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Thread: Split Questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Duvall, WA

    Default Split Questions

    Hi there folks. I'm a 2nd year beek with all medium foundationless equipment. I made a split in early august by taking 5 frames (brood, empty comb, eggs, honey) from my hive and putting them into a 5 frame nuc. They raised a healthy laying queen and now have about 1.5-2 frames of honey/nectar and lots of larvae and capped brood.

    Today I put them into a 10 frame box with 5 empty frames (no comb or anything). Was that wise or is it better to overwinter a smaller colony in a 5 frame box? I also plan to feed them starting tomorrow and wonder if I can give them 1:1 and get them to draw out some of those empty frames or if I should just stick to 2:1 so they can store for winter.

    After I extract next weekend I will have plenty of frames with drawn comb to put into the hive to replace what's not drawn out. Please let me know if I've done anything stupid or if you have any advise for me going forward. Thanks in advance for the help!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Olympia, Washington

    Default Re: Split Questions

    I spent much of my life in Wetsern Washington. Presently I live in upstate NY and the winters are much more severe here.
    I am wintering 6 nucs this year,

    I think you would be wiser to put your 5 frames in a nuc box, with a 5 frame nuc box as a super above.
    You are going to get 3-4 months of wet weather with not a lot of flying days, but it will be warm enough on many of them that your bees will be active inside the box, and not clustered other words, they might actually go through as much feed stores as mine do in a -15 degree winter, because they won't go into "conservation mode" as long.

    So my suggestion is put your original nuc back together , brood and one of the frames of stores on bottom in the same order they were in originally, with one empty frame on the outside.
    Put your drawn comb in the middle of the top box (3rd comb from either side) and your other empty frames.

    The comb in the upper will help prevent them from drawing cross comb.
    The disadvantage of using foundationless is that as they draw out the top frames and store honey in them, many colonies will make the first few combs as wide as they can, crowding into the space of the empty frame next to them.
    It is recommended that when using foundationless frames, you put them between drawn combs to prevent this, or btw frames with foundation.

    DO NOT alternate your brood comb and foundationless. You want to go into winte with your brood on bottom, stores on top.
    the bees will eat their way up and be in the top box in spring.

    If you want to alternate frames with frame 1 foundationless, frame 2 your honey/nectar frame from below, frame 3 foundationless, frame 4 aframe w/ small cell foundation, and frame foundationless, that would be wil prevent the fat comb problem as well as prevent cross comb.

    If it were me, I try to have at least 2 supers of stores above the brood nest. Once your super is nearly all drawn, pull half of the frames , replace them with foundationless, add your med super and put the other half of your frmaes form the fist super in the top one, again alternating with founddationless.

    Feed them 5:3 syrup until they are all full, as well as most of the frames in the brood nest.
    If you can get them to draw a third, super (not likely til spring) go for it.

    If you get low on stores before the willow and dandelion flow in spring, you can feed dry sugar on the top bars by laying paper down first.

    I'll be in Seattle next month and can stop by and see how things are going if you like.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Utica, NY

    Default Re: Split Questions

    Some people put their 5 frame nucs on top of another active hive going through winter.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Argyle, New York, USA

    Default Re: Split Questions

    I like the two five frame box format as suggested by Beregondo above. You could put in some uncapped frames when you pull next week or a frame or two of capped if you are lucky enough that that is all you get and then feed to fill out the rest. I generally end up with some that are not completely capped. This time of year giving them the drawn comb will be a real leg up.

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