Well, i received my Russell Apiaries http://russellapiaries.webs.com/ queens yesterday. They left MS Tuesday night and i had them in cumberland by 11:30 Wensday!!! Anyway, i recieved 3 Caucasians, 3 Sunkist Cordovans, and 4 English Buckfast. All were in great shape and were nice size for "mail-order" queens, anytime a queen stops laying for is young for that matter her ovaries shink and she gets smaller. In this case based on my limited experience these queens were laying and pulled quickly and NOT "banked" like many large producers do. So i was happy.
The Sunkist Cordovans are a nice "blond" color as well as the Buckfast queens. The Caucasians were solid black queens, the darkest i have seen, i fidn this funny since us Caucasian folks are white...LOL of course the breed comes from the Caucus Mt region...
So i left work early knowing i would need time to make the splits,and boy am i glad i did, i didnt make the las split until the sun was behind the trees at 8:30!! I had already inspected all my hives a few weeks ago to identify "splitters" so i had that on my side.
I decided to do what i call a 50/50 split, where i laid two boxes beside me on the ground and placed one frame in one box and then the next frame in the other box, deviding the brood, honey, pollen, etc up evenly between the two boxes. Since i was installing queens i absouluty had to find the existing queens, the box that got the existing queen usually got one less frame of brood and in its place i made sure was an empty comb. Either way its not scientific just one here one there. The i placed the existing queen box back at the same location moving the split for the Russell queen somewhere else.
So i did this on 10 hives and thus made 10 single deep drawn comb splits. So each hive had are now a single deep. These are EXTREMLY strong splits and should build up and draw wax VERY quickly, which is my intent. I then placed a 1/2 Bee Pro pattie on each old and new hive. I then placed a second deep with 8 foundation frames and an empty (until sunday) 1.5 gallon Mann Lake cap and ladder feeder on top of both single deeps.
Once i got through doing all that, i then went back i then got my queens ready by removing the cork at the candy end and went to each new split. i removed one foundation frame in the new upper deep and placed the queen cage in the center of the hive NO TOP OF the top bars of the bottom frames with the SCREEN SIDE UP. This provides easy installation, release, etc for the queens and me. The key is to always make sure the exist hole is not blocked and the screen is not blocked so the bees can feed the queen etc.
I will go back on sunday and check for release and if so i will then reinstall the one remmoved frame and add sugar syrup to the feeder. The reason i didnt add syrup yesterday is two fold. For the existing "parent" hive i could have added syrup but i ran out of time. For the new split since i had an empty frame space in the middle for the queen cage i didnt want them building anymore odd burr comb than they already will, so holding the feeding off for a few days limits this issue, also i didnt have time anyway...
So thats my story. I was pleased with the splits and the brood levels, i did notice the hives slowing a bit which is expected now the nectar flow is over and less pollen is coming in. I will be keeping an eye on the pollen levels in the comb and possibly add patties to all hives starting the middle of july or slightly earlier depending on weather etc, last year i added them middle of july, but the weather and rain has helped recently so we shall see.