I checked White Hive yesterday, guessing that they were queenless by the lack of pollen coming into the hive over the past week. I found over a dozen queen cells had been made and capped in the center of some frames, along with several swarm cells along the edges. I went through and checked every frame carefully, and squashed all but 3 of them; the largest and most pitted looking. They were all swarm cells. I decided that because they still wanted to swarm and had made so many queen cells, that I would split them again. I still had the other deep box sitting around empty, and my aunt would still like a hive at her house.
So, I picked the frame with one queen cell on it, and put it in the empty brood box, along with two full frames of capped brood, a half frame of capped brood and nectar and a frame of mostly honey. There was pollen interspersed throughout, and a fair number of the empty frames in the brood box still had some pollen at the bottom of the cells. I put the frames I removed from that box around the brood cluster in the first box. I then put the telescoping cover on top of the first box, and covered the hole of the cover with a few folds of burlap. There’s no reason for the bees to try and get through that, from either box, and it’ll hold for a two or three weeks while the colonies are still figuring themselves out with their new queens.
There were a few dark drones running around, but I also saw several spots where drones had been laid along the edges of the frame, so they very well could have come from the first queen. I really should find a name for her. I didn’t check Trunchen Hive to see how she was doing because it’s not easy to do with my hive tool. Cutting the comb means I have to flip the boxes onto their sides and squat down at an odd angle to see into the box. Its a bit of a nuisance. I’m going to be ordering an appropriate hive tool soon, and with any luck I can convince my cousin to modify the top bars of the boxes that haven’t been occupied. I was thinking about maybe just buying some big screws and some chanfer, and attaching the chanfer to the top bar using the screws at either end. That way I could just do it myself, and no real woodwork would be required. I’ve seen versions of this modified top bar using just thick wire, but I think that’s a bit beyond me. Screws would work, don’t you think?