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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Lenexa, Kansas
    Posts
    445

    Smile

    This spring, I will receive 2 new packages of bees and I will split my existing 3 hives.

    I have trouble seeing the queen, possibly because I wear thick glasses and am physically unable to keep a hive open for long. The hunched over position is very difficult for me.

    So, I think that I will put strips of foundation in the middle of a brood box as in the Miller method, and then simply thumbtack one strip on an empty frame for each split. That way, if they need a queen they will for sure have the eggs to make one.

    Unless, of course, a hive is thoughtfull enough to make some queen cells. Even I can find a queen cell.

    Here's a question, though. Supposing I take a frame with a queen cell and put it in a nuc. If I add a frame of brood to the nuc from a different hive, would the bees fight or would the confusion be enough so that they would unite peacefully? Since neither frame was in their home hive? :confused:

    What are YOUR plans for the spring?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,553

    Post

    >I have trouble seeing the queen, possibly because I wear thick glasses and am physically unable to keep a hive open for long. The hunched over position is very difficult for me.

    You'll need your reading glasses (whatever you use to read) to find a queen.

    Here's a discussion of finding a queen:

    http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000455.html

    > So, I think that I will put strips of foundation in the middle of a brood box as in the Miller method, and then simply thumbtack one strip on an empty frame for each split. That way, if they need a queen they will for sure have the eggs to make one.

    Just make sure they have some eggs in each split and they will make a queen. You don't need to cut anything or thumbtack anything. The Miller method is to get LOTS of queen cells. You only need one per hive and the bees will make at least two or three anyway without all of that.

    >Unless, of course, a hive is thoughtfull enough to make some queen cells. Even I can find a queen cell.

    Split them and the half without a queen will make a few.

    >Here's a question, though. Supposing I take a frame with a queen cell and put it in a nuc. If I add a frame of brood to the nuc from a different hive, would the bees fight or would the confusion be enough so that they would unite peacefully? Since neither frame was in their home hive?

    Usually in something as small as a nuc they don't fight much. But it's helpful to add some bees from three sources or more. That way there is more confusion and less bees on any one side.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    770

    Post

    Terri: When removing frames that you intend to combine with frames from a different hive, leave the frames in the open for a few minutes. The forager and guard bees will fly back to their hive. The frames will then have mostly nurse bees and house bees which usually don't fight much. Also, you can spray a light mist of sugar syrup over the bees on the frames just before inserting into the NUC (or combining hive). The bees will spend time cleaning one another off versus fighting.

    This spring I plan on increasing my 25 hives to about 50 hives. I'll do this by combining one frame from each of eight different hives to make a new hive each week. With 25 hive I can make up 3 new hives per week. I've read (but don't necessarily believe) that removing one frame per week from a strong hive won't impact their honey production. I'll also be doing bee removals and swarm collecting; trying out a top-bar-hive; upper entrances on a few hives; may try some queen raising; etc.
    Triangle Bees

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
    Posts
    1,895

    Post

    Why not simply do a single divide to each hive in early spring? Take all of the open brood frames except one frame with eggs, the queen, and covering bees. Make a new hive up and move it to a new spot.
    You would get your new hives, your honey production, the colonies would have all season to build, and it would be less work on you.

    By your planned method it would take you 8 weeks to make 24 new hives.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    770

    Post

    1 strong hive will produce more honey than two weak hives. That's why some bks double-queen their hives. Don't know if there is any scientific data to support this, but my observations confirm it for this area of NC. So, splitting each hive into two hives will produce about 1/2 the honey crop, but taking only one frame from each hive will have minimal/no impact on the honey crop. At $100 (at least) per hive, 24 strong (single body) hives is $2400 in 8 weeks. Assumming this works, I can then take the 24 new hives and produce another 24 hives in another 8 weeks - all before summer time.
    Triangle Bees

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,080

    Post

    Terri,
    I'm installing a new nuc yard with 75 nuc boxes ready to go.

    Increasing my pollination/honey hives by 150 hives.

    Doing two research studies, one on feral bee populations, and the other on drone semen.

    Doing side by side tests with Russians(Hardemans), Italians(Shumans), Caucasions(Bollingbee), and NWC(stachans). Will be incorparating these into my queen breeding operation.

    Will have my operation inspected so I can receive a "Bee breeders License", which is required in Pa.

    Have my new Honeyhouse inspected and certified.

    Make plans for the second annual bee picnic, which hopefully someone from this site will attend.

    Spend most of my time with the newest members of the Bjorn family. Twins born ten days ago, named David and Amelia.

    If I make it to summer, I'll smile.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Lenexa, Kansas
    Posts
    445

    Post

    Some really neat ideas here. I LOVE hearing about peoples bee plans! So many WONDERFULL ideas to think about when I cannot work the bees.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,224

    Post

    db_land,

    Unfortunately, I suspect you are headed for a rude awakening. The only way to get your bees multiplied as rapidly as you are proposing is if you are prepared to feed very heavily and forego most of the honey crop this year. You can make a crop with most of your established colonies, but I would not expect much from the later splits.

