Also, it looks like, girls do not like my new design for the TBs with sides...
"Thinking Inside The Box"
Sergey, have you read what Michael Bush has to say about splits? If I remember correctly, he has various strategies for making splits and keeping them in the same yard.
I took some pictures today of the comb that my new package has made since I installed them a week ago. I thought this was a pretty image:
These are Wolf Creek small cell bees. So far so good.
Beautiful bees and comb! Looks like they are working very hard! One week? I could not believe!
As for split, yes, I read Michael Bush, but I need to read again. Last time I did everything right (in my opinion ), only bees did not cooperate - I guess, most of them returned to original hive and some were killed... because mother-colony attacked the split (no robbing)... I guess, it was not equal split, and one part was much weaker than another. The good thing is that it worked as a good remedy against swarming. I did not see any swarm preparation at all. Bees are so fascinating! Many thanks for beautiful foundationless pictures!
First find the queen. But if you can't, put a queen excluder between the two boxes that have brood. 5 days later have a look, the box that has eggs is where the queen is, make your split using the other box.
Just make the split using one box, with a few combs of brood in the middle, and other combs each side. Bees that are older than 2 weeks have probably started flying and learned the hive location, and will return to the old hive. The only bees that will stay are younger than 2 weeks. If you get bees from the central brood nest in a normal hive, around 1/2 of them will be younger than 2 weeks. So what you have to do is shake twice as many bees into your split as what you want to end up with, taking the bees from the central brood nest. Around 1/2 will go home. That is why you don't have too much brood in the new split just incase you don't end up with enough bees to cover it.
The field bees that go home to the original hive, can also tell the bees in their hive that there is another hive nearby to rob. So you have to make the entrance to your split very small. VERY small. The young bees that stay behind are not up to guard bee age yet and the split is easy for other bees to rob, so a small entrance is extremely important. Do not feed the split as that will encourage robbing. They should have some comb honey, that's it. One week later the bees will be up to guard duty age and you can make the entrance bigger if they need that, and in another week you can feed, if they need it.
If the split ends up smaller than you want, no worries. After a couple of weeks you can start adding combs of hatching brood to it, from the other hive, until it is up to the strength you want.
What's happening about the queen? You will introduce one? Or you want them to make one?
"Thinking Inside The Box"
Here's a link to Michael Bush's info on splits.
The local guy I got my first nuc from was trying to feed up a couple of monster hives to take to the river bottom for the tupelo flow. The day my wife and I went up to pick up the nuc, he was kind enough to take us around his yard and open a few of his hives for us-- he knew we had no experience. At any rate, his monster hives were full of swarm cells, so he said he'd have to go through them at length and tear them down. I'd read that it was pretty hard, if not impossible to divert a hive once it had decided to swarm, but I tried to interest him in the concept of a cut-down split, as Michael Bush describes. Well, he had 40 years of experience, and I had none, so you know how that went. I talked to him a few days later, and half his bees had departed to the trees.
But his nuc is going gangbusters for us, drawing beautiful straight comb, and bringing in lots of nectar and pollen.
Oldtimer - it is so nice of you to give me such detailed description. I definitely want girls to rise a new queen, because entire point is to keep local genetics -girls are treatment-free for 4 years already (2 with me) . You made it very clear what was wrong with my first attempt to split - I did not shake enough young bees and most bees migrated back into mother-hive. I am not sure how I could use queen excluder - hopefully it could sit on top of my "bars" in the Lang boxes. Many thanks for such great support and education (always appreciated).
When done this, in the post,choose "Go Advanced",click "Manage Attachments" => Upload Files from your Computer => Browse =>choose a picture (one at the time ) ==>Open ==> Upload, wait until text disappeared from the browse window - it indicated that you could go ahead and choose another picture
When finish uploading pictures, close "Manage Attachments" window, Submit reply. Done! Note that this way, the size of your picture is unimportant, software will shrink the picture to desired size. You do not need to resize the picture prior uploading! Good luck!
Based on your beautiful pictures - you should be very proud of your bees and yourself -you did great job!
