Several of the beekeepers that I have talked with are into the extraction phase of this year’s bee adventure. I have visited several yards and generally the honey storage is good. I pulled off most of the top supers of capped honey from my hives last weekend, extracted and put the extracted frames back on the hives. Standard practice for me, allowing the bees to clean up my mess. They do a good job!
In the process of this, I noted that some hives don’t appear to have productive queens. This is not out of the norm as next to mite infestations, queen issues are prevalent. Now I have to make the next beekeeping decision. Do I buy queens? Do I combine the hives into stronger hives? Do I combine spring nucs into the weak hives? Do I add a frame of eggs and hope a queen gets produced?
Normally, I treat for mites in mid July so the hive has time to get ready for winter. If I add a frame of eggs the resulting queen (if produced) will not be laying for 20 or more days. A bit too long for my plans.
If I combine with a strong hive I have several extra supers in various phases of nectar, pollen and capped stores to contend with. If I combine with a spring nuc I lose a possible over winter nuc.
One possibility is to split the queen- less hive into two nucs and add purchased queens to each. If I do this now, the new nucs should be strong going into the winter. Solves my queen issue, my extra frame issue, gives me two more nucs for winter and only cost me two queens. Except for the money what is not to like?