaller colonies.
One more thing, since it’s June nearing July…because it will take two weeks for the bees to make a queen, should I just go buy one so that they can get started right away if I do end up splitting them? Thanks in advance for your suggestions.