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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    I currently have 3 hives. All still seem to be healthy with plenty of stores (as of a quick glance yesterday). My question is this. I plan on making 2-3 this year bringing my total hives to 5 or 6. I want to requeen all of my hives and make my splits with NWC from Strachans. After a look on their website I noticed that Strachans' first queen shipping date is May31st.

    Does anyone forsee a problem with making my splits and requeening my hives in the first week of June? I believe the main flow around here is mid-June to mid/end of July or so... I don't want to sacrifice my honey production.

    Thanks,

    Dan
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  2. #2
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    Dec 2003
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    Bismarck, ND USA
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    IMO you probably will be sacrificing some honey production by making the splits that late. How will you be splitting them? Splitting them evenly or leaving the parent hive strong and just making some 3 frame nucs? In the first situation they may not make as much honey being somewhat weakened shortly before the honey flow starts. In the second situation the "parents" should still be able to make a good crop (if they were good and strong before being split) but the nucs might not make much.
    Gregg Stewart

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    IMO that's a great time to split. If you do a cutdown split and put all of the open brood and stores in the new split with the old queen and introduce the new queen to the old hive which has all of the capped brood, the old hive will produce a crop and the new hive will build up nicely for winter.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
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    Apr 2004
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    Michael,

    That is exactly what I propose to do. The only difference is that I was thinking of introducing a new queen to the cutdown split as well. Am I trying to do too much at once?

    Dan
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
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    <<Am I trying to do too much at once?>>

    Introducing a queen at that time will just give the split a head start of about a month.

    You might want to consider giving tarheit an email about queens, he's in Ohio and raises NWC's. They'll spend less time being shipped, I think, than if you get them from California.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    <<Am I trying to do too much at once?>>

    I don't see any problem giving them both a queen if that's what you want. I'd lean toward letting them raise their own because it is advantageous to be queenless from two weeks before the flow to two weeks into the flow. There are less brood to care for and those brood wouldn't help with the main flow anyway. But if you want to buy new queens, I guess you can kill the queen and give them both one.

    >Introducing a queen at that time will just give the split a head start of about a month.

    Actually that would be true anytime except just before the flow.

    The cut down split will actually give you more honey if you don't.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Guatemala
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    244

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    Here is an idea for making splits without weakening your parent colony, provided you have a dozen or so hives:
    prepare your new, empty boxes and "hunt" for combs containing brood, bees and stores among the existing colonies.
    Each new box should receive two combs with pollen and honey, two combs of sealed brood(soon to become nurse bees)and one comb of unsealed brood. All these combs, picked one out of each parent colony, must carry their bees along, so don´t oversmoke the parent colonies. Consequently, five colonies will yield one nuc without being significantly deploid of their population, brood and stores, plus replacing one or two combs with empty ones or foundation should not be too stressing.
    Some parent colonies might prove to be so strong that you could pull two combs out.
    Combining bees from different colonies will ussually result in fighting, so you shake the bees in front of the nuc box on a landing board while you place the combs in the box following a "natural order". If you can take a little extra time, look for Housel positioning or respect the original position (try not to rotate the combs).

    Smoking the bees inside will somewhat help mix their odors and reduce fighting.
    Be careful not to transfer more than one queen, or none at all.
    New queens timely shipped are then introduced into your newly "assembled" hive a couple of days later, being cautious to check and destroy all queen cells on the making. Laying queens of decent origin will give you a headstart over letting the nucs raise their own.

    Bees thus shook will likely drift back to parent colonies unless you seal the entrance for a day or so. Or you could change places: move the nuc to one of the parent colony´s stand so it will capture lots of field bees.
    A parent colony may loose its field force and still not suffer much IF there is not too much brood to look after and feed...plus if the queen remains, the population will be quickly replenished.
    Nucs as well as parent colonies will benefit from feeding just as you would normally feed at the given time of year.

    Any feedback on this procedure ?

  8. #8
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    It works. Depending on the timing, this is a good way to do a split at most any time. Depriving a hive of all the open brood is a nice way to do a split two weeks before the main flow.

    When doing the kind of split you describe, I don't try to close them up and I don't try to swap places. In this kind of split, I just shake in bees from brood combs from each of the donor hives (careful not to get the queen) so I have twice as many bees as I think I need. Half will probably go back to the old hive.

    When doing an EVEN split, I try to face both the new colonies to the old location (where there is now no hive). That way they drift into whichever and if one gets too strong, you can swap those two.

    But I don't do a lot of even splits. I'm usually setting up 2 frame mating nucs that then get established and I keep moving them to bigger and bigger quarters.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
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    Apr 2004
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    Wheatfield, IN
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    Thanks for the replies. I may just let them raise their own queens. I let one of my hives do that last year and it worked well. It would definately be cheaper too. I just really liked the NWC queen I got last year. The hive was great and easy to work. I don't have a full 12 month season under my belt yet but I like what I saw and like what I hear from others about the NWC.
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Hookstown PA USA
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    Tarheit's queens lay very well too. Or at least the one I have does. They haven't moved up into the medium I put onto the single deep for winter yet. I have my italians in double deeps and the one I am having to feed. Those NWCs seem to be very frugal with the stores.

