Trunchen Hive Is Born
I spent the first half of today volunteering at a food distribution center for the hungry, and then rushed home to split the bees.
The hive got here yesterday, but I didn’t feel boring you with a post about getting it. I immediately had to stack all of the boxes up and make my living room smell fantastically of cedar.
I primed the roof in between my classes, and then finished painting it after I got home for the day. I put the final coat on right before I went to bed, and it was dry by this morning. Which meant that I’d be doing the split once I got home!
So. Here’s the picture of the White Hive (I think that’s what I’m going to officially call it) before I moved it.
They weren’t very active when I started things going, but they stirred into action once I started moving things around. I was going to try and just move the whole hive at once, but it weighed wayyy too much to risk doing that. I probably would’ve lifted that much, if it weren’t for the fact that it was a hive full of stinging insects which I needed to cooperate with me. So, I took the roof off, set that behind me on the hill side, took the super off and put that on the roof. I took the telescoping cover (? [the inner lid is what I call it]) and put that on the 4 bricks next to me like I would if I was going to just open the hive like normal. Then I took the lowest box and carried it over to an old stump (the bottom stayed glued to it so that was reaaallly helpful). Then there was the very fun task of moving the base, which is lighter than it appears, but is still rather heavy and bothersome to move when you’re in a beekeepers suit. We had 6 cement blocks holding up the stand, and since I still didn’t have an official stand for Trunchen Hive, I set two of the blocks aside to use for that. Because really, only 4 blocks are necessary to hold up the White Hive’s stand.
SO. By this time a cloud of bees had formed where the White Hive used to be. They were extremely loud, and every time I got close to them, they would all come close/try to land on me (possibly mistaking me for the hive?). I’m making things up here, I honestly have no clue. I rushed to put the White Hive back together (leaving both lids and the super off, because I still needed to find the queen and brush some bees into the new hive) and then rushed to get Agatha’s hive in place. Here’s where the White Hive now resides.
As SOON as I set the stand and the first box down bees started confusedly piling into the entrance. The cloud (which was louder than an airplane when it flies overhead) quickly diminished while I worked to get the bars and the second bars in place. I then went over to the White Hive and began looking for Agatha. The bees had constructed dozens of swarm cells again, and I was thankful that I got this new hive. I became more and more apprehensive that I wouldn’t find Agatha because she had stopped laying (I was seeing very little eggs) and her reduced size would make her almost impossible to spot. To my dismay, on the 6th frame there were two swarm cells with eggs in both of them. I scanned the frame for Agatha and found her, much to my delight. She had a weird thing stinking out of her back end though, almost like she had been laying an egg when I opened the hive and hadn’t finished and just got up and kept walking around. That or she was walking around with her stinger out, which I’ve never seen.
I quickly took her over to the new hive and (GENTLY) swept the entire frame of bees into the box. She disappeared into the masses, so I had no way of knowing if she actually made it into the box, but I didn’t see her on the ground, and I put the frame into the box sideways so I could brush the bees off with a little more control. I put the frame back in the hive and left the two swarm cells with eggs in them on the frame. My thinking is, these are already queen cups that have eggs in them, so the bees don’t have to do any extra work and the eggs are already on track to be queens. I just hope that the bees don’t take this to mean that they still need to swarm after those new queens hatch…
Anyway, I went back through the top box of White Hive and swept as many bees as I could into the new hive. I then put the super and the two roofs back on the hive and quickly went to get the quilt (which I’d filled with extra wood chips we had from my aunts) and the roof for the new hive. I put the bars in place in the top box of the new hive, and then the quilt and roof, and walked away. And so Trunchen Hive was made!
Here it is! I like this picture because if you look closely you can see the girls all lined up at the entrance, presumably fanning the scent of Trunchen Hive.
Here’s a picture of both White Hive and Trunchen Hive.
That plant in the middle there is wisteria. It was really annoying to have to keep walking around, and I hope to eventually get it growing on something properly. Otherwise I’m going to chop it down because it provides no benefit to the bees and its really not that attractive.
I feel rather bad for White Hive, because all of the field bees will now be living in Trunchen Hive and as a result there appears to be 0 activity.
I’ll update this if I take more pictures.