Saying that we are idiots when it comes to this beekeeping thing is like saying Warrem Buffett is pretty decent at managing money.
Our plan was to split our current hive into two, and buy a nuc to start a third. A nuc is basically a small hive – a queen with five frames of honey and pollen, and brood (developing bees), instead of the usual ten.
The new queen came in Friday night, so we could split our current into two, keeping the old queen with one half, and introducing the new queen into the other half. When we opened the hive boxes to begin dividing, we quickly figured out that the old queen was already gone. There were over a dozen queen cells in development. Now what do we do? Aye. What do we do with the new queen?
We slept on it for the night, and this morning we went to the Central Iowa Beekeepers annual auction in Perry. There, we talked it over with others who have more experience than us. Oh, and we got a couple bargains at the auction. 😉
So, here’s what we finally decided to do:
- We divided our hive into two, putting frames with queen cells into one hive body, with other frames of pollen and honey. We’re letting nature take it’s course, and the colony will rear it’s own new queen. Hopefully.
- We put other frames with queen cells into a nuc. Again, we’re letting nature take its course, letting those bees raise their own queen. Once they’re ‘queenright’, we’ll put them in the third full hive we have ready and waiting. Hopefully.
- We put the new queen in a hive body with frames of bees that do not have any developing queen cells. They should accept her as their queen and that colony should take off. Hopefully.
Oh, and a little present from the bees to Robin was a sting on the neck Friday night. A couple snuck in up in the veil and one made her presence known. The good news is that all the allergy tests Robin went through a month ago indicated that she’s not allergic to beestings, but instead, especially sensitive to stings. The bad news is that Robin appears to have a goiter on her neck. Yay.
Now that we have three hives out there, we decided to name them, so that our bee discussions don’t resemble who’s-on-first monologues. Lena is what is left of the original colony. Ole is the new colony. And finally, the little nuc is Thor, short for Thorogood. We’ve decided to name whole colonies instead of naming the queens, since those biatches keep walking out on us.