Today, I went over to one of my apiaries at Lytchett Minster and made a walk away split from one of the very strong hives there, in order to prevent it from swarming.
I was able to take away 4 brood frames and a frame of stores, still leaving the original hive in a strong condition. The lower number of bees, and 5 new frames of foundation to draw out should take their mind off any plans to swarm, and of course, means I now have a new colony.
This new colony, in a 6 frame poly nuc, will stay in my garden apiary to build up. It will raise a new queen from the newly laid eggs and young larvae that are on the frames.
I use vented lids on the poly nucs when transporting them, to help prevent the bees from overheating while they are in the car, and to reduce the stress on them. I will change the lid for a solid one this evening, when I will also add some 1:1 feed to the nuc.
I then went to my apiary at Lytchett Matravers to check the hives there. I found the queen in the super of one hive, and she had been laying in the super frames. I caged her and stuck her in my pocket, to keep her warm and safe. I inspected the rest of the hive very carefully to make sure there were no queen cells, or indeed, another queen. The reason was, I thought the original queen has gone through the queen excluder due to another queen being present. This queen has one of her main wings missing, so cannot fly, meaning the hive could not swarm as they normally would when new queen cells were capped.
I could not find any sign of another queen in the hive, so I released her from the cage into the brood box, where she belongs.
Another hive, which I had created from a split last week was slightly on the weak side, but had 3 frames of sealed brood that was due to emerge any time now, so I did not add any more bees to the hive. There were also 2 sealed queen cells, that had probably been sealed today, meaning things are going to plan as the bees were raising there own queen from the frame of eggs I had given them from the split.
I’ve had to turn down a few swarm calls over the weekend due to my leg being duff, which is a bummer because I could do with more bees to boost my hive numbers up, but that’s life.
I’m still hoping to do a batch of queens this week, all being well, so watch this space.