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  1. #1
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    May 2011
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    Default What's the best way to do spring splits?

    First Question: I've only done one type of split, (still new here) buy creating a nuc from a strong hive and introducing a bought queen. What's the least expensive and most efficient way to do splits without buying queens so both half's will build fast? Do you wait for swarm cells then split or do you just split anyway leaving one half queenless to build emergency cells?

    Second Question: I would like to try queen celling into nucs as well but how do you know when in her development stage to cut her out and cell into a fresh nuc?
    Last edited by Charlie B; 12-01-2011 at 07:39 PM.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    Came across a good presentation on Slits and NUCs bt a Pat & Jim Haskells at https//.vimeo.com. Two parts

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Louisville Kentucky USA
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    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    The best way I have found is the way Mel Disselkoen lays it out.About the time that your spring flow starts take the queen and three frames of closed brood and a frame of honey and pollen to round out a 5 frame nuc and start feeding them. Leave the open larvae,brood and the rest of the bees in the original box and add foundation back in and let them make a new queen.What will happen is the original queen in the nuc will start building up rapidly and the new box with no queen or brood to tend to will pack in the nectar and build out all of the comb while the new queen is developed. All of this is on his websight free for the taking at http://www.mdasplitter.com/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Anderson, Indiana, USA
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    78

    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    I will first locate the queen to determine which brood box she is in first. I then take the other box and place it on a bottom board with a inner and out cover. I then find a frame with 1 day old eggs in the box thequeen is in and place it in the queenless hive in the center of the rest of the frames. Walk away and wait about 7-10 days or so and check back to see if they have built emergency queen cells and are capped. wait another 2 weeks and you should have a new queen right hive. It may take her another couple of weeks to mate and begin laying. The drawback to this method is about 45 lapse until you have a laying queen.

    A better way is to do the above but have a new queen ready, do your split, wait 2-3 days and then introduce your new caged queen just like you would with a new package bees..

    Hope I didnt confuse and good luck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Anderson, Indiana, USA
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    78

    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    another way some do is to place a queen excluder between the two brood boxes and wait a week. Check back and look for 1 day old eggs and that will tell you which box the queen is in. Split your hive giving each box and bottom board etc and introduce a new queen in the one without the newly laid eggs.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Martin, Tn
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    75

    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    1. Michael Bush has lots of good information about increase on his site. http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm. I tried a walk away split for the first time last year and it worked pretty good. Got the colony to completly fill out a deep before winter. Probably could have even filled a deep and medium if i had dont it earlier (i was late june i think)

    2. When the queen cell is capped is a good time to move it to a nuc so you dont interrupt her feedings. Be sure to do it as soon as you notice the capped cell so she doesnt hatch and kill the rest of your cells.
    Jason Young

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    hemichuck,
    1. need an empty drawn frame for queen to lay in.

    2. Number of nurse moved may be questionable to sustain brood.

    Just listened to "Pat & Jim Haskell Splits and NUCs Basics> and it is excellent for new bee keeperes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,925

    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    If you don't want to buy queens and you want the fastest buildup, then raise your own queens, and put the cells in the nucs.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesafewgoodqueens.htm
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearing.htm
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
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    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    I've read more than once that the best queens come from swarm cells as the bees are clearly strong and there's a good nectar flow going or they wouldn't be building them. J. A. Hogg has a method where you purposely avoid putting supers on a hive in order to get them to build swarm cells, and then split the hive. I believe this would make for good, well fed queens as the bees are doing it on their time when the flow is good. Mr. Hogg has many other steps in his method since he's trying to split the hive in a way that allows the most comb honey production. If I try this I'll just ignore these steps. Often times splits are done in response to unintended swarm cells, but this is purposely trying to get swarm cells in order to make the split. Using the swarm instinct as a way to get the bees to raise big fat queens I think is worth a try.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
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    1,858

    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    I don't like buying queens in the mail for many reasons. However, I will still buy a couple for kicks. When I split my hives, I keep the old queen with all the open brood and bees, then put the new queen (in her queen cage) with the sealed brood and bees. Works very, very well.

