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Artificial Swarms and Splits

May 27, 2014

Wednesday 21st  May

Today’s job was to check out the ‘original’ (now queen-less) hive which I artificially swarmed last Sunday. The purpose of this inspection was to check for, and if necessary reduce the number of, queen cells.

On opening the brood box we (my son and I) found the one sealed QC, which I had also previously seen on 18th, still intact. In addition there were 4 further (i.e. new since 18th) sealed queen cells, plus another half-a-dozen emergency cells (charged) and under construction.

We destroyed all of the emergency queen cells, carefully removed 3 of the 4 ‘new’ sealed queen cells, destroying the 4th (unsalvageable); we left the original cell intact.

The 3 QCs that I cut out, have gone into my incubator at 33 degrees Celsius. I want to see if I can hatch my own queens…by my reckoning they should hatch (if they’re going to!) between 26th and 29th May. Watch this space.

My next job will be checking the second half of the split that was originally made on 28th April. I’ll do that this coming weekend, probably. I’m hoping to find a mated queen, laying eggs…fingers and toes crossed…!


Monday 26th May

I got around to checking the second half of the split (as taken on 28th April, exactly 4 weeks ago) this evening. I was hoping to see some sign of eggs and/or brood. I checked each and every frame twice – no sign of any laying, and neither did I spot a queen. This is not great news.

The queen cell, with the neat hole in the end, is still there, and the hive is looking well organised with lots of polished cells, stores around the edges of the frames (no nectar/stores in the middle) – so there is still hope. Last year, when I had a queenless colony, the broodbox was a mess with stores all over the place; this is not the case at the moment with this split, so I’m hoping that just a bit more patience is required. I’ll check again in a week, but if nothing then, I’d say my new queen has met with an accident and the split will therefore be a write off.


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