Seesawing: two hives or three?

So how many times can I make three hives? I went in to Melissa yesterday hoping to find the 2 queens still there. I went right to the bottom deep since that’s where I put them on Wednesday. No queens. After checking each frame twice, I then took a look at the top deep, found the new queen with her two lovely colors on her thorax (brilliant idea if I do say so myself). I was increasingly frustrated and worried that I had waited too long to separate the queens and lost the VSH queen. I had an audience watching me and I kept mumbling incoherently because I was getting pretty upset. I checked the frame with the new queen, I checked three other frames and went back to the queen frame and there she was, Queen Vivienne! But then I couldn’t just take one frame and put it in the other hive body since both queens were walking on the same frame (by the way, there were so many eggs on the frames!). How to get one queen off?

I initially tried to take the VSH queen but then remembered I wanted her in Melissa. So I took off my glove and tried to catch the new queen her by the wings–she grabbed onto the cells and wouldn’t budge. I was afraid I would rip her wings off so I stopped. Then I tried picking her up by the thorax without getting her abdomen, easier said than done! She moved quickly and I worried I’d squish her or damage her somehow. Then I had an idea: just use a piece of wood and have her walk onto it. That worked even better than expected. I only took out 2 frames from the deep since I didn’t have much to work with and I was already gambling by doing this in September. I didn’t want to weaken Melissa any further. My husband thinks I’m crazy and I should pinch a queen. I can’t do it!.

If the nuc makes it until November, I’ll overwinter the nuc over Melissa since the larger hive will produce more heat helping keep the nuc warm above. BUT with more heat comes more moisture and leaving a nuc to deal with all the moisture created by the larger hive below is almost certain death. So I’ll be using a double-screened bottom board between the two hives to separate them (not for requeening) and will make a moisture quilt to put over the nuc to absorb the moisture created by the bigger hive below. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, and feeding both of them.


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