So this evening I decided to try and split the hive (yeah, I know, it's late). The girls have completely drawn out comb in five medium hive bodies, and we've even been able (eg: had to) pull out five frames of honey. We're within a mile of two flower nurseries, so we've done really well. So I decided to try and split my one super strong hive into a couple of nucs to see if they'd overwinter.
Thing is, I don't own a bee suit. So I went out in a long sleeved shirt, veil, and gloves. Here's the end result:
For starters, I apparently am one of those folks that has to touch the stove before I'll believe you when you say it's hot. I tried to work the hive just as the sun was going down, in spite of every bit of information saying this is the WORST TIME to work the hives.
I got tagged five times on my right arm, right where the gloves met the shirt.
I got tagged once on the stomach, since apparently a button-up shirt isn't enough to deter the stings.
I had one little hard-ass get into my veil, and even as I prayed to the apiary gods not to let her get me, she tagged me on the bottom lip.
So yeah, long-story short, the two nucs now have plenty of brood and honey in them, but I couldn't find any eggs (couldn't get deep enough after getting tagged 8 times) to find any eggs to allow them to build queen cells. My main hive is still plenty strong enough (over 10 frames of capped brood) but my two nucs may or may not have inherited the queen (couldn't find her) and I'm fairly certain neither have eggs to produce a queen from.
All said and done, this has proven to be a painful experiment. At some point soon, I either have to find a queen to put into the two nucs (preferable, for genetic diversity) or get back INTO the now angry main hive and find some eggs to allow them to create queens.
Either way, I'm super gun-shy now. I need to get a real bee keeper's suit, and would recommend any cowboy trying to do their own thing do the same. Ice doesn't seem to help the swelling go down, either. And I have a meeting tomorrow afternoon. This'll be interesting...