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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Delaware County, New York, USA
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    178

    Question Best time for Splitting

    I'd very much like to know what requirements a colony must have in order to split it? What must it have at a minimum and what conditions are the most ideal?

    Also, is there a time during the season when it is just too late to make a split?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Sauk, WI, USA
    Posts
    144

    Default Re: Best time for Splitting

    Please first understand that I've only had bees almost 3 months. But this is the advice I was given by an experienced beek:

    Take 3 frames of brood at different stages, including eggs. Place them in the center of a nuc box with 1 frame of honey on each side.

    Having topbars, I modified it. I took 3 brood bars from each of 2 hives, including queen cells. In the center, I had an empty bar, 3 bars of brood on each side of that, another empty bar on the outside of each brood area, then 1 bar of honey on each end. Then, I put in a follower board to make their space smaller, fed them with a boardman through the follower board (inside the hive) and reduced down the entrance to about 1".

    Three weeks later, they are booming. They have a queen, built out one of the empty bars with wax and are doing well. Mine happened early July.

    I cannot comment on when is a good time, but I keep reading that a weekly introduction of a frame of brood with eggs will continually give them the chance to raise up a queen.

    I also just added 2 more bars of brood to help my split build up before winter. But, I'm lucky enough to have 2 other hives that are growing quite rapidly and can afford (I hope!) to lose a bar of brood.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dorothy, New Jersey USA
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Best time for Splitting

    I use Langstroth type hives, and prefer to use two frames of brood and either a ripe queen cell or a laying queen in a cage.

    If using a queen cell it ought to run 75 degrees Fahrenheit or higher every day in order for the queen to mate properly.

    The split should be moved 2 miles away to keep it's field force or have two more frames of bees shaken in.

    I make two frame splits with laying queens in mid July and feed them 15 gallons of corn syrup to build them up to double deeps for winter, weighing in at 65lbs wax, bees, and stores.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Delaware County, New York, USA
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    178

    Default Re: Best time for Splitting

    Thank you for your replies. I am somewhat acquainted with the procedure but I'm most interested in finding out the answers to my original questions. If you should hear, please send them my way.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Sauk, WI, USA
    Posts
    144

    Default Re: Best time for Splitting

    Do you mean conditions besides enough brood, eggs, honey stores and food sources? Besides temps 75 or above, etc? Maybe you can be more specific in exactly what you are looking for besides the cut-off date.

    Again, I have little experience, but it seems the date would be related to what your weather is like, how long your flows are, how much pollen they have access to, when your winter arrives...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
    Posts
    228

    Default Re: Best time for Splitting

    There is, unfortunately, no one way to make the nucs. It can be quite variable and it seems to depend on what your goals are for your bees.

    Take into consideration what you want to get out of your hives. If you want to make sure you will get some honey, you will probably not want to break down the “mother hive” too much. Take only what you need to make the nuc so the main hive will stay strong enough and recover fast enough to produce honey. You could also take a little bit out of several hives to form the nuc—breaking down the mother hives even less. But then if you are mainly interested in increasing the number of hives and not in getting a honey crop, you could break down the hive into as many small nucs as it will give you with the brood that it has—five or six maybe if there is that much brood and bees.

    You could probably make the nuc smaller if you are going to give it a queen cell that is ready to hatch or a mated queen bought from a queen raiser. Consider that queen raisers use a small mating nuc that has the equivalent of a cup full of bees—but they give them a queen cell that was made by another hive and that new queen is ready to emerge (but also consider that a nuc this size will require more time to buildup and grow in order to be ready for over wintering). If you are going to let the bees raise their own queen, ideally you will want more bees than that, considering that this new queen won’t be ready to start laying for several more weeks. In this case you might want to use as many as four or five frames with a good amount of brood and bees. They will get off to a lot faster start and grow more rapidly.

    Usually nucs are made in the spring so they will have more of the flowering season to grow and possibly give the beekeeper some honey. If you buy mated queens for the nucs, they can be made quite early—maybe mid/late April or early May in the north. If you are going to let the nuc raise their own queen, you want to make sure the weather will be nice enough when that virgin queen needs to make her mating flight—maybe later in May or when it has started to warm up nice.

    However, there are those northern beekeepers that make nucs later in the season with the idea of over wintering them as nucs and having them ready to start building up as soon as the weather begins warming and the flowers begin blooming the following spring. I’m not real sure of the specifics on doing this, such as when they actually make them and how big they want them to be before the cold weather starts. I believe, however, that it may be done in the summer months (July or August maybe?????). I would do a search on posts about “over wintering nucs” to get more information about this.

