May Field Day
The May field day turned out to really be two field days, the one that worked for the bees and the one that was on the people schedule. Looking at the forecast earlier in the week, I realized that the scheduled field day would not be a good day to split the hives, which is what we needed to do this month. So, we scheduled a short-notice field day on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 2:30 pm. It was a gorgeous day, in the mid 70's and dry. We had a decent turn-out, around 10 people. Here we are making a total of three splits. Our intention was to make one split for the horizontal hive, one to leave in place, one for a beekeeper to take home. We took two from the hive we have open in the picture. One box had a lot of cross-combing which we could not move. We set that aside to take to the new location in the experimental apiary at my house. We did not find the queen in any of the other boxes, so we assumed she was in there. Of course, we could have been wrong, so just to be certain we notched frames with eggs in all the spits. We took frames from another hive for another beekeeper. We gave him four frames of brood, three with lots of capped brood and one with young brood with cells notched for queen rearing. This year I did this twice, sold frames of brood with one frame notched with the hope they will make a new queen. If they don't, I will give each of them a new frame a brood to try again. This is cheaper for them and easier for me. I hope it is successful and will encourage others to try the same thing to help jump-start the locally adapted bee movement.
Below is how we moved the splits to the new location at the sustainable apiary and then installed in the hives.
Then we had the scheduled field day on Saturday, May 14, 2016. It was cold and raw and not fit for bees or people, so we gathered in my garage and discussed what we had done earlier in the week. Beekeeping has to be done by the weather, not the calendar! At the next field day on June 11, 2016 we will inspect our splits and see how successful they were.