This is the time of year I normally split my hives--I cut back in winter and grow again in the spring. I am hesitant to do my usual splitting because one of my hives is just too aggressive (of course, the IPM bottom board is free of mites and they put up honey like its going out of style). I just don't want to have them breed with my other hives and make for more mean hives. I went through all my hives today, and did the mean one last. The first three not a single sting. Even with extra care I was stung at least 10 times doing a minimum of work on the last. It was warm, sunny and in the morning to boot.
I am thinking about killing the queen and buying a new queen. I have a few reservations about this, because even with a slow introduction I am just afraid that these bees will plain kill the new girl. Any ideas on how to make the courtship better?
The hive is 3 deep boxes, and 21 of the 30 frames are solid with brood--no joke she is prolific and they are strong. I have also considered splitting the hive in half and buying two new queens.
I know this is not the best time to be requeening, as I will have to hunt far and wide to even find a Northern bred one, but any ideas would be appreciated.
I am not saying that this will work for you but this is what I am trying this year with a mean hive.
Sit a hive body beside the mean hive with foundation and some drawn comb. Also a couple of division board feeders. Let the bees from the mean hive start robbing the sugar/water from the feeders. Make a Imrie Shim like is found on this site except make it at least 1 3/4" tall. On the end of the shim drill 2 7/8" holes. On the inside of the shim oppsite the holes place 2 Two way Bee Escapes. this will let the bees go in and not come back out. After they get used to going in and out robbing the sugar/water.
Close up the entrance, That way the bees can go in but not come back out. After you get enough bees to support a queen, put the queen in and move the hive 2 or 3 miles away and do the same thing over again. I am interested in any comments on this method of spliting a hive. Dale
Pedro, I forgot to tell you, put the Imrie shim on top of the bottom board after you get the escapes on it. (Mount them with small nails or screws). Also do not cut the small opening in the shim like the plan shows. The bees will use the holes to go into the hive. I plan to start 2 new hives this way and then let the original hive make honey without disturbing them anymore. Dale
I like your idea, because you can capture the field bees without a lot of handling! I may incorporate it into my strategy, getting the field bees out of the main hive will be a big help If I am to kill their mother without too much trouble.
What I did today was make up two nucs from my gentle hives. Each has 2 frames of honey, one frame of pollen, and two frames of the youngest larva I could find. No loss, since it is swarm control as well. I shook in as many field bees as the nuc box could hold, and am taking the whole works to an out yard. I will check them in a week, and if they are busy making queens, I will expand them with some capped brood.
Once the new queens are mated and laying, which will be near the end of the nectar flow, I will kill the mean queen, split up the mean hive, and combine it with the new gentle hives using screen boards. This is where I could really use your plan to evacuate the hive of the field bees.
With luck, the screen boards will let the meanies get to know the new queens, and I will be ready for the late summer flow with strong hives.
My gentle hives, incidentally, all came about due to the introduction of a "foriegn born" carniolan queen to the yard--she was not well inseminated, and began to fail almost immediatly. After supercedure, I ended up with a Carniolan/Italian cross breed that is great, even if they are a little funny looking in the color department. The queen looks Carniolan, but the bees look like coffee varnished italians!
Good luck with spliting your hives. Another option would be to use a Bee Vac.to capture some of the bees. There is plans on this site for the bee vac. Might be kinda hard to keep from getting the bad queen though. Just another thought. I have found that if you think about a problem long enough you can generally come up with a solution, that is if you don't give up before you find that solution. Dale
If you want to get the flying bees out of the way, wait till the bees are flying strongly and move the broodbox to one side, leaving the supers or another box in the same position. Leave it for an hour. Most of the flying bees will be in the box on the old position, and you'll only have the hive bees to deal with.
Thanks Robert--sometimes its the simplest things that we overlook! That will also kill two birds with one stone, since I can do all the relocating at the home yard.