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Splitting Hives May 2, 2010

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Saturday May 1st 2010
May past: 2009, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

The weather cleared unexpectedly and I could have done some inspection, but had nothing lined up, and the one fellow I could reach had just received almost two feet of snow, so I stayed home and did some organizing.

I checked the hives again today and medicated against AFB.  They are progressing, but I noticed a number of slow-moving young bees out front of two hives.  The bees seemed intact and looked chilled.  There were some play flights in progress when I arrived there at 5 PM, and I wonder...

The packages have hatched some brood now, but still look pathetically small compared to the overwintered ones.  I have some queens coming and plan to split soon, and some are ready now, but I feel better making large splits this early.  Later, when the weather is settled smaller splits can be made.  As the season progresses, though, the splits must be bigger again to be sure to build up in time for winter.  Splitting after July is risky.

I went inspecting today and did 4 yards.  The bees look good and it was nice to get out into the country.

I now have 20 black Kona queens sitting waiting, and am planning to split.  After some deliberation on exactly how to best do the job, I am back to my old ways.  I'll lift two frames with sealed and open brood above an excluder after shaking bees off, and leave them overnight.  The queen can be in there in a cage, unreleased.  In a day, I'll insert a sheet of plastic under that split and in three days, I'll release the queen if the bees seem to accept her.  

After that, I can move the splits to a new yard or location whenever I feel like it, preferably after a few days of bad weather which will confine them and fade their memory of exactly where home is.

Last year the bees were split on May 16th and the splitting was done walk-away style.  I was away in Ontario.  My daughter and family just broke the doubles in two and let them raise queens, which they all did.  On my return in late June I repeated the process. 

This year I decided to be a bit more aggressive and to see how many splits I can make.  I had some doubts about the stock on hand since I had a bit of foulbrood and am bringing in some new stock, starting with Kona, since they are handy and I like them.

I'm realizing, though that even hygienic stock can be burdened with AFB, even if we do not see it.  In such hives, the larvae still die, but are removed so promptly that we do not see them melt down.  I had figured that this would be a cure, but can see now that if the infection level is high and the larvae susceptible, then the result is a spotty brood pattern and slower build-up.  That is better than a breakdown, but nonetheless, the AFB is a burden.  In addition to HYG, we need larvae that do not break down easily and maybe we need to use a little oxytet or Tylosin to assist.

Here is the first hive I split, looking at the second and bottom boxes of a three storey hive. I split four hives  before quitting for the day and of course some were not that good.  One had very spotty brood and the last had barely enough brood to give each half two frames with brood.  I usually hate wood-bound excluders, but the ones we have lying around came in handy since the rim gives a little space for patties.

I now have sixteen queens to use tomorrow.

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Monday May 2nd 2010
May past: 2009,
2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Looks like rain this morning, but I expect I'll get some more splitting done.  It takes me about fifteen minutes per hive, so with sixteen to go, that is four hours.

Strange you should ask today.

I just did four yesterday and have sixteen to do today, and I contemplated many splitting methods before going back to my old favourite.

My goal this year is to make as many splits as I can and winter them all without significant loss. That means starting early and making the best use of bees and queens as possible. This method is conservative in terms of heat and bees and other methods might give more splits, but since it is early and we can still get severe weather, doing things this way hedges my bets.

This method can be done with either ripe or six-day queen cells or allowing the bees to raise their own queen, but I had the chance to get some mated queens yesterday and although it is a little earlier than I like, I decided to go ahead. This method is very flexible and conserves heat, so should minimize stress on the bees, and that is always my goal.

I am less than comfortable that the hives were wrapped right up to now, since I think it is good to unwrap and let the bees get used to that before splitting, but I have a limited time window since I am scheduled to be away quite a bit and the weather is spotty. I saw a chance and took it.

The method is simple. The hive being split has to have at least four frames with a decent amount of brood and lots of bees. If the hives are in two or three broods, the job is easier. I like to use warm frames that have been occupied by bees right up to the time of splitting instead of frames from dead-outs or storage since the bees accept them much better.

The job entails examining the parent hive to determine that it is up to standard and then removing two frames with brood and a two frames of honey and pollen from the top box and placing it into either an empty box or one of the lower boxes that will be used to house the split.

