Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hive 1: The Big Split

Mark consulted a couple of experienced beekeepers about the number of supersedure cells and what to do about it. The verdict: they're trying to swarm, so split the hive.

As Mark had wanted six hives all along, he wasn't going to argue.

So today, he drove to Shannon, MS to buy two queens from Tommy Holman. He has a 220-frame extractor and 600 hives, so Mark was pretty impressed with his operation. For the second time this week, two queen condos were brought to Bee Hill.

Hive 1 originally had 2 deep supers and 2 medium supers. The lower of the two deeps (with the bulk of the brood) and the top medium super full of honey (completely capped) became Hive 6. When I visited Bee Hill tonight, it looked like this (picture at right). I suggested we set a stem of leaves from a nearby plant on the entrance, to give the bees a marker, as I've seen on Steven's Bees. Mark was kind enough to indulge me.

Hive 1 is now the upper of the two originals deep supers, a medium super with honey (though not much is capped), and an empty deep on top to accommodate what we assume will be the greater number of bees. He put a new queen in both hives. Mark didn't look for a queen in the lower brood box when he moved it to be Hive 6, and his hope is that both of Holman's queens will be released and become the dominant forces in each of the "new" hives. The new Hive 1 (pictured at left) also had bees around the entrance, though not as many.

Hive 5, the "Macon" bees, seemed to be thriving and he added a pollen patty. Mark plans to return and add a medium super to make sure they have enough room.

Hive 4 got a jar of diluted honey rather than sugar water, from the odd smelling stuff I processed from the Kemper County project. Odds are it was goldenrod that gave it that odor, which will eventually go away according to the experts, but we'll just use it to feed the bees.

All six of the hives were treated with Terramycin (TM) for American and European Foul Brood.

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