A Successful Split
One of our hives swarmed last month. It wasn’t a surprise, but I didn’t expect them to do it this early since the weather has been seesawing with cold temperatures, rain or wind. I put off inspection of the hives because of the weather. I knew from the last inspection that the hive in question came out of the winter with a lot of bees but there were no queen cells. I thought the weather would make it more difficult for them to forage for food, staving off any early swarming. But I was wrong. They swarmed on a sunny day and didn’t even stop in the garden. They just took off headed for the woods.
As soon as the swarm was gone, I opened up the hive and found plenty of queen cells. I promptly split the hive. I moved a whole super, not just a few frames, since there were too many bees in this hive. I also made sure to scrape off all the queen cells but one- the biggest one. I added one new super to this new hive, closed the top entrance with a screen, reduced the bottom entrance to an inch and tucked a clump of grass in to close it off. They will clear the grass to free themselves eventually. Then I fed them.
As for the main hive I split from, I added a new super to the remaining two supers. I also scraped off all queen cells but one. I didn’t spend time looking for the queen. If she in there she will kill off any emerging potential queens anyway.
I inspected the new hive two weeks later. A beautiful queen has emerged.
I inspected all hives yesterday. They all looked great. All have brood combs with uniform patterns and with pollen and honey on each side of the frame. The main hive that swarmed, that I made the split from has built up the population and has plenty of honey already. I may have to split it again to keep them from swarming.
The season is still young and there are plenty of flowers around. Hopefully I can take a couple of honey frames next time I inspect them.