Most of the bees on every frame must be shaken into what will be the lower (original) hive without looking for the queen. If she is on one of the frames, she will be one of the first to shake off. Don't shake too hard, or larvae can be displaced in their cells. A "quivering' shake is best for brood frames.

Next the top box (the split) is completed with frames and a feeder if desired and it is ready to place on top. I always include a frame of foundation in an outside position in every brood box so it is handy later and so it acquires bee scent, plus it will buy me a few days grace if the hive gets crowded later.

I reassemble the lower hive making sure the brood frames are grouped so that covering the brood is easy for the bees and also watching for bowed frames which might trap emerging bees if crowded together. Next, I place an excluder on top of the parent hive and this is the one time a wood-bound excluder is superior to steel-bound since the former have a bit of lift on each side I can squash a pollen patty under it whereas a steel-bound one will leave cracks around the edge of the hive. We want the bees to be as warm as possible after the disruption. Consider taping the cracks between the broods, if any.

Now the split goes on top of the excluder and I place the queen in her cage with corks on both ends immediately above the brood in the split with screen down and partly exposed in the gap between the frames. Ob top of that goes an insulating plastic quilt (pillow) and a telescoping lid which has a 1" rim around the inside edge. That lid allows room for the queen cage and presses down the outer edges. Two four-pound bricks go on top of the lid.

What makes all this work is that I have a one inch auger hole in every brood chamber, so the bees can fly from all two or three boxes and I don't need to provide an entrance at top or bottom. (Some people don't like auger holes, but they are easily blocked when not wanted with a pipe plug, some burr comb wax, or grass and are very handy for many beekeeper tricks).

I then leave the hive overnight or longer and let them settle down. The nurse bees come up into the top through the excluder and care for the brood and repair the damage. The old queen is trapped below with the remaining brood.

After a day or so, I slip in a sheet of 4-mill plastic cut to about 21 x 17 inches above the excluder to isolate the split.

In another day or two, when the weather is good and the bees are happy, I will return and release the queen, after watching to see how the bees seem to like her or if I will be away, I'll have put a marshmallow or queen candy in place of one cork so the bees will release her.

The split can stay on top for as long as we like. After the top queen is laying, the plastic can be removed to make a two-queen hive, the excluder removed to allow the bees to replace the lower queen, or the split can be removed to another location. If a rainy spell of three days happens along, the splits can be lifted down in this same yard to fill gaps, since their mental fix on on their current location will have faded sufficiently that they will not drift back.

Another note about auger holes: bees like them and will preferentially go to holes with bee activity. Any split can maintain some entrance activity, so will not lose bees the way weak hives with bottom entrances can. There is also a tendency for bees to drift up to the top holes and this augments the splits even after they are isolated from the lower, stronger hive.

When doing all this, the weather should be expected to stay above freezing for a few days at least and the process should be done early enough in the day that the bees can get back in and settle down before the nighttime chill.

As for selling nucs, these splits are in standard boxes. They could be done in two-ways or transferred, but I have not sold nucs.

In my opinion nucs should settle for at least a week before being sold. They look much better and the queens will not be as likely to be rejected in transport. Also any duds can be detected and dealt with, preserving your reputation for quality.

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Monday May 3rd 2010
May past: 2009,
2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

I was splitting hives the past two days (a week or more early) and can report that so far, the styrofoam hives are far stronger on average than the wooden ones with wraps. This is a small sample -- four plastic hives and eight wood.

This is also the first year I noticed this effect. Last summer I drilled a one inch ager hole in each styro box and left the holes open all winter and I think that helps a lot.  I had considered closing all but the top one, but this worked well.

In fact, one hive, wintered in four standards, had three boxes absolutely crowded with bees and a number of sealed swarm cells. The queen was slimmed down and ready to go.  The bees were smoked down just before the shot.  Picture at left.  Click to enlarge.

I moved one box with the queen (which I happened to find by luck when I shook some bees into the queen carrying box) to another stand and split the remaining hive.  Hopefully the mother hive on the new stand will lose some bees back to the home hive and decide not to leave.

As Wayne Neidig has mentioned to you earlier this spring, we have two BCHPA events occurring near your neck of the woods.

He said that you kindly offered to post these on your website for us. Both happenings are open to all beekeepers.

Please find attached information about an IPM workshop happening in Castlegar in two weeks, as well as promotional ads and the registration form for the BCHPA fall convention coming to Cranbrook.

