I may have earned the right to actually be called a beekeeper today!
I had studied Michael Bush's articles on splits in general and splitting a mean hive: http://www.bushfarms.com/beesswarmcontrol.htm http://www.bushfarms.com/beesrequeeninghot.htm
What I had was a mean hive consisting of a deep
with brood in it and a medium with brood
in it and two shallow supers, one with honey and one with foundation. Earlier this week when I tried to check on this hive and was run off, the Medium had lots of queen cells and the hive was obviously ready to swarm. Since I had a queen excluder on the deep and had manually put my marked queen into the deep a couple of weeks ago after she had layed in the medium, I didn't know what I had going on (two queens seperated by a queen excluder?) as I still had a medium full of brood.
My main objective
was to deal with this hive so I could weed my garden, i.e., get rid of "mean" bees. Secondly, this was such a strong hive, mean or not, that I would like to split it and requeen ASAP before it swarmed.
I prepared my new area for two new hives. I set this up about 10 yards from my first two hives (and needed protection just to be working out there moving lids and bottoms). I decided I would use my Met Cart rather than ATV with trailer to move the Deep, medium and two supers as I had never driven the ATV with a trailer and it seemed to back differently than a cattle trailer.
I fired up my smoker using a blow torch (new tip from this forum!) When I had to get my smoker going full blast again about half way thru I was relieved to find I could just stick the end of the blow torch into the embers and the butane (or propane or whatever) would ignite. I have never had such success with my smoker as using this method. I'm sure keeping billowing smoke going at all times made things go as smoothly as they did.
I wore leather roper boots, blue jeans, long sleeved shirt, then bee overalls; used rubber bands at my feet; wore nitrile gloves (in case I had to throw off my bee gloves for any reason) and tucked my overall sleeves into those, then wore my inspector's jacket with zipped on veil. I made sure the velcro at the back of my veil was fastened, where the zipper attaches, as I've had a bee get into my veil twice (and been stung) when I ignored this. Then wore my leather bee gloves over the nitrile gloves. This get up should have worked but about 15 feet from the hives I noticed I had not zipped up my jacket nor my veil!!!! Fortunately got that done. Needless to say with all this (over) protection, I did not get stung once even though I usually had at least 30 - 100 bees bumping me the whole time.
(Note: on a tip from one of MB's articles, I had washed all my bee protection stuff
yesterday, including my leather gloves, as I had stingers in my gloves and in my suits from my last visit to the hives.)
Anyway, everything went well. Took my time as I felt well-protected and had a good smoke going. The cart I used was the same height as my original hive stand so I was able to more or less slide the deep onto it. That was a big worry I had -- 65 lbs is about my limit on lifting but did not have to do a dead lift.
When I got the two brood chambers set up on separate bottom boards, I added a medium with drawn comb to the medium brood chamber and will run it as two mediums rather than a deep. I finally put on the two supers, one on each new hive as I really had no where else to put them and I do want to keep some honey production going through all this if I can. I put an empty (frames with foundation) box on the original hive and already had quite a few bees milling around on that bottom board even after I moved the two brood chambers.
I saw one unmarked queen, which was dead
. I don't know if I killed it or another queen had but I did see it.
One other thing -- as a precaution I had moved my pick-up over by the new hives. I'd turned the A/C controls to high and left the key in the ignition, making sure the windows were all the way up. When I'd finished everything and even had put some of my equipment up, I still had my "head swarm" following me. So I tested this theory of the A/C in the car I'd heard about
. I got in the truck with all my bees and, after remembering the clutch, etc. - even if I'm not being stung it was weird being closed up with all those bees. Finally got the truck started, A/C roars on and I cracked the driver's window an inch. Those bees couldn't get out fast enough. When I drove off I had one bee on another window trying to get out. All the others had left.
I may have made some mistakes in trying to do a split this way, but at least my confidence is up in dealing with defensive bees. I will be requeening by Monday or Tuesday so will have another go at 'em then.