Our new queen arrived this morning and I got over to the post office at noon to pick her up and hurry her home. When I opened the priority mail envelope, I could see that she was alive and well in her cage. I put a drop of honey on the screen and put her in the drawer until I was ready to install her.
The options were:
1. Install her into the existing hive that swarmed a few days ago making sure that I removed all the queen cells from the hive (seems like a daunting task given that there are 24 frames in the hive).
2. Create a split. Pull a frame or two of brood, some frames of honey and, of course, some bees and install the new queen.
I had to inspect thoroughly to make that decision.
A nice, sunny day in the low 60s, I went straight to the bottom box, setting the other two boxes aside. Here are the details.
- I quickly found a couple of queen cells, but I didn't remove any yet until I'm sure that's what I want to do.
- I soon found an uncapped queen cell and that convinced me that introducing the queen into this hive would be a bad idea.
- So I proceeded with plans to make the split, going through each frame to select the likely candidates for the new hive.
- During the process, I located a queen in the middle box; I assume that it's a virgin that has emerged since the swarm.
- I quickly put that frame away and select the remaining frames for the split from the other box.
- Even though we had a swarm less than a week ago, there are still A LOT of bees in this box.
- I close up that box and because there are so many bees, decide to put a honey super on top of the two deeps.
- Our hope is that this queen gets mated and she reigns in this hive. We will look in about a week to see if there are any signs that she is laying.
- Then I put the new queen cage in the split. I probably should have waited a little while (several hours), but I
didn't. I included a couple of frames that were partially covered with capped brood, a couple of frames of honey and filled out the box with frames of partially filled comb.
- I left the cork in the queen cage and will leave it there for a few days.
- I added some 1:1 sugar syrup in an entrance feeder and reduced the entrance to one small opening.
Now we'll give them a few days to get acclimated to the new queen. I'll inspect the other hive in about a week to see if the new queen has been mated and is laying.