Natural Beekeeping

Top Bar ApiRevolution has begun! Lets make some inexpensive Top Bar Hives and let them be pesticide free on their own natural comb! Che Guebee is a rebel bee fighting for the survival of the Biodiversity we all depend on and which is seriously endangered by deforestation and mono-crop agriculture! What kind of teaching have you got if you exclude nature?

Monday, June 3, 2013

3rd Split made today

The mother hive (CGB-1) which I've split already once in May has built 8 valid Queen Cells. All of them on the one brood comb I introduced from their original Queen which was split into a new hive (CGB-2).
CGB-1 failed to move eggs into empty queen cups after their Queen was removed (split) so I gave them another brood comb with freshly laid eggs from their mother Queen (to keep her fabulous genes).
In this image one can see 3 Queen Cells. There is another one just behind the lowest one. Total of 4 Queen Cells on each side of the same comb. I have heard from my last years beekeeping mentor that bees can move eggs into queen cups if they feel their Queen is gone. Now I can second this from my own experience. They can move eggs into queen cups and raise Queens indeed :)
Since these cells were so close to each other I didn't want to cut them out so I left all 4 and took the other 4 out from the opposite comb side.

I asked my local bee inspector how to create a nucleus hive and what is the minimum of combs needed. He told me that 1 comb of capped brood and 1 comb of honey is enough but to make sure to place a small dish with water behind them since its warm now and this nucleus hive will have no forager bees for at least a week.

I did as he instructed me BUT! The mother hives had no capped brood combs. Well there was one but not with that many capped cells so I took that one (future will tell if this was a bad idea). I planned to use all 4 of the cut-out Queen Cells and make 2 Nucleus hive (2 in each) but after seeing that there is not enough capped brood to give them I settled on making only one.

With a knife I carved out a chunk from the side of this brood comb and placed the 2 biggest looking Queen Cells into that space. I fastened the QC with 2 metal pins. I hope the bees will attach the QC to the comb in no time (they are good at that) since the pins are not holding QC that well.

After moving 2 frames of honey and one frame of brood with the attached Queen Cells to it I shook some house bees into this nucleus hive (CGBN-1) from a Drone Comb. House Bees are usually found on brood comb and are the ones which can't be easily shaken from the comb so I brushed the off into the new hive. This is to make sure this nuc has enough worker bees to care for the brood and the new Queen. All the older forager bees will return to the mother hive.

I didn't know what to do with the extra 2 Queen Cells. They looked smaller that all the other Cells. I was contemplating the idea of making another split from the other mother hive (CGB-3) which already has a new Virgin Queen and give them these 2 QC. I know the new Queen has emerged because I inspected it today just to make sure they are Queenright. I've found 2 Queen Cells; one open at the bottom and one ripped open on its side. I immediately knew that the one Queen which emerged from the cell with an opening at the bottom killed the Queen in the cell with a ripped hole one the side of the cell.
I blogged about this hive earlier and saw only one valid Queen Cup with Royal Jelly and a curved larvae. I must have missed the other one.
I didn't see this Virgin Queen and I wasn't looking for her since virgins are very fast at hiding and very shy, they dislike light. What I didn't want to do is to shake this virgin into the second nucleus by accident. That would make the mother colony Queenless and the Queen Cells would be destroyed by the worker bees.

So I destroyed the 2 cups :( This made me very very sad :( As I write this I actually feel like crying :( I dislike culling Queen Cells, yet I did just that :(

The newly made nucleus hive (CGBN-1) is made. I have reduced the entrance so other hives don't rob it. I even placed a few branches with leaves in front of the entrance to force them to re-orientate before flying out so less foragers fly back to the mother hive. Michael Bush writes about this on his web page.

I will have to check this hive in a week or two and see if it has enough worker bees to assist the new Queen until her offspring starts emerging which can take up to a month or more. In case they are short on worker bees I will have to shake some house bees into it from the strongest hive.

NOTE; CGB stands for Che GueBee. I name all my hives CGB and then add number to it.
             CGBN stands for Che GueBee Nucleus. All nucleus will be named CGBN with a number attached to it.
This makes it easier to follow the hives/colonies especially if one has a few.

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