The basic concept of how I was going to do my splits was to select two frames of open/capped brood and two frames of honey/pollen from the donor hive and place them into the 5 frame nuc box. The remaining frame would be an empty frame with plastic foundation with the new queen cage on it. Key number one is making sure you don't accidentally transfer your existing queen into the new hive!
I began in Green Hive by quickly scanning a few frames in the honey supers just to see how they were doing. Almost every frame of foundation was drawn and filled with nectar. They are doing great! I then removed the two honey supers and started going through the brood boxes. The first few frames on the outside were solid honey. After I made a few adjustments to the bulges in the comb, I transferred them to the nuc box. Two honey frames done. Now to find the brood frames and the queen. Next few frames had some eggs and a lot of honey so I didn't take them. Frame five had some nice capped brood, so I meticulously studied it looking for the queen. Flipped the frame over and looked for her again. Back and forth two more times after that and I was satisfied she wasn't there. I walked over to put it into the nuc and checked it one more time. In it went. Frame number six was another good brood frame. Looking....looking....flip....looking....bam! There she is hiding in the gap between the frame and the comb. Each time I flipped the frame she'd run back to the other side. Sneaky! I took a queen marking cup my wife had bought for me and scooped her up into it and set her off to the side (more on this later).
|Queen in the marking cup|
|First nuc complete|
This all sounds pretty simple but all told it took about 3.5 hours!
Remember that queen I had removed and put into the marking cup? Well, the reason I removed her from the hive was because I was noticing many signs from this hive of what I think is Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus. The characteristic symptoms are bees with a greasy black shiny appearance, trembling bees unable to fly, clusters of bees walking on the ground and healthy bees trying to drag the sick bees out of the hive. I was able to spot all of these symptoms.
|Sick "greasy" looking bee|
|Clusters of bees walking on the ground|
|Sick bees being dragged out|
So as far as requeening goes, putting a new queen into the hive is one thing. Removing the old queen is another. And dispatching the old queen yet another. Is it sad that I was getting all worked up over having to kill the old queen? Well, I couldn't get myself to just "pinch" her. Since you can make a swarm lure by soaking dead queens in alcohol, I though about just tossing her into a jar of alcohol. But the thought of drowning freaks me out so I couldn't do that either. I finally decided to put her in the refrigerator. If it is anything like dying from hypothermia, then slowly "going to sleep" from the cold might not be such a bad way to go. I hope it works that way anyway! Green Hive queen is dead. Long live the new queen!
Cut Out Hive:
The bees from the cut out seem to be settling into their new home, Yellow Hive. I have fed them two mason jars filled with honey so far to make up for all the honey I stole from them during the cut out. I found the girls have done a really good job of attaching the combs rubber banded into the frames. And they've started to chew through the rubber bands as well.
|Cut out comb|
|Emergency Queen cells|
I'll be checking the hives to make sure the new queens have been released in a few days. After that I will do another full inspection to make sure there are new eggs and larva. I'll plan on doing some mite sampling at that time as well.
Until then.......thanks for reading!