Bee Update: Yesterday I went out and went through the entire hive, top to bottom, and found (at the top) 2-3 frames with queen cells on them. This means the hive is getting ready to produce a new queen, and then swarm.
So today, we went out to start the process of splitting the hive. We knocked as many bees as we could off all the frames in the top box (to make sure the old queen was down in the bottom of the hive), then put a queen excluder--a thin plastic divider with holes big enough for the worker bees to get through, but too small for the queen--between the top box and the rest of the hive, and left them to their business. The nurse bees will climb back up through the excluder to those frames of brood where the queen cells are located, and after a few hours I'll go out and move those frames over to small nuc boxes, complete with nurse bees and brood and honey and pollen and queen cells.
After a few days the queens should start hatching, and I'll have at least one, maybe two new hives.
Stung twice, in the past two days. It'll be worth it, I hope.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
May 1, 2016: Making Splits