Last year i lost a number of queens in August and so thought I would raise some more queens in case they were needed to make sure colonies had good queens to go into winter. If they are not needed for re-queening colonies i can make them up into nucs.
Today i have split my queen rearing colony for the second and final time this season. The aim is to produce 4 large nucs from the double brood colony that will be strong enough to go through the winter. Over the past 2 weeks i have been repeating the process i undertook in May using a Cupkit and Cloake board. So far i must say with more success, as this time i have produced 7 out of a possible 10 queen cells, each quite large and beautifully drawn out on the cell bar. 3 frames of brood and 2 of honey/nectar along with a queen cell have been put in national hives placed on top of each other in two stacks on the same site as the original colony. Yesterday i removed the queen and placed her in a nuc box with the frame she was on and 2 other frames, filling the remaining space with 2 other fames.
In addition 2 of the remaining queen cells were placed in mating Apidea. I have not used these before and wanted to try them for queen rearing. Each was filled with fondant and a cup full of bees. I hope they will draw out some comb from the small starter strips placed on the tiny wooden frames. These have been left closed up in a shady spot on the apiary, i will open the door to let the bees fly on Friday. Finally the colony that was the swarn that set up home in the spare equipment has lost its queen already and so i placed the last queen cell in this colony after destroying a number of poor queen cells that had been drawn out.
The queens are due to hatch on Thursday and if the weather holds there are still plenty of drones about. It will be over the next few weeks that the last of the drone brood emerges and then begin to be evicted from hives by the workers to preserve fruits of the summers labour. Let’s hope the weather holds for successful mating.