Marin Coastal Bee Co.

Beekeeper's Blog: February 16, 2013:

Today I looked into my new hives ("nucs" [nucleus hives]; little hives made by dividing a big hive) to see if the bees have started making queen cells.  It's been three days since I split my two biggest hives and loaded the nuc boxes with bees and honey and brood comb from the big hives.

The idea is to let the re-located bees raise a queen and start a totally new hive (they did well, see picture to right, the large peanut shaped item is the beginnings of a new queen cell).

Before starting I was concerned that there might not be enough bees in each of the mother hives to make three new hives, but like wow!  When I opened them up the bees were just boiling out of the top, flying everywhere, clinging in big clumps to everything all over me and the outside of hive. Anyway, there were plenty, almost a never ending supply.

So, back to the nucs.  I just number them to keep track. Number one has the queen. Yes, I found her, the bee I marked with a spot on her back, on the very last frame in the very bottom hive body. How do they always do that?

I took her out and put her into nuc #1 so that she could be taken to a new location.  This way the big hive would think they swarmed.  A good thing too, because after opening the hive I soon found two new swarm cells (queen cells) that bees were prepping. They would soon raise new queens in these swarm cells and fly away in droves as each new queen  hatches, looking for a different home. Aaah, the joy of spring is in the air!