I imagine that’s what Blue hive is buzzing about lately.
“Someone has stolen the queen! Execute a search immediately. All strangers must be interrogated. Be on full alert!”
Actually, sorry guys, that was me.
So blue hive came through the winter with flying colors. I’m serious. When I opened up their box in early April, the number of bees in there was incredible. So, thinking of all the problems I’ve had with swarming when a population gets out-of-control in years past, I decided to try “a hive split”.
A split is when you take half the population and move it into a new hive, along with a queen and create a sort of false swarm. However, my friend Levi suggested a move i’d never really tried before. So I followed his suggestion and this is what I did.
While in Blue hive, I located the queen on a frame with loads of working bees and I stole her. I moved her into the available real estate left over from red hive. Then I moved over a few more frames of bees and a new frame of honey, and I put a lid on red.
Next, I took a few frames with day old bee larvae, and I used my hive tool to smush the bottom third of individual honeycomb cells, because Levi had suggested that makes the bees lay queens right where you want them to be. When blue realizes the queen is missing, they’ll immediately start making new queens from baby bee larvae naturally. Basically I’ve artificially mimicked nature and let the bees do all the work.
I really wish I could throw some pictures in here, and I promise to do it in future posts, but frankly there wasn’t a lot of time to photo-journal when one is busy kidnapping the queen.
So we’ve got two weeks to wait to see if it worked. (I know it will, actually). It might work so well that I can do it again. After all, I have four empty hive boxes; that’s prime real estate for the bees and if it keeps them from swarming, so much the better!