The weather’s been absolutely beautiful for bees around here since that pathetic excuse for a Spring gave up and left: nice and hot, enough rain (well, more than enough rain) to keep everything growing and blooming. It’s been glorious.
We’ve been planning to get working on our breeding program this year and had set tomorrow for the first step: setting up the cell builder colonies. We’ll be taking a deep box (Langstroth equipment is better suited for grafting) and splitting it into three nucleus hives (nucs). The queen will stay in the second box of the donor hive.
We’ll stick a bar of grafting cups into each of the nucs, then let them do their thing for a few days and realize that they’re queenless. They’ll clean and polish the cups in the meantime.
On Monday or Tuesday, I’ll select a frame of fresh eggs from the donor hive and graft them into the plastic cups. I’ll tear down any queen cells in the nucs and then put the cups back in for the ladies to look after. Once I’m sure we have enough viable queen cells in progress, I’ll wait for them to be capped, then split the second box of the original donor into three more nucs. They and the first three will all get a nice queen cell, then I’ll wait and make sure they hatch and are mated nicely.
By this time in July, these six nucs should be built up to full-size singles and ready to get organized for winter.
I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Tomorrow, step one: splits. I’ll take lots of pictures. 🙂