On Friday Gerrit and I made up two-frame mating nucleus hives. We went through our hives, especially the meanest ones, and removed frames of brood and frames of food (where we had them) and were able to make up 16 two-frame nucleus hives. We made some 2 frame nucs by putting 3 dividers into a deep box so it has 4 divisions, each accommodating two full frames. After leaving them queenless for 24 hours, yesterday we put a ripe queen cell into each of the 16 nucs. Today the bees are settling down and orienting and starting to forage.
I took a walk and saw that the yaupon is blooming now and bees are visiting it. I also saw bees on the blooming Burford holly bushes and the blooming wisteria vines in the neighborhood. I enjoy seeing what the bees are foraging on.
We moved all of the larger hives out of our back yard into our out apiary and put them on pallets. We started moving them Friday night (8 of them) and then moved another 8 out there yesterday, so now we have nothing but mating nucs in our back yard. It was getting so that we could not walk into the back yard without being chased by guard bees, so we knew we needed to move them. Our Chinese neighbor also wanted to make sure he would be able to use his riding lawnmower to mow his lawn without getting stung, so we assured him he would be able to do that this coming week. He could have done it yesterday afternoon if he wanted to. We should now be able to walk out into our own back yard without protection now or fear of getting stung. Things are settling down. Stragglers that did not get moved out to the out apiary are gradually joining the nucleus hives and giving them a boost to their populations.
We had 20 queen cells and used 16 in the mating nucs. We put the other 4 into a homemade incubator to keep them warm and see how long it takes for them to hatch. These are all new things for us to do, but it is a great thing to have all that work done that needed to be done in a timely fashion. Gerrit and I each got several stings in the past couple of days but we are fine.