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Monday, September 26, 2005

No Flow...Let's Split

Well, the split went a little less than well. I smoke the hive as usuall but, I completely taped my gloves to my shirt and my veil to the neck portion of my shirt. The hive had gotten so large that I was actually becoming scared of them. The queen I ordered arived on Friday, a day early and on Saturday we had to drive about fifty miles to borrow a nuc box. With all the parts rounded up I find that I didn't have enough foundation for three frames so I would replace the frames I took from my hive with empty frames. So, anyways, I organized all the stuff, after spending about an hour closing all the enterence holes in the nuc, and began to do the split. The bees greeted me as usuall, about four thousand taking to the air with a deafening roar. My camera woman at this point had to retreat because of a sting to her finger. Anyways, I took down the first super; somewhat heavy but, light in comperison to the super just below it, and at that point I reached the brood chamber. This hive is booming with bees and I think that it has reached it's climax for the year. I quickly determined which frames to take and placed them in the nuc with the queen cage much in the same way I installed the package a few months ago. It was right about here that things began to get ugly. I replace the frames I took with empty ones and then go to bring the nuc to the short 2.5 foot tall fence. About halfway there I got stung in the only exposed area of my arm, the ventilation mesh. Now, I scraped the stinger out as usuall, accidentally ripping my gloves and, would you believe it, my smoker went out. Now I had to rush to put back the supers and cover just as the bees were beginning to lose their temper. I got the cover on but, the boxes wern't perfectly aligned. They're off about a half of an inch, luckily, the boxes are three quarters of an inch thick so I just left the bees. Surprisingly, the sting had completely lost its pain after the first five minutes, I was rushing because I was afraid of the comming stings given I couldn't cover the alarm pharamone. I moved the nuc and found a few straglers on the out side. I brush them off but they just keep comming back. I quickly carry the nuc to the garage remembering that bees will always fly to a source of light. Then, as soon as I had the nuc in the garage I went inside to cool off for a few minutes. When I came back it appeared that there were just as many stragglers as befor. Confused, I close the garage and turn on a florecent light, in a few minutes hundreds of bees were banging into the bulbs and I knew that there was a leak in my sealing of the hive. I brought the hive back outside and bees were just pouring out in a steady stream. After attempting to close it up I decide to wrap it in a bed sheet to take it the some five miles to it's new home. I hop in the car, somewhat nautious with dehydration, and head over to the property, praying that the bees don't get out into the car. As soon as we get there I open the trunk and one bee flys out and gets tangled in my mother's hair. We remove it and I carry the nuc back to the spot some fifty feet away with two cinder blocks to stand it on. I organize the blocks and took off the bed sheet. There wern't any bees so I thought that maybe I had done and ok job. I lifted the nuc onto it's make-shift stand and tried to tear off one peice of tape. The entire bit that I had covering the enterence came off and hundreds of bees flooded out with a very agrivated buzz. I ran off for a minute then came back to pull the cloth from the main enterence. After that I grabbed the bed sheet and walked away, whipping the bees off of it. Appearently, the bees thought they were bulls and charged right at me. That's what I get for being stupid. So I ran away at this point and went about 100 feet to the driveway, whipped the last few bees off the sheet and brushed some off my back, then took off the gloves and veil. It had been about two hours and I was so dehydrated that I began vomiting. Not in massive amounts but it was clearly there. I crawled into the car, leaned back and sighed in releif, "That took longer than I thought it would."

NO PHOTOS...sorry


Blogger Roy Tate said...

I'm no expert, but I think you should slowly and gently smoke your bees before making the split, so they will fill up on honey. This creates artificial swarm conditions, so the bees in the old box will draw out their foundation, and the bees in the new box will be gentle. And ... I think ALL beekeepers wish that their monster hives with 4 supers would be as gentle as their 3 frame starter hives!

3:56 PM, October 26, 2005  

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