(update from April 28)

Despite our best efforts to balance hive build up and swarm prevention, it looks like we are going to need to split Hive 2 to keep the bees from swarming.  The way this works is we essentially perform a controlled swarm, rather than let the bees do it on their own.

When bees swarm, they first build a queen cell and start a new queen.  The then harass the queen into leaving.  When she goes, she takes roughly half of the bee population with her, and goes and starts a new colony elsewhere.  The remaining bees, with all the resources they gathered prior to the swarm and a newly minted queen, carry on.  Swarming is a high risk high stakes move for our bees.  The new queen and her entourage need to find a new location to establish a hive, and build up sufficient resources before the dearth in July and then survive the winter starting with nothing.  The existing hive has one chance to raise a new queen that then needs to fly off and successfully mate, return to the hive and begin to lay.  If anything happens to the queen, there are no other new eggs for the bees to try again.

To increase the changes of the old queen successfully starting her colony and the existing colony of surviving should the new queen not successfully mate and return, we will take the old queen and about half of the bees out of the hive and move them to a new location far from the apiary.  We will then monitor the hive and either recombine the two hives if they are unsuccessful in producing a new queen or enjoy the success of having a third colony if everything goes well.

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