    However, if you read Mel's discription in mdasplitter.com, he strongly suggests removing the old queen with a couple frames of brood to a nuc, then let the strong, unsplit hive make queen cells. Once the queen cells are made, then split. The undivided hive is much stronger and will build better queen cells than the split.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  11. #11
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    Jun 2010
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    Calvert, Md,USA
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    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    I made a nuc from a friend of mines hives. Lot s of bees, capped brood, pollen and frame of honey. Made sure there were eggs. Raised 5 cells, then they promptly superceded the new queen. Just my experience. They did o.k. but

  12. #12
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    Nov 2009
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    Jacksonville, Florida
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    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    I have had very good luck with moving the old queen with a coupld frames into a nuc just as the main flow is starting. This will normally keep the donor hive from swarming, the nuc will build up very fast, the donor hive has plenty of bees and resourses to make a good queen.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Louisville Kentucky USA
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    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    I was at a meeting with Mel Disselkoen last month and we asked a lot of questions about his methods there.He said that if you split of the queen and 2 or 3 frames of capped brood that you don't need as many nurse bees as you would think.He said the nurse bees can usually cover up to 3 times the amount of brood that they normally care for.The bees that are left in the queenless hive are more than capable of raising a new queen,in fact mel will tell you to go back in and knock down all but 2 or 3 queen cells and I have had as many as 10 lots of times. I usually take them out and use them to split other hives. I have seen Mel speak and had a chance to sit and talk with him several times and I have tried his methods over the last couple of years and they work remarkably well.Mel is primarily in the business of selling nucs but he will also explain ways to maximize honey production while splitting your hives.The big plus with his method is it breaks the mite cycle in the hives and keeps mites at a manageable level. Not saying its the only way or even the best way but it works good for me. So good in fact that I ran out of equipment trying to keep up with the bees(and I have quite a bit of equipment).

  14. #14
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    Oct 2011
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    Insightful! Moving one frame of drawn comb(mostly empty cells) along with two broods, one honey and one pollen seems logical to me, as may as well keep the queen working and building up population.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    I have got a theory ...

    What if you let the hive swarm and then catch the swarm? Sure there is a risk that you won't get the swarm but isn't there a risk when you split a hive? Is every split guaranteed to work?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  16. #16
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    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    I have got a theory ...

    What if you let the hive swarm and then catch the swarm? Sure there is a risk that you won't get the swarm but isn't there a risk when you split a hive? Is every split guaranteed to work?
    I think your theory warrants a thread of its own...
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  17. #17
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    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    If you don't want to buy queens and you want the fastest buildup, then raise your own queens, and put the cells in the nucs.
    How do you cut queen cells from plastic foundation without damaging them.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  18. #18
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    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    If you have some drawn comb its fine but there is usually a little space around the edges of brood comb where she can still lay eggs if you dont have any drawn comb. As far as waiting for them to swarm and catching your own...well that might work if you have a couple of hives and you are unemployed and actually have time to sit and watch them all day every day in anticipation of a swarm happening.I have around 30 spread out over 20 miles. It seems they like to swarm from around 10.am to 2.pm and no matter how many notices I leave in my yard the bees always seem to swarm when I'm not available. Usually they like to go up high in 1 of the thousands of 80 ft tall trees in my back yard so that I cant reach them very easy. I like retrieving swarms...but I like getting them from other peoples hives. Nothing personal but I prefer the much better odds I get with a split on my own terms and if the bees dont agree then I just combine them back together.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeCurious View Post
    I think your theory warrants a thread of its own...
    Your right. should be another thread.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  20. #20
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    Jun 2010
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    Default Re: What's the best way to do spring splits?

    Johng,
    In my experience, yes, if you take enough bees to with the mother queen. I did what you stated but not enough bees. They made a new queen, swarm cells, and they swarmed twice. Lesson learned. Did catch two little split swarms with good queens and they are doing well. All was not lost. The parent hive is still one of my best. The mother queen, second season, is overwintering as we speak.

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