Best option for starting a TBH
It's looking like my best winter since I started keeping bees five years ago. Three out of three hives showing good activity, a lot of cleansing flights, during warmer days, and one hive (Russians) is even still heavy with honey. Even a less-than-thriving hive of Carniolans that never got well established last year is showing a lot of activity on days when temps get up in the fifties. I doubted the Carniolans would even make it through the winter, but they got a late start past the spring flow last year so I fed them and kept fingers crossed. I've added a frame or two of honey to the two lightest hives, and a pollen patty too. I'm in western Massachusetts, and nothing is yet in bloom, but the witch hazel, crocuses, maple will be coming soon. I'm as hopeful as I've ever been at this time of year.
I'm certainly going to need to do some splits to prevent swarms, and I've also ordered a 3 lb package of Italian bees due to arrive in about three weeks. This year I'm going to start moving my hives off of foundation, and let them draw their own comb. My reason for doing this is to reduce exposure to all the residual pesticides, miticides, and other junk in commercial wax foundation. Most of them will still be in Langstroth frames, but I'm also going to try a Kenyan TBH to just to see what they'll do.
Haven't decided whether I should use the package or a later split to populate my first TBH. I've got some nuc boxes available, so I could get a proven queen established there before moving the split to a TBH, if that's advisable. I could also give them some queen cells and just shake two or three lbs of nurse bees into the TBH too. What's the best way to start a TBH, given all these options?
Shoot! Since you've got the package ordered, I'd go that route. You don't have to worry about moving the bees off the frames.
You COULD catch a swarm, also.
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