Theres a degree of worry about attendance, given the Kootenay locations, so wed like to get the word out well ahead of time.

Were thinking that there may be some interest from Albertans since these events are so close to the border.

Plus having the CHC meeting in conjunction with our AGM may draw interest from your province.




They may have been superceding and I may have found a virgin since there was one apparently emerged cell and another nearby with a notch out of the side.  It is hard to tell, but most of the the cells were intact and on an outside frame.  At this time of year things can go either way, but with such a huge population and so much brood, I'm thinking they had to be swarming if the weather got right.  I have not seen any scout bees in my equipment stacks, though.  I've found hives in spring with a number of virgins running around and they did not seem to be swarming.  Jonathan put some such virgins together one day to see if they would fight.  They wouldn't.

My friends who wintered in single styrofoam boxes with no auger hole have bees varying from a half box to almost a full box.

I only got three of the four hives on the scale split before I ran out of time and weather.  We had to go to Mckenzie's piano recital and, as it happened, the wind picked up just after I tidied up and went in.  The other two hives made beautiful splits with at least four frames with brood each.  They will have to be split again before long unless I want to wind up with a lot of honey.  I definitely do not.

At right is some info on upcoming events in  BC.  You can see larger versions of the thumbnails by clicking on each.

The PDFs behind the images at right are listed below if you want to print them or fill out the application forms:

- Cranbrook BCHPA AGM Poster
- Spring 2010 IPM Workshop Poster

- BCHPA AGM Early Bird registration Form
- Spring IPM Workshop Registration Form

Having spent the night at Jean and Chris', we headed home around 9:30.  We stopped in Red Deer and bought a riding mover.  Ellen doesn't fool around.  We bought a 25-HP machine with a 50" cut.  After all, she has four or five acres to mow.

I got home, intending to work on the splits, but I has several chores to do and the Internet was down!  It came up, and a phone call interrupted me, so it was an hour and a half before I got outside.

It is time to isolate the splits from the mother hive, now, so I slipped in a sheet of plastic.  I had some chunks of heavy (6 mil+) silage plastic sheeting around and using a lid for a pattern, cut out some pieces a bit larger than the top of a super so that placement need not be precise.  I taped any holes, since the bees are known to chew.  They never chew this stuff, but if there is a hole already, they could enlarge it.

The wind was a nuisance, but using two hive tools, I can hold the plastic after the excluder is removed, then withdraw them when the box is in place.  Below, we see a plastic sheet on the mother hive.  The split (right) goes on  top and is lidded.  The queen is confined still.

I managed to get all the nucs isolated from the parent hive by the time the weather changed, but I just finished as the storm hit.  After supper, the wind dropped and the rain stopped and I went out and I tried to work again, but the wind was too gusty and the temperature was dropping fast.

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Tuesday May 4th 2010
May past: 2009,
2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Today in Swalwell
Snow at times mixed with rain ending this afternoon then cloudy. Local snowfall amount 5 cm. Local blowing snow this morning. Wind northwest 60 km/h gusting to 90 becoming north 30 gusting to 50 this afternoon. High plus 5.
Tonight
Cloudy. Wind north 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming light this evening. Low minus 2.
Wednesday
Cloudy. Becoming cloudy periods late in the day. High 6.

The wind gusted all night and in the morning we discovered a white world.  We have a little snow and the temperature is hovering around zero (freezing).

I must confess the wind kept me awake.  I worry about our quonset and I worry about our bees when the cold winds blow.  I hate to have this happen just when I have spread brood by splitting.  Fortunately, most of my splits are bigger than normal.  That is partly due to knowing that this always happens.

I have to confess I am surprisingly excited about the splitting and am almost sorry I signed up to inspect bees this spring.  Time is short and I am interrupted in the task by the need to swing north for a few days.

When I return, I have visits to make around this area, and still somehow get my own work done.  With my increased bee enthusiasm, and the new mower coming, I am now looking at the piles of junk in the yard and think I should attack them, but I also am booked to go west for a sailing trip, then east for the summer.

Wonder of wonders, our Internet works today.  I had to call ten times in the past ten days due to outages.

For this time of year, this weather is not unusual.  Here is the historical data.  I'm not too sure how far it goes back.