    The best results I've had were with very early spring splits made in mid March using high quality Carniolan queens. I turned one very good colony of bees into 3 very productive colonies just in time for the local honey flow. This was done with only 6 brood frames in the original colony.

    May I suggest trying this by ordering a few very early queens from one of the Florida breeders. Take a single frame of brood and bees from each of 3 or 4 colonies. Make these splits up between March 15th and 25th. This will fit fairly well with your normal honeyflow which starts about the 25th of April and ends typically by the 1st of June. It is usually heaviest about May 10th.

    One caveat here. The very best bees I've ever had for building up after a spring split were feral bees based heavily on the old stinging swarming pollen collecting black dutch strain. If you are using Italians no matter what the strain, expect mediocre results. Carniolans are just a bit better but usually hit early spring with too small a cluster to do a topnotch job.

    Fusion

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
    Posts
    1,895

    Post

    Congratulations on the twins.

    On splitting / dividing hives. It is true that (1) strong hive will produce more honey than two weak ones of the same combined strength, but hopefully that is not what you’ll have. You said that you were taking frames from strong hives. A good strong hive is about 2 deep boxes or so worth of bees and brood in it.

    The one hive has only older adult bees / foragers, and sealed brood. There is only a frames worth of brood / eggs. There is a break in the brood cycle while they raise the new queen. Hence they concentrate on putting up the crop.

    The other hive, has the younger bees / open brood and the queen. This hive will also put a crop as it will be strong in short order.

    I have does this for years and get very nice crops and (2) strong colonies. I start my stimulitive feeding in mid to late February and do my divides in mid to late April.
    .
    The time table in NC may allow for the 2 months it will take to make up the last of the new hives, but if I tried that here, they wouldn’t have the time to put stores up for winter. Our season is about 4 - 5 months give or take based on fall frosts and spring snows.

    If you are only culling a frame from your over strong wintered hives, you may find them in a tree, and your crop gone as they have put significant energy into the swarming process.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,398

    Post

    I am moving my one colony of bees to Eugene and while in the move, I will be buying another fully established colony from an old beekeeper and maybe I will buy a nuc this year.

    I will also have the opprotunity to "babysit" another hive for a friend who doesnt have time to do beekeeping.

    Good luck to all of you and hopefully everyone reaches their goals however big or small they might be.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,398

    Post

    Oh... almost forgot... I hope to harvest my first honey "crop" this year! Dont care how much.... even a tiny bit would be wonderful!
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    770

    Post

    Fusion & Mountaincamp: Thanks for your advice. This increase "method" isn't a new idea. I can't find the original reference material but it is mentioned at

    http://www.gobeekeeping.com/LL%20lesson_nine.htm

    under swarming - what to do - item #4 near the bottom of the page. This method has several advantages:
    1) Little impact on production hives. A strong hive can easily draw out and lay up a single frame per week. The nurse bees and open brood that I take won't be missed.
    2) The resulting split starts out with 8 frames of brood covered with bees and should be very strong by the fall flow.
    3) Replacing the removed frames with foundation cycles out the old foundation. I plan to try some 4.9 mm to begin regression to SC.
    4) Relieves crowding and reduces the likelyhood of swarming.
    The disadvantages are the work and going into the main hives every week. Most likely I won't use smoke so as to minimize disruption. I'll start this process as early as I can (target mid March)and continue it through the main honey flow and swarming season (about end-of-May/mid-June). The new hives will get fresh NWC or feral queens and I'll feed as needed.

    I'll let you know how it works out - good or bad.

    Triangle Bees

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Kennebunk, Maine
    Posts
    203

    Post

    I am going to move the hive I have on a farm, that has not produced in the two years it was there, to my plumbers yard. He is thinking of getting into bees too.
    I am also going to try converting to 4.9mm foundation in both of my hives.
    I sold some honey to my local library for them to sell. The woman that handles the honey also wants me to put a hive in her yard. I am still trying to decide which type of hive to use, DE or Langstroth. Right now I have one of each and am still weighing the advantages/disadvantages of both.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Bismarck, ND USA
    Posts
    512

    Post

    Hopefully will have around 350 good hives come back from CA in May. Going to make enough splits to fill all the equipment I have, about 425 hives or so. No other major plans, just hoping we get some moisture this Spring & Summer for a good honey crop.
    Gregg Stewart

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
    Posts
    1,895

    Post

    I will be making a number of increases and trying a few new things. In one yard the (5) hives will be divided into (2) colonies and a nuc each. The hives will be divided as follows:
    (1) hive with all of the capped brood, a frame of eggs and all of the field bees. This hive will raise it's own queen.
    (1) hive will get the young brood and bees, a frame with eggs. This hive will raise it's own queen.
    The nuc will get the queen a few frames with young bees covering.

    The hope here is that the (1) hive will produce a good early honey crop, as well as some fall, the other will produce a summer / fall crop, and the nuc will be strong enough by fall to over winter.

    In my other yard at home I will be making up 10 splits from the overwintered hives in April. All splits will raise their own queens.

