Kathy, (aka "Bessie"), and I began our beekeeping experience in the fall of 2008, when we began a year-long course in beekeeping through the Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We got our first package of bees in April of 2009. At the suggestion of our daughter, Jessica, we are logging our beekeeping experience. Hope you find it interesting. It has been interesting, rewarding and entertaining for us as well.
Our one hive (out of 5 going into the winter) has survived in great shape, full of bees. I did a quick look a couple weeks ago when the temps were in the upper 50's and found the queen right away. Today, with the temp at 70, I split the hive into 3, keeping a full 3 brood boxes on the original. Though I didn't see the queen this time, I found ample eggs and put at least one frame in each of the splits. Hopefully the queen remains in the mother hive, but if not all should be able to produce a queen. I'll check the mother in a week if weather permits and see if a queen is still present there. If so, I'll move another frame of eggs into the split hive.
No sign of queen cells yet. Workers were bringing in pollen of many different shades.
The mother hive is on the left. I moved it up from the stand in back so all bees would have to re-orient themselves. I'll probably add a second hive body to #3 later next week.
It has been the coldest April on record, and also one of the driest. We had snow again just last week and this is finally the first real warm day we've had. The forecast is more like normal, rather than 20 degrees below normal, so I think the tide is turned. Later in the week I'll load the swarm trap, though from the looks of the drone cells in the hive I don't think there will be any swarming soon.