Bees Are Booming!
Two weeks ago I did a split from each of the two strong hives. Both splits seem to be doing well and when I inspected yesterday, one has a young queen. I don't know if she has mated or not. Her abdomen is still fairly small. I have a queen cell in the other split so hopefully a queen will develop there as well.
I moved the swarm trap I made last year from a neaby pine tree, which has died over the winter. I placed it on the fence behind the row of hives. I placed a cotton swab with a good dose of lemongrass oil on it. When I went to inspect hives yesterday I was excited to see bees busily flying in and out of the small opening of the trap, which vertically holds 4 frames. Pretty cool!
I will let this stay in place for a week or more, just in case there is a virgin queen who will need to know where to return from her mating flights. Then this will go into a nuc to use to raise brood or serve as an emergency queen.
Today I picked up a 3 lb. package of bees that I won in a drawing in our December meeting of the East Central Iowa Beekeepers Association. Compliments of Paul Gardner of Precious Bee Farm out of Homestead, Iowa, this colony puts me at 5 hives plus the swarm. It should be an interesting season!