On May 31, 2011 I visited my Apiary in Ada, Ohio. My intent was to move bees from a small 2 foot top bar hive (tbh) into a 3 foot tbh. However, when I opened up the 2 foot hive I found very little capped brood. The brood that I did find was hatching out and there were no eggs in any of the open cells. I still had about half the hive to check and had my fingers crossed that I would find evidence of the queen.
Another thing I noticed is that my Italian queen at one point was superseded and that the new bees are much darker now. This was a very interesting contrast to the bees that I was use to seeing earlier in the year. However, with no eggs, I was getting worried.
As I went through the hive bar by bar, I began to transfer the combs to the larger tbh. As I moved through the hive, I was still no seeing signs of a recent queen. When I got down to the last 5 bars, I found 3 queen cells. I transfered one of these to the new hive and at that time decided I would divide the hive up and allow the bees in the split hives raise their own queens. During my transfer and manipulation of the hives, I crushed one of the queen cells in the original hive. This was not my intent, but it happened. I plan on checking the hives on June 7, 2011 to see if the queens have been released and possibly laying. I am hoping the queens were about to be released when I split the hive. All the brood was capped and I could see that the bees were hatching out quickly. Each comb only had about 100 capped cells on each side which leads me to believe the queens would be hatching out soon. Otherwise, I will either have to order queens or move combs from a 3rd hive into each of these to allow the bees to attempt to raise another queen.