I got out to visit the hives again today. Hive 1 has been on my mind a lot, and I’ve just had that sneaking suspicion that it was a goner. The bad news is that yes, there is no queen and no brood in Hive 1. That depresses me a bit. This is my original have. I’ve gone through multiple queens with it, but they are all daughters of the original local stock. This was also my top producing hive each year, giving me a minimum of two gallons and a max of eight each year. Can I just say sigh…. ?
On the other hand, Hive 2 is quite strong. I found the queen, and she’s big and fast. She’s got the makings of a solid brood nest as well. Still on the small side because of the time of year, but strong. And they have plenty of honey stores as well. I’m tempted to take the remnants of Hive 1 (there’s still probably 3,000 bees in there) and combine them into Hive 2. That would create a monster of a hive going into the spring and allow me to split out at least once, and possibly twice! I’m hoping to get up to three hives this year, but I’m also determined NOT to buy a package. They are getting to be far too expensive (at least $100 this year).
The success is that I’ve talked another person into doing bees. He’s a neighbor friend, and he’s going to start up with a single hive. I’m always glad to see more beekeepers. The more the merrier!
I figured why wait… Right after writing this, I ran back out, opened up Hive 1 and confirmed the lack of queen and brood. I then did a newspaper combine between Hive 1 and Hive 2. That should provide a big boost in population (I’d guess 3,000 or so), and about 20 more pounds of honey.
My hope is that Hive 2, which is now Hive 1, will be big enough come April that it’ll warrant a triple split, which will get me right back up to three hives, which is where I like to be.