  11. #11
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    Apr 2004
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    I am having the same experience with my hives. I have 1 Italian, 1 the hive raised (unknown), and one NWC. The NWC hasn't even gotten into the top super it is still completely full of sealed honey. The other 2 hives are much farther into their winter stores. All hives were basically equal in stores and bees at the onset of winter. NWC's definately seem to use less. The NWC queen stopped laying much sooner then the other two queens. Any one know Tarheit's email?

    Dan
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  12. #12
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    Jan 2003
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    Kiel WI, USA
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    tarheit at watchtv DOT net

    I'd never seen bees remove brood before, and I've still got 5 out of 6 hives left. With Italian mixes, I'd always lost 2 out of 3 by this time of year.

  13. #13
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    thanks for the email
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    Hiram, Northeast Ohio
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    Amen on the NWC's -- This is my first year with them and these guys have been amazingly frugal and resiliant. They did do a major brood removal in October to the point that I was worried something was wrong, but obviously not-- this hive got knocked all apart this winter by a falling tree, sat through a week of bitter cold and two snowstorms laying there completely open and apart on the ground, and they are still a nice lively cluster with tons of stores left. I don't even think a thousand died. I've seen them flying out to take care of business on days with a high of 35 degrees, which never happens with my Italians. They do glue things up pretty bad, but I have to think this is THE bee for northern climes.
    It\'s people! Soylent Green is peeeeople!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
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    Guatemala, I used that system but only started with 2 hives. My first nuc I used 1 frame of honey/pollen mixed, 1 frame of capped brood which I saw a few chewing the caps off their cells, and 1 frame of fresh eggs and brood that I actually had to remove the queen from. I gave the nuc a couple foundationless frames(pointed top bar frames no foundation used) to fill the box and let them raise their own queen. Like MB said you can use smoke to confuse the bees scent. I placed the 3 frames in the nuc apart from each other then smoked heavy then slid them together and added the empty frames and closed the box. I had no dead bees infront of the nuc from fighting so it must not been a problem. This first nuc was made about the 25th of March(a bit early for here but it made a good hive). A week later I did the same thing again. The parent hives had not rebounded enough so the third one was done 2 weeks later. The fourth one was made the next week. 2 weeks later I made 2 nucs and took one frame of capped brood from the first nuc as it had to be given more space or split. I made these 2 hives into 12 by late July. I sold a couple of these nucs and a couple nucs from the bees removed from an old church. I had to combine 4 hives to make 2 strong enough for winter so my total hives going into winter was 10 hives and 1 deep nuc(I refused to put it back into the deep hive body because of my back injuries). All are doing good so far. 4 of them are real light on stores 2 more are getting light but I start my 1/1 syrup feeding next week for spring build up. This year I plan on doing the same thing but much quicker since I am starting with more hives.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    monroe, nc, US of A
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    Hillbillynursery: Did any of your new hives produce honey? Did your orginal hives produce honey? How was the old hives production as compared to last year? Do you have any other observations or comments on your honey production. Thanks for your input.
    HAR

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Bethlehem CT.
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    44

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    does anyone know of a supplier that would ship packages of NWC to CT instead of just queens?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
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    I made no honey last year. The 2 starting hives made 3 extra supers total but I had to give it to the other hives to get my weight up. But 10 nucs is alot of increase from 2 hives. If you put a dollar amount on them(I sold them for $45 each last year for a 5 frame medium nuc). So 10 times $45 is $450 worth of bees. I was happy with the result. I did have one nuc that constantly kept swarming(I caught the swarms and combined them). It never even tried to fill the empty frames. It was the old buckfast queen and one of my last splits. I even had another nuc that kept building queen cells so I killed the queen and left them a couple ripe cells. This was one of the old buckfast queens daughter and was laying a good pattern but they had not filled the full medium I had put them in. So with the trouble I have had out of the buckfast from R weaver I never want another one from them(the other queen was a very agressive to the point I questioned AHB). I plan on making one round of splits this spring then set 4 hives up for honey production. The more hives you have the less it pulls them down. I was taking an average of one frame a week but it was in groups of 2 from one and one from the other them the next week I did the same thing but switched which hive gave me 2 then skipped a week. The hive I took one frame first acted like nothing was taken. But the one that lost 2 frames took to long to get back to strength. These parent hives started out as 1 1/2 mediums full of bees when I made the first split(remember I started in March). When I quit splitting they had a full medium of bees. I learned the hard way to slow down. This year I will not be doing the splits every week. It will be more like every 2 weeks. I also have a 2 6 frame nucs which will be the first 2 made with 4 frames from the starting hives. I think these bigger nucs will be better off in the cooler temps of March. I also have more hive to pull from. I have 10 hives and a deep nuc that seem to be coming through winter real well and 1 that is weak but has stores. They have about a month of getting 1/1 syrup to get them going before I start splitting.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
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    HillBilly,
    HOW did you get your bees to build up like that? I'm having to start over fresh and don't mind skipping a year of honey to get a bumper build up like that.

    WayaCoyote
    WayaCoyote

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