Wish me luck, today was the day I split my big hive, the 2015 swarm that overwintered beautifully twice, excellent producers, nice gluey bees make lots of propolis AND last summer they killed 2 cutouts and 3 splits with bought queens as soon as I got them set up.
So today, I divided them. 2 mediums on a screened bottom board with a feed jar on top, closed up. they have 4 medium frames of brood capped and uncapped, pollen but almost no nectar (I held off feeding for a day or so while I got the yard work done in anticipation) Hit at 6 pm when most workers home so hopefully some ended up in the pair of mediums, although I can switch their position and pick some up when I can open them. No idea which half got the queen, the deep also had 4 or 5 frames of brood capped and uncapped. again they had pollen, no nectar. The drought is becoming a dearth.
Gave both a feed jar, and my little nuc one as well.
Tomorrow evening, if I don't get it done tonight, I need to mount #8 hardware cloth cones on the diesel tank hives, to lead the bees out to the deep boxes in the truck bed in front of them, and not allow them to return to their tank. Had to wait til we stabilized in warm weather, and they will be quite vulnerable to robbing, so I had to split the big one first. If I get the big pair stable I can move them to other bee yards, but the diesel tanks can't be moved, they weigh too much.
The bees I split are still split, the big hive in the deep still had the queen, and way too many bees, so I moved them, put the smaller half in their place and gave the small half (the 2 mediums) another frame of eggs - a deep, fit by pulling top and bottom frame 5. They do have a couple of capped queen cells but younger brood just in case they lack confidence in their queen making ability.
I let the little half gather some workers after I closed them up, after all they are now where the larger hive was. but when the big hive looked like robbing them, I closed the front door. they have ventilation syrup and pollen. Will reopen after foragers go out in the morning, but a TINY opening.
and today I went through the split and found a LOT more bees than there were before and uncapped brood. since I had to fully close them up (screened bottom board for ventilation, feed jar on top for syrup) due to robbing from the diesel tank hives, I was really worried. I started closing off the diesel bees and put about 4 gallons of syrup in a no-drown open feed bucket when I opened the front door to let the split's queen go mate. they are not the biggest most active hive but they have plenty of bees and she is laying. I am very pleased.
The diesel bees are not liking their new pvc pipe entrance and exits. They have to get in hives soon, I'm tired of them, I can't inspect, and they get irritated when I mess with them, making egg collection from my hens fairly hazardous