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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Holland, Texas
    Posts
    101

    Default Maintaining amount of hives

    Hello all,
    Just a quick question and I should have asked this long ago? If I have 5 hives that I start out with, how do I maintain them instead of splitting and making more if I just want to continue with 5???
    "Live it like you stole it"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,672

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Do nothing.... they will maintain themsleves through swarming. Feral bees have done this since the beginning of time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    i would suggest 3 nucs from splits every summer that you can overwinter. combine back in the spring-if you have no winter die outs. repeat every year. this also provides you with replacement queens should you lose one or want to replace one that has aggressive offspring.
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Imperial, MO, USA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    You can always continue to manage swarming (and maximize honey production) by making splits, and specifically by making Nucs. And you can sell those Nucs easily. Its a win-win.
    "Teach your kids to hunt and fish, and you won't have to hunt for your kids"
    Four Ridge Apiaries www.fourridgebees.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Holland, Texas
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Thank ya'll so very much!!!!
    "Live it like you stole it"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by mike haney View Post
    i would suggest 3 nucs from splits every summer that you can overwinter. combine back in the spring-if you have no winter die outs. repeat every year. this also provides you with replacement queens should you lose one or want to replace one that has aggressive offspring.
    This is in my opinion your best option. It allows you to maintain the same numbers without spending money to purchase die off replacements. You could also sell the nucs in the spring if you didn't need them. Overwintered nucs sell easily.

    Mike
    Beekeeper? Shoot, my bees keep me!
    100 hives in Western Wa State

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,346

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    This thread distresses me. Pamela asked for a way to maintain constant colony count without splitting. 3 of 4 responses recommended splitting. Don't you folks read the question? The 4th response recommended doing nothing - a viable answer, if honey production is not a consideration. But five colonies implies honey production is a consideration - too many for just garden pollination.

    Am also amazed how many beekeepers still think that splitting is the best answer for swarm prevention. Or, the only answer. Checkerboarding (CB) has been around for over 15 years and very few have tried it. CB beats splitting in so many ways, we will not go into all the advantages here, other than to report that it is simpler, cheaper, less work, and produces much more honey than any broodnest disturbance technique. An ideal way for Pamela to meet her objectives.

    Several advantages are treated in more detail in the last few articles in Point of View, this site, from home page, scroll to the end.
    Walt

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Five + three does not equal five.

    CB has my vote as a option.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    starting 3 nucs is much simpler and easier to understand/implement for a BEGINNER than CB'ing,one of the reasons it has not spread.
    having banked nuks has other advantages for the beginner,such as banked queens,swift replacements for winter losses, and the possibility of recouping some money spent getting started in bees.
    better solution? can't say. certainly better suited for a BEGINNER.
    Five + three does not equal five.-until you sell or combine them.
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,505

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    I think the question was how to maintain that number, and since everyone has at least occasional deadouts, you really should do a few splits in the summer and overwinter. I plan to, on top of doing a few splits for expansion and collect a few swarms.

    There is always a market for good nucs, no need to add hives just because you have one.

    Peter

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    roswell, georgia, USA
    Posts
    720

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Pamela White View Post
    Hello all,
    Just a quick question and I should have asked this long ago? If I have 5 hives that I start out with, how do I maintain them instead of splitting and making more if I just want to continue with 5???
    A combination of birth and border/imigration control? I too have a limited space and time to devote, but have found that I need to figure on at least a 20% loss, so I am constantaly shuffling between one hive too many and one hive less (more like it), so always end up buying a spring nuc each year - when I have time, I plan on reading and implementing Michael Palmers wintering nuc practices. I'm sure that some of the suggestions given here work just fine - but I question that fixed number over each season.

    BTW, I get hundreds of lbs of honey off my 5 'garden' hives each year.
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,477

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by bbrowncods View Post
    Five + three does not equal five.
    No, but 5 - 3 + 3 does. 5 hives into winter, lose three, make 3 nucs, have 5.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,477

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    This thread distresses me. Pamela asked for a way to maintain constant colony count without splitting. 3 of 4 responses recommended splitting. Don't you folks read the question? The 4th response recommended doing nothing - a viable answer, if honey production is not a consideration. But five colonies implies honey production is a consideration - too many for just garden pollination.
    How does Pamela make up her winter losses without splitting? And without some re-queening regimen...ie splitting and re-queening, how does she prevent africanization in Texas?

    5 are five times as much fun as 1.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,346

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    For the record, we don't have winter losses. Even better than that, we don't have weaklings in the spring. A little care in the fall insures uniformly good wintering. Yes, I know - you don't believe any of that, but it happens to be a fact. The input from GA on winter losses is an admission of neglect. Pamela, in central TX, could get the same results we do.

