I wish this were true. I wish the story ended, and they all lived happily ever after. That is not the case. I think I may have mentioned that during the last few weeks, I have learned a lot about bee keeping. Unfortunately, most of it has been, "Ah hell, we ain't doing that again!"
Sorry, but my language digresses under stress and strain.
Top Five Things to Know about splitting bee hives.
1. Do not do even splits on large hives.
2. Make someone help you move them.
3. When you have a queen that is hard to find, get over it.
4. You have to find her.
5. Just keep looking.
This is truly embarrassing. There are things that I would rather pretend never happened. The problem is that I have this blog, and the whole point of this blog is to talk about what goes on. The truth of things. The good. The bad. The ugly. I recommend that you click on the video below, then continue reading for effect.
This was very painful for me. It made me really sad, but I really didn't know what else to do. I just knew that I had not done enough, and that is something that I have to live with.
Now that you are all asking, "What the heck already?
The day after moving my hives, I looked for queens prior to placing the new queens in the boxes. I did not see queens, so I went ahead and put the new queens in place. I then came home and immediately checked my two existing hives for their queens.
I did not find either of my old queens.
There were definitely some moments of panic. I had taken precautions when I did the splits to separate the queen and keep her in her old hive. The thing is, I was really nervous about what I was doing. I was also very excited. It is always thrilling to do something for the first time. Especially when there is an element of danger involved.
Does this make me weird?
Don't answer that.
I had a lot of things to do to get ready for this event, and I was very stressed out about it. I thought I had it under control. When I didn't find them...well, let's just say, "It wasn't pretty." I have always had an issue when I don't actually lay eyes on my queens when working my hives. I don't know why I am that way, but it really irritates me. I am not the kind to panic. I tend to be pretty laid back. I have definitely always been a believer in "Don't worry about things you don't control." For some reason, all of that goes out the window when it comes to queen bees.
I just feel better if I get to see her.
We had some pretty bad weather moving in when all of this was taking place, so time was of the essence. I had looked and looked. I thought I had the old queens in the old boxes. I was shocked when I couldn't find either one. I ended up checking all the hives again, and this time, I located 3 queens. The two in the cages, and one of the old ones. It reached a point where it was too late. The rain and cold weather had moved in. I was also reaching the point of no return on the queen cages. It takes two to three days for the bees to eat through the candy and release the new queens. It is best when that happens to leave them alone for a while, and wait and see.
So, that is what I did.
Once the weather had cleared and warmed back up, I was able to go back out and work the bees. I checked the new hives first. Immediately upon opening one of the new hives, I saw a queen. An unmarked queen. This was the original queen from the original hive. To break this down for you, this means that I had an older queen in a new hive. I placed the new queen in her cage in the same hive. Two queens in one hive...no bueno. The bees ate threw the candy, and immediately killed her.
For me, it was very sad. I killed her by not paying close enough attention. She did not deserve that. I am sure that it was a massacre. They violently attacked her and her attendants. Not to mention, $25 bucks...out the window. The good news, the old queen seemed very happy in her new hive location. The bad news, the original hive is now queen-less. That means they are in the process of raising a new queen.
A hive raising it's own queen is a whole other story.
More to come...
Feel free to ask questions in the comment section.