View Full Version : Time to split?
03-17-2006, 06:12 PM
When is the best time to split? The apricots just started to bloom in this area last week (03/11). The cherries are will be coming on soon if not already. Has the season progressed enough to split? The splits will be producing their own queens and I'm sure that makes a difference. Any advice?
03-17-2006, 07:55 PM
Since no one else has answered and I am not in your climate, I will just say the best time is when you have a capped swarm cell. Or if you have a purchased queen and six pounds of bees.
03-17-2006, 08:16 PM
Let the bees tell you. By that I mean 1- They should be bringing in pollen and necter. 2- They should have at least 4-5 frames of brood in various stages. 3- There should be at least enough bees to cover 6-7 frames. 4- Temps should moderated so lows at night average in the low 50's. If its colder you will need a higher number of bees to maintain proper temps. This will allow you to pull one frame containing honey and pollen and two frames of brood. Pref one with primarly capped brood and one young lavee and eggs. Be shure all three are coverd with bees.
This is minumum requirements that I have found to be successfull.
03-18-2006, 04:28 AM
IMHO with the splits making their own Queens make sure you have drones flying I take this to indicate ample breeding stock for succesful mateing flight. good luck.
03-18-2006, 08:20 AM
I shoot for two weeks before the flow. If I do a cutdown split I can get a split and actually get more honey. If I do splits earlier it usually costs me some production. If I do splits after the flow they sometimes do well, but it's harder to get them built up for winter.
03-18-2006, 08:58 PM
Supercedure cells and Drones flying. Listen to what your bees are trying to tell you.
03-19-2006, 06:40 AM
MB is on for me. Splits are not always to control swarms. I do increase splits without concern of queen cells.
As MB says timing in relation to the flow will determine how well they do and if honey production does well too.
Hawks advise on supercedure is important at all times. Gotta keep an eye out for swarm behavior. I am still learning that. Missed a swarm last year cuz I was "too busy" with other stuff.
Michael, I'm still trying to figure out when "2 weeks before the flow" is. Would it be the same as when black locust begins? Do you consider new wax to be the same as the start of the main flow? I'm trying to match this up with Walt's calendar for spring operations.
04-02-2006, 02:26 PM
Chief; Between now and mid-May, gotta have the drones either way. No drones=No bees (fertile queen and eggs). We're 'bout 3-4 weeks away here to the start of the flow.
Course with you being a bit more north of me, I'm not sure as to your dates. A few miles makes a lot of difference, trees are already in bloom 5 miles south of me, and the dandelions are just starting to appear.
Ask someone at a nursery when their plants start blooming, just thought of that my self :D , they will (or should) be aware of the blooms for your area.
04-02-2006, 02:33 PM
04-03-2006, 09:29 AM
>Michael, I'm still trying to figure out when "2 weeks before the flow" is.
You just have to figure it out for where you are from experience. White wax is a good indication. Lots of white wax is better.
>Would it be the same as when black locust begins?
Here it's about two weeks after black locust blooms. Black locust blooms the middle of May and the flow is the middle of June.
>Do you consider new wax to be the same as the start of the main flow?
04-03-2006, 10:40 AM
I do my splits approximately 2 - 3 weeks before the onset of swarm season.
For me here that means that the second & third week of April, I make my splits up.
When the queen is ready to take here mating flights 3 - 4 weeks after the splits are done, there will be drones for mating.
The hive that has been raising the new queen and not having to rear young brood has been and will consentrate on storing honey.
04-03-2006, 11:31 AM
>>"2 weeks before the flow" is.
Here is where good notes from previous years will help you. This is my 3 year keeping track although last year was my most detailed. My main flow started in earnest on May 15th in 2004 and May16th in 2005. My own critera has been when so many bees are flying into and out of the hive that there has been a seemingly massive frenzy. Bees can't seem to get into and out of the hive fast enough. It so happened that last year my wild blackberries and black locust reached their peak at nearly the same time. The blackberries showed their first bloom on May 9th but didn't have enough bloom to attract alot of interest until a week later.
Based on my notes, I use May15th as my indication for my "main flow". Without keeping notes it may not be so obvious. Colonies are bringing in nectar before that but that is my main flow and it runs for about 3 weeks. Then I have much smaller flows the rest of the summer.
As stated above. YOU have to find out when that is for you. Someone 20mi from you may have some different characteristics to their flow based on floral environments around their colonies. A sweet clover field a few miles away from me with little blackberries and minimal black locust would cause a beekeeper in that area to have a very different timeline.
04-04-2006, 06:03 PM
Well I took a look at the two hives I wanted to split and sure enough they had both started a significant amount of new queen cells. I had no drawn comb to add to these two hives and they were out of room and I think that was helping them with an early swarm impulse. Not to mention we have had great weather this spring in Eastern Washington and they have been bringing in lots of pollen and nectar for weeks. They have already started drawing out new comb and the cherries are just beginning to bloom. Drones are flying but probably not in the numbers preferred for ideal mating.
Here is what I did. I made two nucs out of the hive that was two deeps and one nuc out of the hive that was one deep. Each nuc got:
-Two frames of brood
-One frame of eggs
-One frame of honey/pollen
-One frame of foundation
-An extra frames worth of bees shook in
-Any queen cells that had been started on the frames were left in tact
I then went through the parent colonies and destroyed any remaining queen cells. How did I do? Should I go through the nucs and destroy any capped queen cells at four days to remove cells started with old larva?
04-05-2006, 05:14 AM
Are they capped queen cells? Are you sure the original hive still has a queen? I would have left some queen cells, but the split sounds fine.
04-05-2006, 08:33 AM
They were not capped but one hive was close. I found the queen in each hive so I was confident they still had a queen. Would you have left queen cells even if you found the queen?
04-05-2006, 09:36 AM
Maybe it's silly of me, but yes, I'd leave them one. They may still swarm or they may supercede. I'm always afraid they'll swarm even without the queen cell and leave it queenless.
But I always need queens. So I would put each frame with a queen cell in it's own nuc with a frame of honey and let them finish the queen.