Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 27

Thread: cut down splits

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,866

    Default cut down splits

    How many have done cut down splits for swarm prevention and increased honey production? How did it work out for you? Are there any slight variations of the cut down split that you do differently? I am thinking of trying it out this season on some of my hives. The weird weather we have been having this spring has got everything blooming much earlier and I think swarming will occur earlier than normal too, and I have already had to manage my hives differently than in years past. I feel that doing cut down splits may enable me to secure a better honey crop as my main flow is early in the season and I want the hives to be able to take advantage of earlier bloom times. John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,576

    Default Re: cut down splits

    i tried one on a pretty strong hive this year. i think my timing was about right. this hive is probably about a week away from having a new queen. so far, i can't see where they have made more honey or drawn out more comb compared to other hives. but there is a lot of nectar backfilled in the one deep and two mediums, and i'm hoping that when they get their new queen, all of this nectar will be moved up and result in a lot of honey.

    the three frame split i made from it three weeks ago has already filled up one deep and got it's first super today.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,866

    Default Re: cut down splits

    I've never done a cut down split, but from everything I have read in order to get more honey stored in the supers of the original hive is to limit the brood area in terms of number of boxes as much as you can, which makes sense. Did you have a deep and two mediums worth of sealed brood that you left with the original hive? That sounds like alot of sealed brood to me. John

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,576

    Default Re: cut down splits

    no, there were about 6 frames of brood in the deep, and 2 or three partial frames of brood in the first medium. the second medium was alternating frames of drawn comb and foundation.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
    Posts
    2,297

    Default Re: cut down splits

    I just make sure to get the old queen and a couple/three frames of capped/emerging brood plus the bees on those frames, into the new box. Give them a frame of honey and a empty frame if you have it or a frame of foundation (five frame nucs for us). There is virtually no decrease in the old queens laying and the nucs build fast, you'll need to put them in a bigger box soon, or start them in a bigger box. As with every other type split the most critical item is to give them plenty of bees so the hive is strong from the gitgo. I refuse to wait on a small split to build up, maybe they will and most likely they won't build fast enough to make a same year honey crop. Weak splits are time and resources wasted!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,576

    Default Re: cut down splits

    fishstix, i was really amazed at how fast the split with the old queen built up. i may get to harvest some honey from them this year. didn't have any honey in the deep frames yet, but gave them a quart of syrup to help get started. we're having an awesome flow here.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,866

    Default Re: cut down splits

    I thought the split gets the old queen and all the open brood, some food, and nurse bees with a cut down split, or is this just how you do it fish_stix? John

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,866

    Default Re: cut down splits

    squarepeg, sounds like you have honey in the deep and mediums, it just needs to be moved up and consolidated in the supers. John

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,576

    Default Re: cut down splits

    jmgi, yep! i'm really hoping the bees will move it up when they get their new queen. i will then know if they produced more honey than other similar hives. at any rate, that hive did not swarm, got a bit of a brood break, and i got another great hive out of the deal.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
    Posts
    2,297

    Default Re: cut down splits

    jmgi; we give the new split very little open brood because we want mostly new, emerging bees quickly to keep the population up. Open brood requires nurse bees to care for it so you have to shake plenty of nurse bees into the split if giving them open brood. Capped/emerging brood gives you almost immediate nurse bees to care for new brood. Unless you make the split and move them to a different location most of the foragers will return to the old hive; you can swap places with the old hive but I don't since all ours are on pallets. We make our splits and leave them in the same yard usually because it's a time saver. No problems with rapid buildup if you give them plenty of capped brood. Remember, all the capped brood will emerge in 9 days or less giving you a wealth of new nurse bees. Since you're giving them a frame of honey for food the loss of foragers is not an issue and the bees you transfer will soon become foragers anyway.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,866

    Default Re: cut down splits

    fish stix, almost all the cutdown splits I have read about don't include capped/emerging brood in the split like you do, probably because the emphasis is on honey production for the original hive, not so much the split, therefore they want all the foragers and soon to be foragers(capped brood) to be in the original hive because they don't have any brood to care for other than the frame of eggs you give them to raise a new queen. I understand what you are doing though, and it does make sense to me now, you want the split to have foragers sooner than later so they stand a chance of producing a crop also. I am debating about how many hives to try this on, it sounds like a good way to get a large crop of honey and at the same time increase your number of hives. Probably will produce more honey this way than if you just did a normal 50/50 split in most areas. Looking forward to trying this out myself. John

