This has been the year of splits. We split the strongest hive at the end of April when we did our last post. The spilt is doing well now. It took it a while to brood up. Of course initially they had to raise and queen, then that queen had to mate and then lay and then wait almost 2 weeks for new workers to emerge. As I write that I realize exactly how long that takes. Here is the virgin queen ready for mating
The middle colony which was so weak remained so for quite a while. I was hoping the durian bees in it were just slow to brood up but they were not getting anywhere (2 frames and end of may!) and we finally purchased a new queen from a bee guy in Windham (Backwoods bee farm).
The strong colony keeps growing and growing. After the spilt they were still going well so we ‘checkerboarded’ them- inserting a frame of foundation into the middle of the brood nest.
W won’t have 4 hives for long. On Friday we are going to the CCBA(Cumberland County Beekeepers Association) over wintering nuts workshop. There we will get two nuc boxes and two northern queens, and (hopefully) the knowledge of how to over winter them. We will then do a through check of all the hives to figure out how best so split the brood. A I mentioned before the beekeeping style and management methods are maturing. Initially I never would have swapped bees and now I am happy to throw a frame from one to another which has resulted in many Frankenstein hives. What we are still working on is honey production! The hives keep wanting to swarm and what I want them to do is just stay put and make more honey. I tried a homemade swarm trap but so far bees don’t like styrofoam coolers :