I have a couple of colonies I am considering killing off and harvesting the full hives. The situation is, I was gone for the better part of the summer, during that time my nice and gential Itaians have become something else. Whatever they are (don't recognize the breed), they have become extremely aggressive, and even worse, they stay that way for long periods of time and distance (I'll end walking to my back to my house 75 yards away and sitting on the back deck for 20 minutes or so before the bulk of the swarm will finally gives up and leave just about every time I go out and do anything with the hives).
Normally, killing them off still would not be my solution; however, this winter I am moving from TX to PA. Moving them is not an option, they are too mean for me to give to an inexperienced/new beek, and with it also being winter and all, they're more trouble than they are worth for an experienced one.
So, considering that, and the fact that I am not putting the frames back into the hive, I will probably just crush&strain the lot and then clean everything for storage/travel.
Here are my questions:
1. Any suggestions on the best way to wack them without damaging the comb or honey (as quick and humanely as possible)?
2. What, if anything, should I do with the brood frames? Normally, I leave them alone and I've never been in a situation to even think about them during a harvest.
3. Would it be worth trying to keep a few frames to help get new package bees started once I get resettled and am starting anew in the Spring?
- Would you use full uncapped frames, uncapped & harvested frames (cleaned up by the bees first), or pull a few not-quite-finished frames (I use nothing but medium/honey supers, so I can pick and choose the location to pull from).
- What would be a good number to have per hive (planning on starting 4-5 hives in the Spring)?
- What would be the best way to keep them (1st thought is...freeze for a few days, put into a super, wrap tightly with crate plastic wrap, keep cool)?
Other thoughts or suggestion on anything I might be missing here also greatly appreciated.
- thank you very kindly.