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Just split 1st hive and weather turned cold! What to do?

1325 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  RayMarler
Okay, not sure what to do at this point....

This is the second season for my first hive. They wintered in double deeps, and had plenty of fall feeding. The first full inspection on April 9th showed a full top box with lots of bees, brood, eggs. The bottom box had some bees on the frames, which were 75% empty.

Around the beginning of April the weather started getting good, with the first flowers and warm days. At 7000' elev., it stays cold here late in the spring and we had a very snowy, very cold winter. We don't have good foraging, with mainly grasses and juniper/pine woods. However, our fruit trees started blooming and the bees seemed to be getting lots of nectar.

A second look around the 22nd showed two full boxes, brimming with bees and full combs. Also fresh pollen and capped honey. It was time to do something! So we split the hive on the 26th, putting the new hive location just a few feet away. Went through all the combs and made sure there were eggs in each hive. It was way to crowded to look for the queen. Then put a top deep with new frames on top of each bottom deep to give them room to expand.

I must admit I didn't remember to look for the different kinds of cells :doh: - I don't remember seeing swarm cells, but there were definitely drone cells and also drone bees.

So far so good, I hope? Well, that was the beginning of this week. The next day or two, the original hive was business as usual, with lots of foragers. The new hive was quiet, with a few bees that seemed to be either doing their play flights or foraging. But I wasn't worried as I figured they were down to house bees and it would take awhile to get up and running again.

And now the warm weather has gone cold again, with a light snow last night, and more predicted. This situation wiped out a lot of hives in the Albuquerque valley (5000' elev.) in February, when a warm period was followed by freezing. So yesterday when I heard snow was coming we put hay bales around the new hive just to help them out.

Now I'm worried about both hives - if they expanded their brood too quickly, don't have enough food, and have empty top deeps. I was thinking of making some pollen patties to feed them if it warms up enough in the afternoon to get in there. Or should I just leave them alone and hope for the best?

Also, at least one of them doesn't have a queen, and I don't know which one. Can't really open them up to check until it warms up again (though here, we can get 70 degree days and 25 degree nights, so you never know, I might be able to check soon). Is not having a queen at this point going to be a problem?

And, overall, did I handle this the right way? Or should I have just put another box on top of the full double deeps? I was concerned they would swarm. Also, I haven't planned to order any queens - as a hobbyist I would like to mostly let the bees do their thing naturally, and just split as needed to prevent some swarming.

Thanks for the help!
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8 Frame mediums throughout
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It sounds like you did pretty good to me, for making a split without looking for the queen. Pretty standard procedure, the weather is just a side-bet we all take at times. I say leave them alone for 3 weeks and then check and see what's up. They should be fine, they sounded strong enough to cluster for the weather.
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