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,592

    Default Re: cut down splits

    jmgi,

    Your interpretation of the cut-down split is correct. The objectives of the cut-down are different that a splits focused on increases. In the cut-down split I really don't care how long it takes the split to build up, what I'm more concerned about is the parent colony making the biggest yield possible. I can give the split more resources after the main flow if needed. I give the cut-down minimal resources (2-3 frames of open brood, a 1 frame of pollen and honey mix, 1 foundation, and of course the queen of the parent colony). I do cut-downs pretty much every year just prior to the main flow. The timing of this split is the real issue. Too early and you've decreased your production too late and you may throw a swarm. Keeping annual records of blooming in your area is very helpful. I try to time the split to about no more than 2-weeks prior to my main flow. For me that's right now. Cut-downs work really well in my area since the flow is pretty brief. For areas with a flow that is longer, it may not be as effective.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,866

    Default Re: cut down splits

    AstroBee, as you say timing is critical, I keep records of bloom dates going back a few years, but this year has been so strange I'm not sure when my main flow will start, it will be earlier for sure, just have to take a good guess and hope that I'm within a couple weeks of being right. John

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    melvin,mi
    Posts
    188

    Default Re: cut down splits

    Im going to do the same jmgi to all my hives. When do you plan on doing this? im 2hrs north of you. Was aiming for mid april but the weather cant make its mind up.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,866

    Default Re: cut down splits

    tbb39,

    I'm not going to do cut downs to all my hives as this will be my first try at it, so I'm thinking maybe doing just a few to see how they produce. My concern is the timing seeing how weird this spring has been. Looking at my past years bloom dates, around first of May is when the nectar flow starts up for me consisting of apple trees, hawthorne trees, honeysuckle bushes, and black locust, followed by the dutch clover around mid-May and then the other clovers such as yellow and white sweet, and then thistles. I think we are about 2-3 weeks early right now because the hawthornes and apples in my yard look like they will bloom any day, surely within a week. So, based on just that, cut downs should be done in about a week at the earliest, maybe even two weeks from now. You certainly want to do cut downs before the bees start swarm preparations, as this is one of the reasons for doing them, to prevent swarming. I'm getting lots of drones raised now, although none are flying yet, I have seen a few on the combs. Hives are getting jammed with bees, have a honey super on all my hives and today found a queen up in the super laying drones on one frame already, so it won't be long for swarm season the way I see it. I need to get back into all the hives soon and open up the brood nest for the second time. John

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    526

    Default Re: cut down splits

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i tried one on a pretty strong hive this year. i think my timing was about right. this hive is probably about a week away from having a new queen. so far, i can't see where they have made more honey or drawn out more comb compared to other hives. but there is a lot of nectar backfilled in the one deep and two mediums, and i'm hoping that when they get their new queen, all of this nectar will be moved up.
    Keep us informed on how this goes. Spring up here is just started and we are thinking of trying cut downs to, but won't be snatching queens till sometime in late may, and time it for our blackberries.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,866

    Default Re: cut down splits

    I did my first cut down split two days ago, and have since done two more hives. When I did the splits I ended up with two medium boxes for brood in each original hive, about 1 1/2 of the boxes had nearly full frames of sealed brood, plus all the foraging bees. I added a third medium of drawn honey super combs to each hive. Today I went into the hive that I did the cut down on two days ago, when I lifted up the super I could tell it was not just empty combs anymore, when I pulled the frames out to examine them every one of them was half filled with new nectar, and the only thing blooming right now is dandelion and fruit trees. I think I am going to like the results of doing cut downs in terms of honey production, the bees seem to be really packing it in at fast rate, will be adding a second super before long. John

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    melvin,mi
    Posts
    188

    Default Re: cut down splits

    I did my first cut down split yesterday. got 2 more hives to do. didn't put any suppers on, may have to do it Sunday jmgi do plan on putting queen excluders 0n in a few weeks?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,098

    Default Re: cut down splits

    I've been splitting queens out of strong hives when I just happen to run into them (found 3 today!) If it increases honey production that would be great, but it's about as sure a way to prevent swarming as I know of. For sure swarming decreases honey yeild. Plus, those big strong hives can produce some big strong queens. If you go back in in a few days there are usually several frames with cells for the easiest increase ever.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,576

    Default Re: cut down splits

    david, do you just remove the queen, or take a few frames and make a nuc?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads