Last edited by Barry; 04-05-2017 at 08:43 AM.
<Don't "split" your strong colonies in the spring, but instead, split up your non-productive colonies in mid-summer, and winter your nucs.>
Management is effected a lot by location. In my area it is really difficult to get a split made after the middle of June up to strength for winter. I don't start anything past the first of June anymore unless I can end up with ten frames of bees and 8 frames of brood in each split, because I will just end up having to combine it in Sept or I'll spend more time and money feeding than the colony will be worth. I could take them to one of my locations in valley but then they would be surrounded by large opperations with hundreds of hives close by and I would end up with a different set of problems and a bigger fuel bill to work them. With todays prices, can cost me more to fill the gas tank than a nuc of bees is worth.
Last edited by beemandan; 11-12-2008 at 09:16 AM.
Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson
Maybe I shouldn't say "mid-summer", and I should say mid-mainflow.
It's just that if I split my good colonies in the spring, at say Dandelion, I never will see...in my short season...those split colonies reach their potential. I know that the book says a colony will rebuild to full strength in 4 weeks. Well, I think that's a myth...especially in the north.
So, what if you made nucs on the main flow, from colonies that weren't producing a crop. Use the bees and brood from them to make nucs. I can keep mine in 4 frame units, but maybe that's not possible in the south. Couldn't they be expanded into singles, and wintered as singles?
Southern beekeeping is foreign to me. You have such a mild winter, and such a long buildup time. Is there a way to take advantage of the bees and brood in non-productive colonies? Yes, you can requeen those non-producers, for next year, but that doesn't guarantee success with that colony. Up here, it makes more sense to make nucs and winter them.
A search of this topic, somewhat surprisingly, yielded no results here. The brood nest is the "heart" of every hive, no matter how large or small. It appears most problems with a new hive ( or old) naturally have to do with disruptions within the brood nest. Understanding, and then treating, healing and/or promoting the health of the "heart" of every hive - the brood nest - is most often, if not always, the solution.
It is my belief that every new beekeeper would do well to read and consider the following words of advice from Dr Richard Taylor. There is wisdom buried within the wisdom.
from "The How-To-Do-It book of Beekeeping" by Richard Taylor:
" 25. The brood nest of a normal beehive has a definite and uniform pattern. The queen begins her egg laying more or less at the center of a comb, more or less at the center of the hive, and works out from there.Thus (as it progresses) one finds a pattern of sealed brood, surrounded by larvae, surrounded by smaller larvae and eggs. Eventually, as the larvae develop, the entire comb, or most of it, comes to consist of sealed brood.Then as brood at the center emerges, the queen again deposits the eggs there. Above and around this brood nest, one finds, first, pollen, then honey. The outermost combs in a hive contain only honey, sometimes pollen and rarely brood. The pollen is what is needed first, to feed the larvae, and then as winter approaches and brood rearing ceases (declines), the honey will be used; so both are appropriately placed."
If you want to inspect and assess any colony, that is what you should see. If you don't see that, you need to direct your efforts to providing the necessary queen, or eggs, brood and stores of pollen and honey, in whatever combination best treats the ailment/condition
"This general pattern should be preserved, unless there is good reason for doing otherwise. Thus you should never spread brood out, alternating combs or empty combs (frames) of foundation, thinking that this will cause the bees and queen to redouble their efforts to fill the empty combs. It only demoralizes them, and puts them behind."
With new packages, swarms or weak colonies, focus your efforts on feeding the edges of the heart, not cutting it in half. The brood nest must also retain a certain level of warmth (inferred from elsewhere in the book), and dividing it most often results in a setback in early brood rearing cycles.
"Similarly, the common practice of reversing hive bodies in the spring ...has little justification. It is likely to result in breaking the brood nest in two right across the middle. When a bee hive is inspected or combs removed for any reason they should be replaced in the order in which they were removed. About the only times the brood nest should be disrupted are when one is making increase by dividing the colony (21),(57), or making up nucs (19). "
There are exceptions which may benefit an advanced beekeeper.
Almost every problem that a new beekeeper experiences with any colony is addressed, either directly or indirectly, by conditions affecting the brood nest and it's cycle. Almost every solution can be had by taking it into consideration.
With greatest respect to Dr. Richard Taylor.
Last edited by Barry; 06-09-2014 at 11:27 AM.