If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know we’re new beekeepers. We got our first hive back in April. We’ve been checking on the bees regularly and they’re doing quite well.
The week before last Mr Chiots checked on the bees one day while I was gone and he got stung. He looked inside the hive and didn’t see any eggs so he got worried that our queen was MIA. He called Dave, the guy we got our bees off of, for some advice and Dave suggested requeening the hive. So we ordered up a new queen. We were hoping to get an Ohio Queen Project Queen, but the guy we wanted to buy from was out of queens for the year. So we ordered up another lovely Italian lady.
We got the queen. We decided to do one more hive check to see what was going on inside. Low and behold the hive was bustling with activity and the queen was in there doing her job laying eggs and everything looked just like it should. We called Dave and he suggested requeening anyways, which would involve catching and killing our old queen. We didn’t really want to do that because she’s been such a great queen so far, so we decided to do what any crazy beekeepers would do, we decided to split our hive.
We ran out and bought the few things we needed and went about splitting our hive. Basically when you split a hive you take some of the bees from the orginal hive and put them in a new hive with the new queen. You leave her in her cage for a few days so the bees accept her as theirs and then you release her and you’ve got yourself another hive of bees.
Now of course, nothing is as simple or as easy and it sounds on paper or in our heads. There are a lot of steps involved in splitting the hive, the most tedious task being finding the old queen to make sure she’s not in the frames you move over to the new hive.
After searching and searching we finally found her (she is unmarked). She was of course not in the same spot she’s been every other time we’ve checked our hive, which made us a little nervous at first. But we finally found her and put her safe and sound back into her old hive.
The smoker comes in quite handy during these times since it keeps the bees occupied while you’re trying to work. Since we were in the hive for so long looking for the queen we were glad we had it around.
We then moved some frames over to the new hive and put the new queen cage in. Dave suggested we wait 4 days to release her, so today’s the day we plan on doing that. If they accept her, which they should, we’ll how have hive #2 at Chiot’s Run. The one thing we have to worry about is that both of our hives can build up enough reserves of honey and pollen for the winter. We plan on feeding them some sugar syrup through the dry nectar flow in July-Aug so give them the best chance of survival.
So we now have 2 hives at Chiot’s Run. We hope they both are strong going in to winter, if not we may combine them again for better winter survival chances. We haven’t even named the first one and now we have another.
Have you ever done anything crazy where you had no idea what you were doing but went ahead and jumped in with both feet?