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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Bay Minette, AL. USA
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    225

    Default Five to thirty five

    So how possible do u think it is to go from five to thirty five hives in one year without buying any? My goal for next year is this. I am going to buy some buckfast and a few nucs from northern Alabama. How feasible do u think this goal is?
    Let bees be bees.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
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    2,333

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    Pretty Aggressive. Check Michael Palmers website he has section on this I think. www.bushfarms.com

    I went from 40-150 in a year but, I bought Nuc's and packages. If you split so aggressively you will have no honey. So it is honey or bee's can do both very well.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,682

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    I'm confused, you said you weren't buying bees but then you're buying nucs???? Or is it, you're buying this year, then going to try for 35 next year??

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Pickaway/Fairfield Cty, OH
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    will you catch swarms?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Bay Minette, AL. USA
    Posts
    225

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    I'm confused, you said you weren't buying bees but then you're buying nucs???? Or is it, you're buying this year, then going to try for 35 next year??
    Yes I said I wasn't going to buy any but I am going to buy a few from a local on here and I want to get some buckfast from Canada. So if I take account for those I could have fourty.
    Let bees be bees.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    Having attempted something like this, let me weigh in from my experience.

    Last year, I went from 10 to something like forty at one point, but considering the actual conditions and the actual production of queenright hives, it's more like 7 to 33.

    I would say it can be done, if done properly, but the probability is slim on actually ending up with exactly what you're wanting.

    Here's how I did it:

    Using the queenright cell builder technique http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/benhardenmethod.html http://parkerfarms.biz/experiments.html and using two hives, I made a total of 28 successfully raised and capped queen cells. Using those hives and 6 others, I made three frame mating nucs (one frame brood, one stores, one empty) and placed them in queen castles http://parkerfarms.biz/queens.html#Mating_Nucs Successfully hatched and mated queens (~85%) were placed in five or ten frame nucs (where they increased rapidly to fill the empty space) or used to requeen a couple of dinker hives I had.

    Caveats: While it can be done (I believe), you are relying upon a roll of the dice and it is very important that you have enough frames of brood (your five hives must be very healthy) to make mating nucs. You can make all the queens in the world, but they're not all going to come back from their mating flights and they're not all going to lay eggs. According to Michael Palmer, a third are going to be dinks anyway. The process will always be ongoing. You will also need the equipment. I built mine over last winter, 10 3x3 queen castles, and something like a dozen plywood mating nucs, and I have one hive that is 4 five-frame nucs in one big box.

    Having attempted something very similar to what you, I say it could be done. Your limiting factor will be the amount of brood your five hives have and I'm just not sure you'll succeed on that count. It all depends on the hives. Perhaps you should plan conservatively for 20-25 and get what you can. It's up to you.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Bay Minette, AL. USA
    Posts
    225

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    Thanks Solomon. I am building my own equipment now since this year I put more money in tools then I did the hives. I can make two full hives with one 16x12 one inch pine and screen for the bottom board. All together one full hive runs me about twenty dollars with SBB hive body and insulated cover. I will still buy the frames since they are cheaper to buy then to try to make. Plus I like to just put them together when they come in. I am making all deeps at this moment to insure I have frames to start out in a good position next year. The winter here is short and they have probly 60 to 80 lbs. of surplus honey on each hive. I have two breeder queens that are still laying frames of brood this late. The hives are very healthy and slammed of bees.
    Let bees be bees.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,332

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    Odfrank goes from 40 to 0 then back up to 80 catching swarms!
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,644

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    Quote Originally Posted by EastSideBuzz View Post
    Check Michael Palmers website he has section on this I think. www.bushfarms.com
    The website that EastSideBuzz provided the link to above is Michael Bush's, not Mike Palmer's. If Mike Palmer has a website, it is certainly hard to find!
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
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    1,373

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    Five to thirty five hives............I believe it's very possible, but I don't think by splitting, but I could be wrong. The best way to achieve your goal is to get with your animal control center and be the go to person for swarms! Do cut outs, swarm trapping and split your hives. If I wanted to, I could have easily went from four hives last spring to at least fifty by June just on swarm calls alone.

    If you only split your own hives I think you would spend a fortune in bred queens, sugar syrup and you would need perfect conditions!

    Like what was mentioned, Michael Palmer would be the person to chime in on this thread as he has some great insight on this aspect of beekeeping for sure!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Issaquah,WA,USA
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    2,333

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    The website that EastSideBuzz provided the link to above is Michael Bush's, not Mike Palmer's. If Mike Palmer has a website, it is certainly hard to find!
    oops.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    2,817

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    I tend to think that more queens make more bees. So just hypothetically if 5 queens can fill 6 hives with be4s. why can't 35 queens fill 35 hives. Or another way to look at it. If you where going to buy 35 packages. Could you just make 35 packages from your 5 hives?