Highest Temperature (1996-2007) 21.5C 1998
Lowest Temperature (1996-2007) -5.1C 2002
Greatest Precipitation (1997-2007) 25.0mm 2007

Today, I still have some queens left and queens to release.  I'm not going to get much beekeeping done today, since the weather is still awful and I'm getting ready for a trip to the Peace River country.  I suppose I'll have to ask my wife to release them.

I'm getting ready to go north.  I have line up my schedule and pack, plus I have odds and ends to tidy up here.

I got a call, and the mower is being delivered tomorrow.

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Wednesday May 5th 2010
May past: 2009,
2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

I'm off to the Peace today.  The mower arrives this morning and then I'm off to Edmonton.

A glance outside the window shows dull, cloudy weather and two or three inches of snow.  Not the best weather for the splits I made the other day, it seems.

On the other hand, the temperature is around freezing and that keeps the bees in.  For hives with lots of feed, that can actually be good, since there is not much forage for them outside right now, and, being confined conserves their energy and remaining lifespan for when the bloom gets going in a few days.  In the meantime, new bees continue to emerge, building up the populations and the queens continue to lay.  The bees seem OK, at least in the styrofoam hives.  In fact, one split is hanging out.

The mower arrived and we figured out how get it going.  I admired the truck.  It looks perfect for bees.  It comes complete with a forklift on the back and opens and closes in moments.  The sides are legal for the highway and apparently there is reasonable ventilation inside.  the driver says they will be turning this truck in at the end of the year. 

Right now, here is where I stand.  I got queens and made splits several days ago, but did not make all the splits I planned to make.  I have twelve splits and twenty queens.  Twelve queens are in splits waiting for release, which I can do anytime the weather turns nice.  Eight are in the storage box.

Queens in a screened storage box kept at room temperature.  This is OK for a few days, but over time, the queens may die or become useless.  Note the wet sponge and the spoon with honey.  They eat a lot more than one would expect.

How much faster mated queens is than using cells is something that I always wonder about. 

With mated queens, I have time flexibility and can improve my stock.  I can bank the excess queens if weather changes or the splits are not all ready, which -- as it happened, they are not.  This method has some drawbacks, too.

  • This method is the most expensive up front, with queens costing us about $20 each.

  • Release can take a week or more

  • This method can be quite reliable, but queens can be lost

    • in banking and

    • in introduction.

  • Success is typically as high as 100% if done properly, but can be much less

  • Mated queens are often superseded within months of introduction.

If I were using ripe cells, which can be quite cheap, I could make a 50% stock improvement by buying cells from a breeder, but my existing drones will be the fathers.  Cells can be home-raised quite easily if stock improvement is not a goal or the beekeeper has some superior colonies to propagate.

  • Timing is critical. I would have to had the splits ready and waiting for cells on one specific day, rain or shine, and install the cells at a specific time or have queens running around in the incubator needing food and killing one another.

  • Cell protectors can provide some slight flexibility for introduction pre-emergence, but cells hatch when they hatch. A beekeeper can hatch the cells into cages and install virgins, but that can be tricky.

  • While introduction is less of a problem than mated queens, the time to a laying queen is typically about eleven days to two weeks.  This is slightly longer than using mated queens which can take anywhere from a few days to two weeks to be introduced and laying.

  • There are always failures.  80% success is typical.

Metamorphosis of the queen bee
Egg hatches on Day 3
Larva (several moltings) Day 3 to Day 8
Queen cell capped ~ Day 7
Pupa ~ Day 8 until emergence
Emergence ~Day 15 - Day 17
Nuptial Flight(s) ~Day 20 - 24
Egg Laying ~Day 23 and up

This table is excerpted from a Wikipedia article

Six-day cells is another possibility which is seldom used, but cells, just as they are about to be capped are quite robust and can be handled without much worry and placed into hives.  Of course they must be placed in the middle of the brood where they are warm.  The time to having an egg-laying queen is a little longer than with sealed cells, but they are less fussy and won't hatch unexpectedly.  I have never done this, and I am checking my facts.  More later.

Another, final, alternative is to let the splits raise their own queens.  This method is the simplest, cheapest, requires the least expertise or labour, and is the least time-sensitive, but has a number of drawbacks.  It is handy when queens are not handy or one hive is found to be  queenless in an out-yard.  Beekeepers then donate a frame with eggs and brood to the queenless colony.

