Friday, May 8, 2015

Spring Splits | Splitting Beehives | Kids in the Apiary

Splitting is so fun!
Early splits can be especially nerve-wrecking - you need to order your queen bees months in advance and hope for nice weather to put them in. Miraculously, this past week has been wonderful for making early splits. Lows were in the high 50s and the highs are touching 80s. Apples just started blooming on Monday and the dandelions have been going strong.

Our queen bees arrived on Tuesday 5/5 and we were able to make up our splits later in the day (after 7 pm Eastern).

I made up my splits with 2 capped frames of brood with adhering bees and a frame of open nectar. I also added a patty and filled the rest of the box with drawn frames. Since those splits are in my back yard, I did not remove the cork from the queen cages. I am planning on releasing them on Saturday, 5/9. I left the entrances small for the time being.

Everything went according to plan and my kindergartner assistant was very excited.

The shipping package
Spring queen bees
Filling out the boxes with old brood comb
Here is how it went:
  • Opened up the donor hive and selected 4 frames of capped brood.
  • Transferred the frames into the new boxes, making sure I did not grab the queen.
  • My assistant wanted to see the donor queen, so we went hunting for her. Any guesses where we found her? Yep, she was in one of the freshly made up splits.
  • We ooh-ed and aah-ed over her splendor. And yes, an overwintered queen looks decidedly majestic and ginormous (this is a scientific term ;)) compared to a new spring queen.
  • We moved the donor queen back to her hive, after explaining to her that her kids were missing her (and they were getting angry). 
  • We placed the queen cages on top of the brood. We surrounded the brood the honey frames and placed the patty right on top. Finally, we filled up the remainder of the box with drawn comb.
  • We moved the splits to their new location
  • We experienced a short delay in setting them up while my husband removed a "cute baby mouse" from my hive stand. I don't see anything cute in the little heathens, but oh well...
  • Finally, we filled the feeders and called it a night.

Do your kids want to help out in the apiary?