    In reality I started 2 5 fame nucs this past summer from just one hive. My limiting factor was frames that where ready. It was late summer and I was not able to count on my bees drawing comb. Maybe if I started as early as possible in the spring I could split one hive into 5 nucs. but I woudl be giving up any hope of harvesting honey. I woudl still have worked my tail off and gotten nothing but hives for it. Which is more expensive. buying nucs at $100 a pop or making splits and loosing all production. I figure a lost harvest of 50 lbs can be worth as much as $300. There are lots of ways to look at it. some require performance. others are good enough with whatever you get.

    I have seen hives started with a cup full of bees and a queen in a box not much bigger than your fist. You can make them by the dozens that way. they also take a lot of care. So can you produce 35 queens give each one a bare minimum of queens and get them going? probably. I woudl probably make more like 50 queens for a 50% safety margin myself though.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
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    624

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    I went from 12 to 40 + just by catching swarms and doing removals this last year.

    Left my original 12 hives alone to be production hives.

    Stock up on equipment early.

    Don

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Bay Minette, AL. USA
    Posts
    225

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    Thanks for the replies. I am going to be aggressively splitting early spring as all my hives at this moment are three deep as of yesterday. I am hoping to get some swarms also next year so I can have a diversity of drones to start queen rearing next year also. I got enough deeps to start out in the spring probly splitting each hive three to four times plus the swarms. This spring I started with two and split those three times this year and got a good honey crop that I haven't taken yet. I am going to let them get the rest filled since they are all foundationless and treatment free. They are booming like the storm coming up the eastern coast.
    Let bees be bees.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Jamaica. W.I.
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    I don't see why it is impossible, in fact I have a similar plan for the new year. Which is to take my 15 colonies to 50 or more before the end of 2013.

    The idea is to start with three frame splits per colony, raise my own queens using the Hopkins method and feed them like hell, so I can produce another split within 3 months. If I do this 3 more times between now and the end of next year I could have more than 50 colonies.

    Possibly by mid year I should be making splits from the first split I made in December or those colonies will be adding brood to my next splits for faster colony build up.

    I had done something similar to this earlier this year. Where grew 6 colonies to 15 just by splitting, feeding, and at that time I did it foundation-less (Had I equipment and foundation I would have done much better, however I didn't start until late February or was it March, not too certain). I even got a small harvest not so sure what will happen now that hurricane Sandy passed thru.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,332

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    I went from 17 last year to 35 at present. The biggest obstacle was building and painting all the boxes, covers and bottom boards. Most of the increase I did from splits and swarm captures. For me, a critical component is a good local queen breeder. It's hard for queens to mate in SF weather. You may not have that problem where you are.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
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    1,373

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    Earl, that's no fair, you live in Jamaica mon! You have year round opportunities compared to most of us, I'm jealous! What you do in that climate will differ greatly compared to ours. We could split all we want, but unless there are drones around to mate the virgin queens, we will have our splits disappear due to unmated queens becoming drone layers. My hives don't have a single drone in them, at least from my observation.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,644

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeGhost View Post
    Earl, that's no fair, you live in Jamaica mon! You have year round opportunities compared to most of us, I'm jealous!
    Perhaps you should appreciate the climate that you do have. Its Ian in Manitoba that has a right to complain ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    Here in Manitoba once winter falls we usually don't see temps on the plus side for months at a time. I'm putting mine in now, and they will not see the day of light for another 5 months.
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...mmercial-scale
    Ian is referring to storing his bees and hives indoors for 5 months during the winter. How many times do you suppose he can split those hives each year?
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Jamaica. W.I.
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeGhost View Post
    Earl, that's no fair, you live in Jamaica mon! You have year round opportunities compared to most of us, I'm jealous! What you do in that climate will differ greatly compared to ours. We could split all we want, but unless there are drones around to mate the virgin queens, we will have our splits disappear due to unmated queens becoming drone layers. My hives don't have a single drone in them, at least from my observation.
    Don't tell any one you might spoil my girls fun. Seriously however even though our winters are warm we still have the death period and that can be very brutal, plus pollen flow varies according to season and location. While this dearth season ended early most times we have to feed from May to late August and sometimes September.

    So we do have to watch and time our splits for optimal queens.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,243

    Default Re: Five to thirty five

    Certainly feasible. I do better than that every summer with nucs. The biggest hurdle I see...do you have drawn comb, or will you be using foundation? I don't think it's possible if you have only foundation to give them.

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