Luke and I are really loving the role of bee keepers. After a long process of splitting two of Luke’s hives and even catching a wild swarm Luke now has 5 hives at his home. And after this week and a successful breeding I should have 4 hives of my own. My two hives are both Italians which are very docile and not prone to swarming but we decided to go ahead and split the hives.
Both of my hives looked healthy and the queens were laying great patterns so we took out 3 brood and egg frames and placed them in Luke’s home made nuc boxes, each nuc was also given two additional frames of honey and half a pollen patty each, this will help supplement the hives until they have their own foragers.
The nuc hives should realize shortly that they no longer have a queen as they will not be able to smell their previous queen’s pheromones. This will cause the nurse bees to create a queen cup around one of the laid eggs and begin to feed the larva royal jelly turning that larva into a queen bee. Once the queen is released from her cell she will fly out for breeding before coming back to lay eggs. There is some potential for failure if breeding is not successful but we plan to back up the hives with purchased queens if necessary. Next weekend if we do not see a queen cup we will order our own queen and add her to the nucs.
We also marked our current queens for ease of spotting though she tends to stick out because of her long abdomen. After the hive inspections and split we added a queen excluder to the right hive as well as a medium honey super.
Luke also wanted to prepare for our two new hives so he went to work with some power tools and scrap wood to build four more deep boxes, two lids and two bases. When they grow out of the nucs we will not be caught unprepared, thank goodness for this very talented and sweet man. I painted the hives with a base coat to match the rest of my lavender fleet. I simply need to add some accents to the front entrances so the bees are able to distinguish which hive is theirs.