  • The split or hive raising the queen has to be strong and able to feed brood well, and weather good, or the queens will be poorly raised and superseded quite soon or produce poor hives

  • There is little stock improvement since each hive uses its own eggs

  • It takes 21 days typically to get a laying queen, and often more

  • There are always failures.  Anywhere from 10% to 30% is typical.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

The 120-day Microsoft security suite test drive
By Fred Langa

Frustration with most commercial antivirus suites launched a long-term, real-life test of Microsoft Security Essentials, Microsoft's free anti-malware application.


So far, my real-life test drive indicates that Microsoft may have finally got basic security right.... MORE

Well, it seems the weather up north is not as promising and the roads around Bowden are not good.  We have put the plans on hold for now.  It looks as if I am staying home.

We had some of the usual suspects here for supper.  A good time was had by all.

I guess it is obvious that I am not in the Peace.  I cancelled all the appointments and we will wait for decent weather.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

The article at right describes the free security suite that I have been using for a long time now.  I used its predecessor, not mentioned there, Microsoft OneCare, a paid subscription version for several years now and have found it very good.  I take all the other stuff off friends' computers now and put this one on.  (I have subscribed to the list that published the article for many years now).

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Thursday May 6th 2010
May in years past: 2009,
2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

As of today, the splits I made on the first are five days old.  The mated queens I placed in them have now sat there, unreleased in the splits, waiting for weather good enough for safe release. 

This is where the time advantage of mated queens over ripe cells becomes indistinct.  The queens from ripe cells , assuming they had been available and installed in protectors, would be five or six days old now.  They would mate tomorrow, judging by the forecast, and be laying within a week or so.  These mated queens I installed will not be released until tomorrow at earliest, depending on how the bees treat them when I check the splits, and will take a few days to get laying properly.  This is assuming that I am here to release the queens.

I am fortunate to have another eight queens on hand.  The sudden discovery of small hive beetle in the Big Island of Hawai'i has frozen queen shipments to Canada.  Stupid, I know, but that is our CFIA for you. 

Right at peak splitting season, they stall shipments of essential queens due to Small Hive Beetle.  There is no evidence that Small Hive Beetle is not already present in Alberta or that if imported that it would thrive here and become a nuisance. 

Color Year
ends in
white   1 or 6
yellow   2 or 7
red   3 or 8
green   4 or 9
blue   5 or 0

It has always been obvious that SHB and other pests would come to Hawai'i, and that we would have to continue to import regardless, so why the delay at such a critical time?  Why was there not a plan in place which could be put into action instantly and ensure supply without disruption?  Have we not learned that these regulatory supply interruptions due to lack of planning cause far more losses than they prevent?

I'm going to have to consider raising some queens, perhaps, so should I mark them?   Here is the colour chart (right) again courtesy Wikipedia.  Marking queens is not practical in a large commercial operation, but when splitting and attempting to improve stock, it can be useful to determine queen age and also to confirm the queen is the one that was installed.

Nancy Trout mentioned at EAS, that Wal-Mart sells a good marking pen that is bright, and that is very important for visibility.  Blue is what I need.

From Kona Queen:
Everything is already taken care of and we are shipping to Alberta again today. All queens will be sent with Attendants inside the cage - battery box packing is no longer allowed. New Import Permits were issued by CFIA yesterday.

Maybe I owe CFIA an apology?  It really looks as if things were fixed fairly quickly, considering we are talking government here.

I'm betting, though, that it was people like Medhat who actually kept this from being a disaster and maybe for once CHC did not stand in the way as they have so many times before.

I have been wanting to try out the Rogers Rocket Hub, so El and I went to Calgary and picked one up.  We did a few other things and came back home.  I had hoped that it would provide a more stable signal for Skype.  I made a call to Aaron and got dropped several times.  Although the speed test showed twice the speed that our current provider demonstrates, the jitter is just as bad -- so far.  It comes in marginally better on the VOIP test, but still, no cigar.

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Friday May 7th 2010
May in years past: 2009,
2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

We have another dull day, and the queens are still confined.  I may have to make wire release cages.

ApinewsThe site at left looks very useful.  One article showing there today indicates that the ban against import of bees to Vancouver Island will be lifted.  I assume this is in response to the realization that the Island has suffered huge bee losses this spring and is not unique anymore.

