Making My First Split: Working with a TBH

The “Green Hive” was a thing of wonder! It came out of the winter so strong and so healthy that we harvested 15lbs of honey on our first inspection to make room for the growing brood nest! I decided that the time was ripe for a split! I thought about it for weeks before going ahead with it. I really wanted to time it right, and I wanted to do it right! I did my hive inspection and saw 4 queen cells in the making, and I knew that if I did not get in there and split them, they would swarm and I would probably miss them! Then the rain came, and it came for almost 10 days. I worried and worried! I worried that the bees would swarm and I would miss them, that the old queen would be killed in a battle with a newly hatched, but mostly I worried that the new queens would be wasted in the hive, and not be there for when I want to split the hive. I wanted to take one of these queens to my other beehive which could use a little of this hives winter survival spunk!

So, I went in 10 days ago, after the rain, and to my dissapoinment, all of the queen cells that were there the week before were destroyed and there may have been an unmated queen there, but I didnt see her. Unfortunatly for me in making the split, there weren’t any eggs to be seen. This queen had been there for over a week, based on the larval development, and hadn’t done much but laid a few misc. drones. Alas, as I worked my way through the backend of the hive I cam across 2 more queen cells: one capped, and one with a big juicy larva in it! I could make my split! So, I took the 2 comb with a healthy supply of capped worker brood and 2 combs full of heavy honey stores, and pinched on the uncapped larval cell! I left the other in the mother hive, just incase the mother hive didnt have a queen!

So, after much sweating and worrying, I went in to the hives today, 10 days after the split and after another 10 days of less then 20 degree days, and found the split to have a capped queen and the other mother hive to have a bunch of drones and hatched brood, but no eggs. My first instinct was to panic, then I calmed down and called Bill Stagg and asked him about it. He said that queens dont fly unless its 20 degrees plus out to go on a mating flight! He encouraged me to be patient! So patient I am. Im giving it another week.

The best part of this experience is that with going deeper in to the beekeeping experience, I am becoming tied to the weather. Urban beekeeper or no urban beekeeper, I worried like the rural farmers about too much rain, cursed the rain outbursts and was concerned about what the bees were doing. It is wonderful!

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