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I built two TBHs this spring but sprung for only one package. I was in my apiary (hehe, the place in my backyard where they sit) last Saturday admiring the number of bees coming and going when I decided that I should have two boxes of bees.

Now I might get scolded, but the one hive had lots of bees, brood, and was busy making a couple of combs of just honey. I split it. I read the material Michael has describing splits and homed in on the "typical split."

I took half of everything and split it amongst the two boxes. It took me nearly 20 minutes to find the queen; I intended to keep her in the original hive. I thought I did a decent job of making sure I put plenty of bees in the new hive. Michael says you need to, I'll comment in a bit.

For the next couple of days I had beehive-splitter's remorse. I was sure I killed my bees. I watched from afar. In the first day, gobs of bees showed up at the entrance of the new hive and the parent hive seemed to get back to business as usual. On the second day, activity was completely gone at the front of the new hive. I had to take a peek so I bent over and looked into the entrance and sitting there staring back were a few bees. Apparently the guards.

Today was the 4th day. I'm supposed to look for capped queen cells and destroy them so this means I get to open the hive and see the disaster I have caused.

At this point I'm going to sprinkle questions amongst the observations I had. I know it might seem like I am questioning whether these bees have any clue what they are doing and ask that you quietly transpose that sentiment instead on the beekeeper.

Observations:

I had thought I had pretty much emptied the parent hive of house bees. I knew the field crew was out at the time and figured that this should leave the parent alright beewise. I had one extra and small bit of honey comb that I gave to the new hive. Well, today when I opened the new hive, I figured out that the first day activity was the majority of the bees heading home. There were plenty of bees to cover the brood in the new hive and all the rest back in the parent hive. Whooee! Gazillions! Or so it appears when they cram themselves on half of the combs they once had.

I found 4 queen cells in the new hive. This alleviated my fear that somehow the queen had magically transported (via beekeeper, ah, well...) into the wrong hive. To prove this to myself I checked the parent out and found none.

None of the queen cells were capped but all of the larvae in the queen cells were larger than the smallest larvae in the comb. That is, they appear to have not chosen the youngest. To describe this different the queen cell larvae were the size of puffed wheat and the smallest larvae I could see were smaller than a grain of rice. Is that about right?

It appears that the queenright hive went back to business right away. It didn't seem as if their mood was any different and the coming-n-going was about as before. They sounded the same. There is what appears to be a lot more since they have half of the combs in their home.

The new hive sounds different. I don't think I can qualify the difference. They act different on the comb too. As to business I assume that those that had been out before the split just went back to the parent hive and the new hive is young bees that don't know any different. I did notice a couple of bees returning to the new hive today which means to me that a few have perhaps ventured out.

Day before yesterday, when I wasn't seeing any activity except the guards I worried about the new hive getting water so I mixed some 1:1 and put it on the feeder. I had a 1/4 quart left over and stuck it on the parent hive. Today it seems that the new hive isn't at all interested in the feed. The parent hive had some acivity at the feeder. I just took the jars off and stuck them in the freezer. Now I wonder if I should put one back on the parent hive to push all those bees into making new comb.

My questions in a more condensed form:

1. Do my (their) queen cells sound to be in the right stage for the time period? (Split Sat. noonish observed Wed. 17:30ish)

2. Is there a difference I should be able to see in queenrightedness at the entrance or is my observation due the young bee theory?

3. Should I worry about the new hive and its water intake to the point of feeding or will the young'ns soon be gathering their own? (They still have plenty of honey.)

4. Should I feed the parent hive to push comb building?

In case someone is wondering, my goal is to have two hive make it through the winter. I don't care if I have to feed. I will make honey next year. (Except for the few little bits that I break and eat when I inspect.)

[ July 05, 2006, 11:18 PM: Message edited by: John F ]
 

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>Today was the 4th day. I'm supposed to look for capped queen cells and destroy them

You can. I wouldn't.

>the queen cell larvae were the size of puffed wheat and the smallest larvae I could see were smaller than a grain of rice. Is that about right?

Sounds about right. The queen would have been started from four day old (from when they were laid) larvae and some of the brood will be from just laide eggs, four days behind. AND the queen larvae get better feed.

