Ok so I mentioned on another thread that coming into spring Mum’s hive was showing possible signs of imminent swarming- and/or supercedure:
besides the forum we asked many experienced beekeepers at out bee society about what if anything to do. Unfortunately the many varied and all sensible sounding answers we received left us confused.
Anyhow today we took action- and I hope we did the right thing- and if it wasn’t the right thing- at least not a huge mistake:
We inspected the hive to check on the queen cups- we noted that there were not as many as 7 days ago- and those that were there were uncapped and seemingly empty. This is where we possibly made a mistake- as we went ahead with our plan to do a small split regardless.
Our hive has a single brood box and the flow super on top. It is absolutely bursting at the seams with bees, and the flow super has put on a lot of weight in just the last week- there is a good deal of capped honey visible at the ends- and much more uncapped nectar. The bood box is packed with bees capped and uncapped brood- quite a few drones- a lot of pollen stores.
Today we removed three frames with a mix of honey, pollen, capped and uncapped brood- and many bees from the faces of the comb. We also shook in quite a lot of extra bees (two cupfuls at least). We placed these three frames in a five frame nuc ox with two additional empty frames with starter strips of beeswax installed.
When we inspected the main hive we did not see the queen. We checked the frames we removed and could not see her- we think she stayed in the main hive but cannot guarantee it 100%. Also I did not specifically see larvae or eggs today despite looking- though I did see a lot of larvae 7 days ago when we last inspected. In the main hive we replaced the three frames we removed with fresh frames.
I took the five frame nuc split away with me to my house- and I now have it in its new position with the entrance closed- as evening comes on. The bees are trapped inside.
OK- that’s what we did- now my question is where to from here?
I assume tomorrow morning I open up the entrance and let the split bees see their new home? Might they all fly off? What will happen? How long do I leave them be before I do an inspection?
I am worried about one issue: Queens. We now have no proof that either hive has a queen. We are not 100% that there are eggs either- though the assumption is there are. Both hives have some empty queen cups.
How long should I wait before looking into my new little split colony?
We plan to check the main hive again within 10 days to ensure that there are uncapped larvae and eggs visible.
Should I buy a queen (if I can find one) for my little split? Does anyone know where I can get a queen at this time of year? I am in Adelaide. Will it be an issue to find a queen? Should I wait first and see how the bees go making one? They had several partially formed queen cups that went with them. there were enough bees to easily cover all of the frames…
Any other thoughts, comments, anything- I am really keen to hear what people think. Please let me know if you have any questions? Did we screw up? Did we do OK? In between?
Just to reiterate- we are early in Spring in Adelaide- the main hive shows every sign of being very healthy: zero signs of diseases, literally bursting at the seams with bees, bringing in lots of pollen and nectar. The only concern is we didn’t see the queen or eggs- though both are likely there- we just lack the experience and were somewhat panicky about the whole splitting process… this was our first split.