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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
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    Default Banking queens for idiots

    OK, so I'm considering an expansion in the spring. A buddy wants to get into beekeeping and I promised him a split. But my colonies are currently in one whacking big three-deep combine for winter (so one queen). I'm hoping to get a lot of swarm calls come spring. If I order say four queens, but can only split into a couple at first, can I bank more than one queen by adding new housebees to a nuc (or deep) to feed them until I have enough bees to give them their own colonies? I guess I'm worrying if my bees don't overwinter well and swarm season is late, but I ordered a few queens for April 1, what can I do with them in the meantime?
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Lees Summit, MO
    Posts
    56

    Default

    Order and build equipment for your increases. Feed and add pollen patties in Feb/March. Make five splits from your 3 existing boxes of drawn comb, equalize stores, pollen, brood and bees the day your new queens arrive. Add new queens 12-24 hrs later. Add additional feed and pollen if not naturally occuring. Be ready to add 2nd deep in 2-4 weeks and honey supers in May. Make lots of honey. Scramble when you have more swarm calls than you have equipment. Have fun!
    Ric

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
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    3,033

    Default

    I'm for sure planning on feeding pollen and stimulating brood rearing early, and I'll have a whole stack of mediums ready to go. I suppose if I get them going early enough and baby them through I could make almost as small a split as I wanted; they'll just take time to grow.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Boone County, West Virginia, USA
    Posts
    908

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Brewcat View Post
    OK, so I'm considering an expansion in the spring. A buddy wants to get into beekeeping and I promised him a split. But my colonies are currently in one whacking big three-deep combine for winter (so one queen).
    One queen means one colony come spring. The population will equalize to that of a healthy colony that was not combined. A single queen can only lay so many eggs. If the bees in the colony now survive long enough for when the single queen starts back up, it may give the colony an edge on brood production provided there are enough bees to regulate the temperature of the brood should there be a cold snap.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Brewcat View Post
    I'm hoping to get a lot of swarm calls come spring.
    Isolate the queen in one of the hive bodies with an excluder above and below and close off any top entrance. I'm sure you'll have plenty of swarm cells if you do this (overcrowding and congestion problems.) You will have to do something after awhile, like make a nuc with the old queen to trick the bees into thinking they swarmed or split the colony into three or four nucs at once while giving each a queen cell that does not contain the mother queen. [/QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Brewcat View Post
    If I order say four queens, but can only split into a couple at first, can I bank more than one queen by adding new housebees to a nuc (or deep) to feed them until I have enough bees to give them their own colonies?
    Buy some packaged bees and ditch the queens they come with or find a local beek to get a few frames of brood from to start some nucs. If you make your bees make swarm cells you'll not need the queens you ordered. I'm not sure but I believe I've read that queens which are banked for extended periods of time are quikly superseded. ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Brewcat View Post
    I guess I'm worrying if my bees don't overwinter well and swarm season is late, but I ordered a few queens for April 1, what can I do with them in the meantime?
    Mail them to me. I'm sure I can find something to do with them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,142

    Default

    Set up a little queenless nuc and put the cages in there. Either make a frame to put them in or make a shim for the top and put them on top with the screen down.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
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    Default

    Thanks all. WV, that was "lots of swarm CALLS in spring" though I'd like to try using some swarm cells too for fun.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Enfield,Ct.
    Posts
    470

    Default

    The 1st thing I would do is call your supplier and postpone delivery until May.April Fools Day is cold in my area(CT) and I suspect not any warmer in CO.
    Work with your bees.
    The easiest splits are made during the natural swarm season.
    A good nectar flow,a strong queen and warm temps.
    Stimulative feeding can produce more bees in an established hive but nucs need plenty of bees to keep brood warm in cooler temps.
    Many times an early split will struggle,where a later split will take off.The end result may be the same,but one will be a lot more work.

    Jack

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee,USA
    Posts
    207

    Default

    I like making 3 framer splits in the beginning of March.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, Colorado
    Posts
    544

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    I'm with Jack on this. Cancel the order until the end of April. I'm looking at my calender from last year. The first fruit is just starting to bloom. 28 degrees and snow for 3 day's, then 1 day in the 60's, followed by more cold and wind at 28 degree's. I didn't split until the end of April and they all had success raising new queens. Instead of waiting the extra 30 day's I'll order queens this year but not until end of April, first of May.
    The first round of queen cell's I grafted did not do well. Was too early and mating weather was still cold. 2nd round, first week in May all did well.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Posts
    6,574

    Default

    Ben, this thread isn't as advertised in the title. I thought you were offering to keep some queens for guys like me.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
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    Default

    Hmmm..... that makes sense. I had looked at my calendar (or, er, "my records and notes") too, but didn't really think about having built a number of bees but more to get each queen started early. Wherebouts you at Brandy?

    Oh and Barry, that IS actually what I meant. Send 'em along, I'll tell you how they do .
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, Colorado
    Posts
    544

    Default

    I'm in the somewhat temperate, moderate, extreme, artic, desert, windy, calm, beautiful, nasty, productive Ft. Collins! And that was just yesterday!

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