Hive 2, 5,6,7,8 were package colonies. All of the package hives were ready and received their second box. All of my equipment is drawn comb. I did have to feed hive 5.
Now the tricky stuff.
Hives 1 and 3 were overwintered colonies and were quite strong. Hive 3 had some capped swarm cells in the hive. So this is what I did.
- I took hive 1 that was crowded with bees and switched it with hive 2. I physically moved both hives. This will weaken the strong hive 1 and hive 2 will get stronger. By switching the hives, the field bees on both hives will fly to go forage. Even though they left from a different locale, they will fly back to where they thought they lived. So hive 2 will get hive 1's field bees which were more than hive 2's field bees. Hive 1 gets weaker but hive 2 gets stronger. Now with more bees, the queen in hive 2 can expand her brood laying area. Hive 1 gets weaker and probably has lost all desire to swarm because the number of field bees in hive 2 was much less. By moving the two hives I addressed possible swarming and helped a package of bees increase their numbers. Both hives will build up nicely for the nectar flow that starts around June 21st.
- Hives 3 and 4. Hive 3 was a strong overwintered colony that I found some capped swarm cells in it. Hive 4 was a weak overwintered colony, that may have been weaker than some of my package bee colonies. I did the same thing as before, I switched hive 3 with hive 4. Moved the entire boxes, hive 3 boxes went to hive 4 location and hive 4 boxes went to hive 3 location. Also, hive 3 was very strong, I did take four frames of capped brood out of hive 3. I looked for a queen, not seeing one, I shook the bees off the frames of capped brood. I put one frame of capped brood in package hives 5,6,7,and 8. Now hive 3 gets weaker from loosing the four frames of brood. Plus with moving to the new location should have lost all desire to swarm, if they haven't done so already. I did mark the hive to look for signs of a queen on my next visit. The package hives 5,6,7,and 8 will now get stronger when the capped brood emerges soon.