Today we checked out OH, Girls Split #1. This is the nuc we created on 12 May from the ever-giving OH, Girls hive.
Of course, this was after we noticed the second split from this hive was being raided. I was surprised because the split is well-populated, but everything was fine once we put on this special screen we bought to use on such an occasion. In truth, this is the first time we’ve thought to use it, and I must say it worked very well. Things calmed down immediately. It’s similar to this one, but made of wood.
At any rate, once we got over that small disaster, we took the inner cover off the first split, and found this on the back of it.
Underneath was this.
It seems the girls have been rather busy. Thankfully, The Engineer thought to save that comb and the honey to add in when we extract.
This queen is prolific. Six of the ten frames in the hive were covered with capped brood and larvae.
Like their cousins in the original OH, Girls hive, these bees had refused to work a couple of the older frames, and now that we understand this, we’ve replaced two, and will replace the remaining ones as soon as we can find some new black foundation.
They had also filled and capped one deep frame of honey, which we stole from them, mostly to give the queen space to work. We added another deep nuc box too because they were bursting at the seams.
Here she is, much darker than her half-sister in the original hive, but equally big and fat!
We need to think how to give this hive more room — perhaps move the frames into full-sized boxes.
Next, we opened the Kremlin, and as The Engineer said, it was like moving from a crowded city to the country, with a lot fewer bees, and not nearly as much activity.
This could partly be attributed to the fact that they too have some old comb, but I’m afraid I think it’s Olga. Her laying remains spotty even on the brand new and newish comb and frames.
It’s here that having more than one hive becomes beneficial because we have options.
- We could move a frame or two of brood from one of the crowded hives into the Kremlin. Unfortunately, I think this would just put off the issue. Besides, we gave them a frame when we introduced Olga. It may have helped them accept her, but they should be growing at a faster rate.
- Another thing we discussed almost jokingly was to swap houses with the OH, Girls split. After all, we have a hive in small boxes that’s running out of space, and a hive in two full-sized boxes that can’t seem to fill them. I’m not sure this would remedy Olga’s poor laying, but it would benefit the split.
- We could also requeen the hive, or “encourage” it to requeen itself. This could be done in conjunction with either of the above choices.
The Kremlin also needs treated for Varroa again because there was brood when we did the vaporizer a few weeks ago.
We generally prefer to mix up our treatment, and would normally use Formic Pro strips for this, but the weather has been too hot. It’s cooler now, but supposed to hit the 90s again next week, which is too hot for that method.
Right now, I think our best bet would be to do three treatments of Oxalic Acid over a period of as many weeks, then swap boxes with the split, give Olga another few weeks to show what she can do, and then requeen in some way if she hasn’t improved.
The Engineer and I will think on and discuss this before making any decisions.
In the meantime, tomorrow we will look again at the honey supers on OH, Girls with our fingers crossed (as always) hoping to find enough capped honey to make it worth the effort of extracting.
I’ll keep you posted.