With a new species native bee species recently being identified, the powers that be(e) have changed the formal name to Tetragonula (Tetra meaning four species) from Trigonia (Tri meaning three) followed by the species name but lots of backyarders are yet to change their vocabulary!
Summer is the season to split Australian Native bee hives. We swapped a hive of Trigona Carbonarii with friends for a hive of Trigonia Hockingsii last year when we both split hives. (See Carbonarii split here). It's been a year since we got the Hockingsii and the husband has been reading up on them and busy building new hives in the background in preparation to split the original hive we got, into two hives.
We haven't split the Hockingsii before and so with all the tools in place, an audience, an official photographer - thank you Peter - and a freshly painted hive to move them into - late one Saturday afternoon, we gave it a go!
Here's what we did...
Frugal-ness: 3/5 for hand making it (but it isn't a cheap exercise...)
Time cost: About 4 hours to actually make the hive, painting time and maybe 20 minutes to do the actual split (then add an hour to get all the bees out of your hair, armpits and undies!!!)
Skill level: Owning bees is easy, splitting bees is not so hard if you do all the research and have everything ready before you start.
Fun-ness: Sooooooo much fun - bee keeping (err, bee watching) is such a time waster!