Sergey, go to your neighbor on the other side of the neighbor who raised a stink and ask him if you can keep a hive in his or her yard, maybe even pay them a little rent money. I'm sure your area can support a lot of bees based on your results so far. And it will teach your busy body neighbor to mind their own business!
I hear the gas meter guys love bees!
do not leave out the nighbors behind you or the nice folks across the street. chances are pretty good the rat next door is not generaly a neighborhood favorite.
I have 6 immediate neighbors (weird property split by my wife's grandma). 2 have hives (plus us); one - empty lot (great bee potential); one never complained; another is curious and my bees love his Jacuzzi (plenty of water at my place), but he has horrible barking dogs, so I have something to complain if necessary also; last one - extremely noisy old couple, who complains about everything... Another day they discovered my hidden under cherry tree nuc. They immediately complained that they could not do weeds because my bees interfere. Actually, I have my ways with them - I show them fruits on the cherry-tree and explained that bees pollinate the tree. They immediately become exited. Than I very politely and carefully deliver to them the news, that they actually surrounded by beekeepers - 3 families have now bees! They were perplexed... old woman was upset - how she could complain about bees to me if she do not know if it is my bee? I delicately suggested that she could choose somebody else for complains... her response was hilarious: "How you do not understand that those neighbors are horrible and very rude - she could not complain to them, I am only a decent (?) person, who politely listen her complains." They got their honey but I think, I need to find a better place for my unofficial nuc (doing great!). Lady is old and really not well - if my bee stings her, they will accuse me in murder...
As for expansion - I am reluctant to do so because I have a lot of other stuff to do plus full-time job. I discovered that bee-hobby required much more attention than any other hobbies I ever had. To me, perhaps the ideal situation would be 3 officially permitted hives and 2 nucs - it is a lot of bees in small place! But it will add some flexibility.
Gas-meter guys are actually very nice - apparently, they have a special code for situation, when they have no access to the meter because of animal. Originally it was for dogs, but now they use it for bees also. They just put this code and come other day. No charges for this.
I worried about whether I would have enough forage in our little neighborhood by the bay. But when I talked to one of the local bee gurus who has a yard out in the country, he told me that I'd make twice the honey per hive that he does. Apparently in old established neighborhoods like this, there are so many flowering trees and bushes and flowers that bees can do very well. It may be the same in your neighborhood.
I corresponded a few weeks back. I have a 10 frame and 8 frame. I decided to experiment with frameless foundation in the 8 frame. I took my first deep and put foundationless frames on the ends and then right before I went on a week's vacation put another deep below it with all foundationless frames(using dowels for guides...no wires). I checked today and here is one of the end frames in the 1st box..beautiful!..the other end frame they were just starting..caught them festooning..very cute). I looked in the bottom box and they were just starting in the middle frame. It has been very warm here and the nectar flow is on. Here are some pics of the one frame.IMG_1658.jpgIMG_1659.jpg.
Well, I had very nice beginning. My horizontal (sort of) hive is doing well. They decided do not expand vertically anymore - they are busy filling up the deep with nectar and honey. I took only two pictures this time, because I was preoccupied with this gigantic frames. Since last inspection, they build and filled up 3 or 4 new bars with additional support at the sides - you could see the glimpse of the side support in the picture. I removed second deep, because it was completely empty. Next inspection, I think, I may add a medium below the deep or just remove the deep if it is ready. Bees were very docile even when I removed these gigantic frames...
Another hive is entirely different story - I just need to add a super. But I need a few frames with drawn comb to put into empty foundationless box. The plan was to take a few drawn frames from the existing box and put them into new one... Well, I was stung through PM vented beesuit quite a few times (6?)!!! Pigeon Mountain - did you hear me? It is 1 season old suit. So, I was forced to conclude my mission quickly. Girls followed me and made impressive show to my wife, who watched from inside the house - sorry, no pictures. In the morning I watched the same hive from 2' distance standing literally next to the entrance. I guess, our backyard will be unavailable for a few days.