    So with the splits/divides, some colony removals, and swarm captures, I should have about 50 hives by the fall to over winter.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,553

    Post

    >I am still trying to decide which type of hive to use, DE or Langstroth. Right now I have one of each and am still weighing the advantages/disadvantages of both.

    Cheap and standard is hard to beat, but I have had good luck in the DE hives. The bees do well in them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Louisa VA, USA
    Posts
    28

    Post

    I would go with the standard Langstroth hives, and the DE mod kit. You get the best of both worlds.

    Chris

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    mountain home, ar, usa
    Posts
    378

    Post

    I may try my hand at selling package bees locally. 3 pounds are going for $60, so it's tempting to sell maybe 50, and then try to increase my own colonies by capturing swarms and making late (July) splits and feeding.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Leonardtown, Md, USA
    Posts
    235

    Post

    Hi All,

    I plan on moving my two hives in my yard to my other two hives on the base where I work. I am getting pool this year and don't feel like sharing it with them all!!

    I also have woodenware for two more hives which I will add to my existing four. I will purchase 2 nucs for those. My friend and I will also build a top bar hive with a plexiglass window. I will buy some packaged bees for that one.

    I will try following the steps written below. Bob Cory, who wrote it, is great guy and is teaching me alot about bees. I am looking forward to trying this technique. Just have to pick a mite treatment other than apistan..etc.

    FYI. Here is the checklist for Southern Maryland.

    The Calendar
    July 15
    All honey supers removed by now and any subsequent honey be left for overwintering.

    August 1
    Check all colonies for presence of Varroa mites using the ether roll or drone spearing method.Treat if mites are abundant. Requeen as needed
    Sept 1
    Entrance reducers on all colonies. They discourage robbing and exclude mice.Check for Varroa if not treated.

    Sept 15
    Treat all colonies for Trachael mites. I use a 3"X5" piece of corrugated cardboard coated with 1/4" thick vege-table grease imbedded with two TBS. of menthol crystals. Check for Varroa and treat if needed.

    Sept 25
    Move cardboard/menthol strips from one corner of top bars to another, scrape propolis and repeat at 7 to 10 days.

    November
    Remove Apistan strips after 45 to 55 days

    January
    When temperatures exceeds 50°F check colonies for brood and/or presence of queen.Colonies will benefit if fed a pollen substitute at this time.

    Mid-Feb to end of April
    A critical time depending on weather. Hives should be boiling over with bees and close attention should be paid to adequate stores. If starvation is imminent I feed 5 lb. of dry sugar by pouring down the sides and back of the top brood box. This works better than on top of the inner cover.IMPORTANT during this time I clean and transfer all my brood frames into clean hive bodies. Check for Varroa and treat with Apistan if needed.

    Mar 15
    HONEY PRODUCTION AND SWARM CONTROL - Starting with your top brood box, remove the frames and stand on end stacked against the bottom box. Make two stacks one with brood and remainder of frames in the other. If you find the queen set her frame apart from the others. Remove the top box and repeat procedure with frames in bottom box. Assuming you found the queen place her and frame in the now empty bottom box filling the rest of the space with broodless frames. Make sure enough honey goes into the top brood box as most of the field bees will end up in the bottom. Place a queen excluder on top of the bottom brood box; a honey super on top of that, followed by a double screen divider board. The divider board should have the small entrance hole to the rear if they are to requeen themselves or to the front if a new queen is to be introduced. Run as a two queen colony for about 3 weeks until at least one frame of capped worker cells is present in the top box.

    May 7
    About the 7th. of May, when the primary nectar flow begins, recombine the two colonies by moving the excluder and honey super above the two brood boxes. Add at least 5 more shallow supers at this time. You can let the two queens fight it out or find and kill the older queen in the bottom box. If you plan to purchase queens follow the same procedure as above but start about 3 weeks later.

    "My plan for the future is to use new queens for my weaker colonies and make the early splits on the strong colonies. The last two years I have had colonies in a swarming mode as early as mid March. The spring of 1999, 14 of 19 colonies were split and slightly over 2,000 pounds of honey was harvested!"

    About the Author: Bob Cory is a retired marine biologist who spent a lifetime studying mollusks in the Chesapeake Bay. As a retired biologist and scientist, he has applied his curiosity and skills of observation to his hobby of beekeeping, as you can tell from his notes above. He has been an active and valued member of the Bowie-Upper Marlboro Beekeepers Assoc. nearly since its founding in 1980. He also is President of the Association of Southern Maryland Beekeepers, and a Christmas tree farmer. (ed.: This page is a keeper! Post it in your honey house and make more honey!)

    What do you think?

    Mike

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    770

    Post

    Sounds to me like a great mentor. Only a couple of things I would do differently:
    1) Get bees that are trachael mite resistent. Then you don't need to worry about treating with mental and/or grease.
    2) I wouldn't put frames on the ground. I lost two queens doing that - 1 just disappeared (I never found her); the other I damaged as I was picking her up to put back into the hive. Use an empty hive body instead for holding the removed frames.
    3) Like you I would avoid Apistan.
    Triangle Bees

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