    ----------
    Tom

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dorothy, New Jersey USA
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Best time for Splitting

    For splitting a hive without wanting a honey crop, I tend to want a hive to have a ten frame broodnest, split the hive into boxes with screened entrances, and then move them in the evening. Having marked queens in the original hives speeds up the process to the point where I can make 20 splits an hour. Usually the hive need not have many stores, but the bees should not be starved. The nucs out to be fed until they fill two deep hive bodies and have drown out every frame. the second-fourth weeks foundations should be put in the broodnest if the weather is warm to encourage an expanding broodnest. Usually the new hive should be fed for two and a half months, ending before any significant frosts of 25 Fahrenheit or lower.

    Hope this helps

    Tim Stewart

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Delaware County, New York, USA
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: Best time for Splitting

    Thanks, Tim. But this is new to me. This is my first season and I have two top bar hives only - no experience with Langstroths and very little experience in general - and cannot equate what you have written to me as a consequence.

    I've got time.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sebastopol, Ca.
    Posts
    307

    Default Re: Best time for Splitting

    Stone, sounds like Tim's advice may be applied to TBH as well, no? I am new to this as well, but the general advice he gives may be a way to go for all. Seems reasonable.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: Best time for Splitting

    and cannot equate what you have written to me as a consequence
    Perhaps a local beekeeper will chime in and provide some sound advise.
    Seeing that this is your 1st year in keeping bees, I would suggest keeping a focus on getting them through their 1st winter and divide next spring.
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dorothy, New Jersey USA
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Best time for Splitting

    well, i must say that Ernie is correct. The first year the goal should be to make it through winter, not to have a large increase, but if you would still like to increase, the same concepts apply to the TBH. Langstroth was a man of knowledge and made many innovations to the hive, improving the existing hive, which only used a top bar. The idea of TBH is to have a natural cell size, and this can be done by not placing foundation in the frames. However, I believe permadent foundation to be drawn perfectly and quickly, while reinforcing the comb. To me the TBH seems to be traveling backwards, but may be ideal for the small hobbiest.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Sauk, WI, USA
    Posts
    144

    Default Re: Best time for Splitting

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Stewart View Post
    To me the TBH seems to be traveling backwards, but may be ideal for the small hobbiest.
    May I ask in what ways you think topbar hives are "traveling backwards?"

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dorothy, New Jersey USA
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Best time for Splitting

    TBH is lacking in ability to extract honey, require cutting comb, frames aren't durable, and are not easy to super for honey, and sometimes the combs go in the wrong direction. When manipulating the hive, you soon become a sticky mess.

    Rev. Lorrenzo Lorriane Langstroth solved these problems by inventing the all around the frame bee space, making him "The Father of Modern Beekeeping."

    From this I consider TBH to be a thing of the past.

    Tim Stewart

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Minerva, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Best time for Splitting

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Stewart View Post

    From this I consider TBH to be a thing of the past.
    So, why bother posting here? Suggest you look up "Internet Troll" on Wickipedia.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Totnes, Devon, England
    Posts
    1,019

    Default Re: Best time for Splitting

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Stewart View Post
    Langstroth was a man of knowledge and made many innovations to the hive, improving the existing hive, which only used a top bar. The idea of TBH is to have a natural cell size, and this can be done by not placing foundation in the frames. However, I believe permadent foundation to be drawn perfectly and quickly, while reinforcing the comb. To me the TBH seems to be traveling backwards, but may be ideal for the small hobbiest.
    Langstroth actually copied Jan Dzierżon's work and patented it, and his only contribution to beekeeping was to market his own hive design so well that it became a fixture right across the USA and influenced hive design all over the Western world. Foundation was not widely introduced for nearly half a century after that. What LLL did achieve was to make commercial beekeeping a practical possibility, and that, more than anything else, has been the cause of most of the problems that bees have been suffering from for the last 100 years.
    I could go on, but your objections to TBHs are clearly based on ignorance, so it wouldn't be worth the effort.
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dalkeith, Ont, Canada
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: Best time for Splitting

    Quote Originally Posted by buckbee View Post
    Langstroth actually copied Jan Dzierżon's work and patented it, and his only contribution to beekeeping was to market his own hive design so well that it became a fixture right across the USA and influenced hive design all over the Western world. Foundation was not widely introduced for nearly half a century after that. What LLL did achieve was to make commercial beekeeping a practical possibility, and that, more than anything else, has been the cause of most of the problems that bees have been suffering from for the last 100 years.
    I could go on, but your objections to TBHs are clearly based on ignorance, so it wouldn't be worth the effort.

    I had actually suspected that foundation wasn't introduced untill much latter, I saw at least one design for a lang frame that had comb guides on it, plus from what I hear you can extract foundation-less frames just fine, to me the idea that forcing something natural to do something unnatural isn't progress, would be a bit like growing a cow in a glass tube, their are faster ways to get new cows Bees are the way they are for a reason why should that be changed?


    Sam.

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