Interesting thread. Many of us will be doing the splits this year, that is a great way of increasing colonies. I know that I have 9 colonies that are going gung ho and then I will have to think about splitting and equalizing colonies. Three of them have the Carniolan genes and they have that propensity to swarm. Been there done that last year with a colony, man did they like to swarm. But have used it to my advantage. And I am sure that I will have messups this year, but that is all OK, this is how we learn.
Now, just a little piece of trivia. Some I hear are very worried about the bees (when making splits) drifting back to the parent colony. Yes, the older forager bees will drift back, to a large extent.
The young nurse bees. Well, their entire lot in life at that time is to look after brood. They haven't even entertained the thought of leaving their colonies yet. They don't do that until they are of the forager age, they are devoted to the brood babies, what wonderful parents, hee, hee. So they won't drift. All they want to do is feed the larvae and keep the capped brood warm.
It seems to me that in some of my readings, Mark Winston's, The Biology of the Honeybee, that each larvae could be visited and inspected 1,926 times for a total of 72 minutes, but only fed during 143 visits, Lindauer (1952). The time per feeding visit averaged 1.3 minutes for a total of 110 minute feeding time per larva, or slightly under 2% of its larval life. There are other studies too, that shows higher values of visits, (Lineburg, 1924; Kiwabara, 1947) one as high as 7,200 visits or a maximum of 1, 140 feeding visits per larva. That is staggaring, the amount of inspections and feeding. Goes to show, they are very devoted to the inspection and rearing of brood.
Rick was mentioning to give shakes of bees to the split. I think that is a good idea too, because the shakes of bees will probably be a good majority of young nurse bees, and they will stay where they are shaken off too. We have lots of learning and work to be done this upcoming season. Have fun, enjoy it, and most of all, have a great and wonderful day. Cindi