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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Texarkana, Arkansas
    Posts
    76

    Default new package or no?

    I lurk here often and love to read other's questions and the answers/solutions given and shared. Today I have a question for a change!
    This was my first year of beekeeping, I started out with 2 hives and 2 packages of bees. One did not survive (it was weak from the get-go) but the other hive did very well, remained strong, and had plenty of honey stores for the winter. This Spring i know I will have to do a split for the first time. I am nervous. I worry that one "side" of the split won't make it, that I will do something wrong, or a queen won't get made in the queenless side, etc. etc. Should I just go on an buy a package of bees in case I screw something up? I really really want to get back to having two hives (and then more!). Or should I not worry about it and have faith that I will do things correctly, thereby having 2 hives of my "own"?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Munfordville, Ky. U.S.A.
    Posts
    1,246

    Default Re: new package or no?

    I would suggest that you do a search of making a split. There are many ways of doing it and you will find a lot of ideas from your search. If you need more info then ask the question. The only thing that I will suggest right now is at least purchase 1 queen for the queenless side.
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,869

    Default Re: new package or no?

    Making splits is not that traumatic. If you are running double brood supers put the one with the old queen on a new bottomboard and give them a new cover. If you have less than two supers of brood, divide what you have into two hives as equally as possible. Making queens naturally is exciting, but just another problem too. It is 4 weeks before the new girl lays eggs and another 3 weeks before those bees emerge and another two before they fly. If you can afford 9 weeks of dwindling go for it! In Tampa, the natural queen would breed with Africanized drones 90 percent of the time. We make about a hundred splits a year. The pictures are at Photo Gallery, second page, Package Bees and Splits. There are a couple package bees just to show how it is done. Most are three frames of brood and a caged queen. Three days to release her is better than 4 weeks.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Fairfield, Virginia
    Posts
    1,002

    Default Re: new package or no?

    The answer would depend on finances, if you have the money and would like 3 or more hives then order a package and do a split. You might end up with 3 hives, if the split goes bad you still have a hive and look for swarms.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,939

    Default Re: new package or no?

    A safer option might be to make a nuc from your hive. That is what I normally do to keep a strong hive from swarming. Take 3-4 frames of bees and brood, depending on how strong your hive is, and add a new queen to the nuc leaving the older queen with her hive.

    Nucs are much easier to accept a new queen. Your other hive is still strong and should be able to give you a honey crop. Your nuc should grow into a full size hive easily.

    If the nuc fails, you only have a few frames of bees at risk and you can add another queen and more bees if you want.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Manhattan,Montana,USA
    Posts
    358

    Default Re: new package or no?

    i would go ahead and buy another package of bees. then once your strong hive is busting at the seams split it. if you dont have a really strong hive and if you dont have a bunch of drawn comb it really takes alot for the small split to build up. i wish that when i started i would have started with more than two hives. i just think it is easier having more hives which give you more options when you have problems.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Texarkana, Arkansas
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: new package or no?

    thanks so much for all the input! I really appreciate it!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: new package or no?

    You should order one package anyway, in case your one hive dies during this winter.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Salisbury, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: new package or no?

    I personally would Buy a mated queen $20-25 and make a Nuc from your strong hive.
    especially if you know for sure your gonna be spliting your hive this spring i would just buy a mated queen...

    Also look into setting up some swarm traps..
    You cant beat FREE Bees... and feral bees are usually stronger and adapted to living in your area.

    Im starting 2 hives this spring & setting up 5-10 swarm traps...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Texarkana, Arkansas
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: new package or no?

    Only prob with feral bees here is they can have Africanized genes. I guess that is the growing trend ......I have thought of it though.....

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Texarkana, Arkansas
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: new package or no?

    If I wanted to trap some swarms, and used a hive body, should it have frames in it? i know that's probably a dumb question.....

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,869

    Default Re: new package or no?

    Success wil increase with frames, even more with foundation, best with drawn comb but wax moth and small hive beetles are drawn to comb too. Pheremone capsule or squished queens will draw bees from miles around.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: new package or no?

    From the way you phrased your statement and question, it appears you now have one hive. My suggestion is to order a package or two now, so that you know you're going to have bees in the spring, just in case something happens to your one hive over winter. Then why not do a "walk-away split?" Assuming your colony makes it thru the winter, in the spring time before swarming season, take 2-3 frames of brood and bees and honey/pollen, and the balance of comb with honey and pollen to make up a five frame nuc. At least one of those frames should be new eggs. Leave the rest including the queen in the original hive. Set this five frame nuc up as a colony, they'll raise a queen and be up and running... You might not get a surplus crop from the split this year, but it's a cheap way to increase your colony count. And prepare for the next year.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Salisbury, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: new package or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by catdance62 View Post
    If I wanted to trap some swarms, and used a hive body, should it have frames in it? i know that's probably a dumb question.....
    Im setting up 5 Frame Nucs for swarm traps w/ foundation & using the pheremone Lure.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Texarkana, Arkansas
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: new package or no?

    thanks for the replies. I think I will order a package AND do a split. I might experiment with trying to catch swarms.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Lewistown,Pa,USA
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: new package or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by AmericasBeekeeper View Post
    Making splits is not that traumatic. If you are running double brood supers put the one with the old queen on a new bottomboard and give them a new cover. If you have less than two supers of brood, divide what you have into two hives as equally as possible. Making queens naturally is exciting, but just another problem too. It is 4 weeks before the new girl lays eggs and another 3 weeks before those bees emerge and another two before they fly. If you can afford 9 weeks of dwindling go for it! In Tampa, the natural queen would breed with Africanized drones 90 percent of the time. We make about a hundred splits a year. The pictures are at Photo Gallery, second page, Package Bees and Splits. There are a couple package bees just to show how it is done. Most are three frames of brood and a caged queen. Three days to release her is better than 4 weeks.
    You are right on all but the africanized part. I know several commercial guys who make most of their nucs (3000 or more we tried to make 100 to 200 or so a day depending on how well the grafts take, more cells more nucs) in that area not many africanized nucs happen. My family has bin wintering bees in florida ( dade city down to the keys )for 65 years. You will come across some mean bees some times but i have only found africanized bees one time in my 15 years working with bees. When you do you will know what they are. Easy fix kill the queen give them a new one 3 or 4 day later.

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