I got out and did some work on the hives, but ran out of time.  I had a meeting of FACS tonight and did not want to miss the chance to see the guys I will be sailing with, so had to quit at 5.  before that, though, I went through some of the splits and either released queens or took out the corks to expose the candy.

Although dandelions are out today for the first time, I doubt there is much of a flow and I did not put nail holes thru the candy.  I'll look tomorrow and see how fast the release will be.

I can see I made a mistake by including eggs and larvae on some frames going into some of the splits.  The bees have made cells and they will be harder to get acceptance in.  I broke down the cells.  It is a shame, since they looked really good and I'm thinking now that I was getting close to a new queen raised by the bees while I am still trying to get the purchased queens accepted.  Do I know what I am doing?  I'm thinking I don't. I'll write more on this soon.

When releasing queens, I open the hives and lay the queens in cages on the top bars.  I return in five minutes and try shaking the adhering bees off the cages.  If the bees come off easily that is a good sign.  If the bees really cling, and especially if any are doubled up in stinging position, there will be problems.

I ignored that signal in one case and had a queen balled.  I had no water to drop the ball into and, in separating the bees, the queen lost a front l leg.  She will be released and lay, since I broke down the cells which I knew must be there from the bees' behaviour, but then will be superseded soon.  No matter, I want the genetics she will bring.

I am thinking that I made the splits too big.  That is what comes from splitting  too early and fearing the cold.  Every time I use mated queens I realize once again how much easier ripe cells are and that in changeable weather, that they are probably just as quick.

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Saturday May 8th 2010
May in years past: 2009,
2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

I went out in the afternoon and cut some grass, tidied a bit and worked on the bees.  I checked on how the queens are being released and moved some boxes around and did some more splits.  I counted when I was done and got 38 hives total.  Hard to believe.  I would have expected more.

I am not doing a good job and this spring has not helped.  Looking back, I'm thinking I should have just reversed the good ones and waited until the 15th, then just split all the ones in two or more boxes into singles.

It bothers me to have these queens sitting here with no home and no clear prospect of having one ready.  Maybe I need to make some small splits into nuc boxes.

I see the hives at the west end are not nearly as good as the ones on the east end.  I think they get more wind.  I also have concluded that the Styrofoam boxes are far superior to wood for wintering.  The hives in plastic were superior on average to the ones in wood although there were some good ones in wood, too.

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Sunday May 9th 2010
May in years past: 2009,
2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

I was to go inspecting today, but got an email early this morning that the area where I was to go got three inches of snow last night.  Cancelled again!

I mowed the lawn a bit.  From what we were paying to have it done, we figure it will take six hours each time it needs cutting, and so far that seems close.  After that I checked for queens in three hives I split yesterday. 

I wised up yesterday and realized that if I am going to make big splits, I am going to be looking for queens much of the time and that is a slow job.  If the weather is as bad as it was this last two weeks, then the job is frustrating and often inconclusive.

It is much easier to simply take the top brood box off and place it on a new stand.  Odds are very high if this is done in the morning or in cool weather without smoke that the queen is in the top.  That is easy to verify one day later by opening each half and laying a mated queen in a cage on the top bars of each half for five minutes.  One queen will be greeted by happy workers and the other cage will be balled.  This is the theory.  In practice, it can be that clear cut  or it can happen that there is not much difference, and then we must find the queen the hard way.  IF we are using cells and not mated queens, we can just pop a cell into each half, preferably with a cell protector.

I mark the hives when splitting so I know which hive and split are a pair so that if the message from the bees is ambiguous, and I have to look for a queen, when I find her I also know the state of the other half.

For this splitting method to work, the bees have to occupy two brood boxes before splitting.  Reversing a week or ten days before can ensure this.  That is what I really should have done his year instead of all the intensive work I did, splitting frame by frame.  I had a chance to get early queens and was not sure I could get queens later, so I dove in.  I know better, but am getting rusty and have to learn it all over again it seems.

The one problem with moving the original queen across the yard is that some of the older bees drift back to the original stand where the new queen will be installed and that may be problematic since older bees tend to be pickier about new queens.  It is better to take the bottom brood chamber away and place it on the new stand since the young bees will remain while the old ones drift back to enhance the original hive which will be ready to split again soon.

It is also possible to have too many bees drift back to the original stand if this is done when a strong flow is on.  The only way to know is to try a hive or two and see what happens. 

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