Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Hive Has Arrived

It's here!  I ordered a new hive from Betterbee and it finally arrived.  This new hive will become the new home of a 3 pound package of Russian hybrid bees I have coming from Honey Bee Genetics in Vacaville, CA.
My other two hives are polystyrene (styrofoam) Beemax hives.  I ordered them when we first started keeping bees back in 2009.  I thought that the thick styrofoam would offer better insulation for the bees during our cold winters.  They have held up pretty well but are beginning to weather in some places.  I decided to go with a regular wooden hive this time as there are plenty of bees in the area that seem to do fine without the extra insulation of styrofoam, and I think wood will stand up to the weather a little better.

Anyway, the package of Russian hybrids will be arriving in mid April and will be moving in to this hive.  We are looking forward to having Svetlana join our little family.

If you have been following my blog you may already know that Virginia (one of the hives we started with in 2009) died out last fall and Georgia was left alone all winter.  Georgia came through the winter in good condition and still has a good sized cluster.  I am afraid we will be looking at another swarm if we do not do something with them.  So... I am going to step outside my comfort zone and attempt to split Georgia and start another colony in Virginia's old hive.

My plan will be as follows-  Probably sometime in April, when Georgia's population is booming and there is plenty of pollen coming in, I will take a few frames of bees, eggs, and brood from Georgia and transfer them to the empty hive.  Hopefully the queen will be transferred with those frames, but I am a miserable queen finder.  I have only been able to spot any of the queens a few times in the last few years.  Wherever the queen ends up she should continue laying eggs and the other hive should be able to use some of the existing eggs to produce a new queen for that hive.  Sounds easy enough, right?  I just hope I don't screw everything up.

The new colony, split from Georgia and living in Virginia's old hive, will be named Ida.  How did we come up with that name?  Well, this split will kind of be like a sister to Georgia, and Georgia O'Keeffe had a sister named Ida.  That works, doesn't it?

So if all goes well we will have Georgia, Ida, and Svetlana all living side by side in our backyard.  I hope they can all get along.


Sam Smith said...

My plan is to split/nuc my hives about 20 to 30 days before the swarm season starts this will give the bees time to raise a new queen by the time that a lot of drones are flying so she can be well mated. For us that would be sometime in the end of april especially with our weather this year.

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