>The new hive sounds different. I don't think I can qualify the difference. They act different on the comb too. As to business I assume that those that had been out before the split just went back to the parent hive and the new hive is young bees that don't know any different. I did notice a couple of bees returning to the new hive today which means to me that a few have perhaps ventured out.

The new hive is differnt. First, it's queenless. Second it has a different population spread. The oldest bee in the new hive is a young bee because the older bees migrated back to the old hive.

>Now I wonder if I should put one back on the parent hive to push all those bees into making new comb.

That's a option. If there's a dearth it may be worth considering. But be aware it may set off robbing. I'd probably reduce all the entrances before feeding.

>1. Do my (their) queen cells sound to be in the right stage for the time period? (Split Sat. noonish observed Wed. 17:30ish)

They should be capped today. Check.

>2. Is there a difference I should be able to see in queenrightedness at the entrance or is my observation due the young bee theory?

It's some of both.

>3. Should I worry about the new hive and its water intake to the point of feeding or will the young'ns soon be gathering their own? (They still have plenty of honey.)

They will gather their own.

>4. Should I feed the parent hive to push comb building?

Is there a dearth? Or a flow?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
<Michael Bush>
You can. I wouldn't.

Ah. I got that bit from your page on splits so I assume that for you a "typical split" isn't typical and a "walk away split" is what you would do.

<Michael Bush>
The new hive is differnt. First, it's queenless. Second it has a different population spread. The oldest bee in the new hive is a young bee because the older bees migrated back to the old hive.

I understand. So how much of the observation of a different sound and a different comb activity is due queenlessness and how much kindergarten bees?

Of course I have a hard time describing this but it seems that if most is due queenlessness then learning to recognize it would be a good thing.

<Michael Bush>
They should be capped today. Check.

Good idea. I'm not kidding. This was one of those "why didn't I think of that" moments. As a newbie I figured early on that I'm supposed to go poking around in the hive often.

<Micheal Bush>
Is there a dearth? Or a flow?

I appreciate the acedemic nature of this question but I have to be honest and reply that I am not nearly experienced enough to make this sort of call.

My guess is that there is a flow because I see the bees making honey and they didn't act too interested in the sugar syrup. Their comb building rate seems down from a few weeks ago though. I scraped some comb off the side of the hive when I removed a comb the other day and sat it on the other hive top. It spilled honey which I figured the bees would clean up but it sat there for days. The bees seem very busy flying and do not appear upset in the least.

Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
<Michael Bush>
If you feed in a drought you'll stimulate brood rearing (not to mention drawing ants and robbers). More mouths to feed and less to feed them with. As long as they have plenty of stores, I'd wait. If they are out of stores, I'd feed. You could start feeding a few weeks before the fall flow (if you know when that is) to stimulate brood rearing again.

Ah! I just read this in another thread. I didn't consider why I think they might need more comb. I guess I figured they needed more chairs in the house. My point is that this statement brought up two things for me. One, I didn't consider that they would rear more brood, and two, do they have enough stores.

Well, they do still have some capped honey along the top of the combs and when I peek inside tonight I'll look for nectar. In fact, I can look everyday and feed if it appears they are going negative.
 

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>Ah. I got that bit from your page on splits so I assume that for you a "typical split" isn't typical and a "walk away split" is what you would do.

It is one method some people use to insure the right ages larave. I've given in to Jay Smith's logic that the bees won't use the wrong ages larvae.

>I understand. So how much of the observation of a different sound and a different comb activity is due queenlessness and how much kindergarten bees?

The dissonant sound is the queenlessness. Some of the lack of foragers is because they are nusre bees and haven't been foraging yet. It takes some time for some of them to start and then recruit more to join them.

>Of course I have a hard time describing this but it seems that if most is due queenlessness then learning to recognize it would be a good thing.

I'd say the main clue to that is the sound.

>Good idea. I'm not kidding. This was one of those "why didn't I think of that" moments. As a newbie I figured early on that I'm supposed to go poking around in the hive often.

Of course they could also wait for an egg to hatch and start with that, so they could be capped later.

>I appreciate the acedemic nature of this question but I have to be honest and reply that I am not nearly experienced enough to make this sort of call.

If the bees are hauling in nectar and pollen, and frames have nectar in them, then there is a flow. If there is little coming in and only honey in the hive, then they are in a dearth.

>It spilled honey which I figured the bees would clean up but it sat there for days.

That's a pretty good indication of a flow.
 
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