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Splitting begins!

After the interminable winter and frequent rains, splitting new colonies from the old hives is behind schedule. I finally got some nucs made this afternoon, but first I shook the last thirteen 3lb. packages that came out of California via Larry Draper. I will feel relieved to put queens in the nucs tomorrow. It feels better to have them installed than sitting in a shipping box or a queen bank. With any luck the rain will hold off another day and I can hit a number of yards and really make a dent in our stock of homeless monarchs. Our splitting method doesn't take a lot of expertise. We just pull three frames of brood from the decent colonies, shake the bees off the frames, and put them in a brood box over an excluder. Then the bees come up to cover the brood and we can take away the new box, give it a queen, and leave the parent colony to rebuild strength. The main advantage to this method is saved time--you don't really look for the queen. Stronger colonies can spare more brood, but then there are the really weak colonies to account for as well. I am really curious to calculate our hive count at the beginning of June. Let us hope for many bees!

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