Right now in Texas, the temperatures are in the low 50's with freezing temperatures at night. The cool temperatures keep the bees from flying and picking up Varroa from other beekeepers.
Most of the hives are in singles. There should be enough food in the hives until late December or early January feeding. Pollen patties will be put on in late January to stimulate colonies for brood production. Dividing colonies will happen sometime in late February.
When commercial beekeepers split their hives in February in Texas, they move one frame of brood and bees into a single hive box. A queen cell is added with an unmated queen, ready to emerge in a day or two after putting the queen cell in the hive. The queen will fly and get mated in about ten days after emerging from the queen cell. The queen starts laying a week or so later. This divide, which is too small if doing it in Minnesota, will build up over the next couple months. As the temperatures warm up, the brood nest will be able to expand. The goal is to have five to eight frames of brood when the bees will be shipped back to Minnesota. Many pitfalls can happen that a commercial beekeeper has to deal with, unmated queens, weak colonies, starvation of colonies, varroa mites.
But if everything works out, 400 colonies can turn into 1000 colonies by early May.
|Pallatized hives with four hives per pallet|
|A flatbed semi truck can haul 800 pallatized single deep colonies|