    M. H.
    We agree that CB is perceived as complicated, but it is not. If the beginner's comprehension is taxed by alternating frames of honey and empty comb, he or she has serious mental problems, and should be constrained to quarters.
    And you contend that splitting/nucing is simpler? How many threads have you seen here where the attendent problems went awry? Queen problems, feeding/robbing, swarming, etc. Sorry, have to disagree on the relative simplicity.

    Requeening is a different question. We also have no need to requeen, except to upgrade genetics. CBed colonies automatically supersede in the spring. That would lead to gradual Africanization in an area populated by mostly Africanized drones. Pamela would have to make the adjustment when the problem presents itself. Increased defensiveness would tell her when.

    According to our records, about 5% of colonies fail to successfully supersede in the spring, and the potential for laying workers shows up while in main flow and when we are supering. Lifting off several supers to check for queenright is a nuisance through that period, but a check is made promptly at harvest. If laying workers are found at that time, we have a fix for that problem. The concept of addition of a frame of brood at weekly intervals for 3 weeks originated here. (Perhaps independently of others) If my occurance rate of 5% holds for central TX, Pamela could expect to apply this concept once every four years.

    Walt

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    I would go into winter with 7 and if you have 5 in the spring you'll be even. If you have 3 you can do some splits. If you have 7 you can do some combines, just as the flow starts.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    roswell, georgia, USA
    Posts
    720

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    The input from GA on winter losses is an admission of neglect.
    \Walt
    A 33%+/- of loss across the board is not only a figment of my (our) imagination, but more of a matter of "neglect".

    Why waste the resources, time, money and energy implementing proceedures to restore, maintain or increase our populations, when the simple act of CB solves all problems - environmental, weather, biological. viral, natural instincts... a genius in their own mind.

    I reiterate that throwing bees in boxes and trying to maintain an exact number of hives year-to-year has been for many years, problematic - now apperently solved via CB.

    MP - isn't it funny how some people just get under your skin? Raising bees as the majority of us have been doing for some hundred years or so, suddenly becomes neglect. I admire everyone who is passionate about it and continually strives for improvements, but labeling standard beekeeping practices as 'neglect' spreads a lot of blame across a lot of respected people over a number of many years.
    Last edited by hoodswoods; 11-09-2012 at 04:12 PM. Reason: time out
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,346

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    hoodswoods,
    Don't think we said or implied that CB corrected the problems associated with winter losses. We did say 'care in the fall.' - not described. We considered opening a thread in Aug/Sept describing that care, but I do not enjoy the flac that a deviation to standard management always brings. So, we do not open many threads. The following short-form lists some of the improvements added to the full season management based on observation, in the order they were added:

    Langstroth hive design affects comb usage in more than one way.
    1. The bees don't "like" the break in functional comb between boxes. This results in reluctance to "jump the gap" in mutiple different circumstances.
    2. Something about brood-rearing in a deep that distorts cluster shape - flat on the bottom and rounded at the top. You only see a round cluster when it's quite small.
    3. The flat bottomed broodnest in conjunction with the gap of 1 above inhibits storing of the pollen reserve below, which is natural in the wild brood nest.
    4. The bees much prefer to rear brood in a deep over a shallow.

    Merging these observations, we elected to change wintering configuration to a deep and the rest all shallows. During the config. change, we were also testing the bottom "pollen box." We got lucky and the results proved to be better than we had any reason to expect. Took 2 years. When complete, the changes produced reliable wintering.

    Queen loss: To avoid having the queen fall into the cold water collected on the bottom board, the hive is tilted slightly forward for positive bottom board drainage. No more overwinter queen loss.

    This stuff is not a secret. It's available to all for free in POV. If you enjoy winter dead-outs and the joys of splitting/nucing, by all means ignore a way that produces more honey and takes less effort. No skin off my buns.

    Do you see a minor discrepancy between your post and your tag line?
    Walt

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,477

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    >>>Don't think we said or implied that CB corrected the problems associated with winter losses. We did say 'care in the fall.' - not described. We considered opening a thread in Aug/Sept describing that care, but I do not enjoy the flac that a deviation to standard management always brings. So, we do not open many threads.

    Flac? You mean disagreement? Walt, if you tell others their beekeeping management is all wrong, you must expect some amount of questioning and challenge.


    >>The following short-form lists some of the improvements added to the full season management based on observation, in the order they were added:

    Langstroth hive design affects comb usage in more than one way.
    1. The bees don't "like" the break in functional comb between boxes. This results in reluctance to "jump the gap" in mutiple different circumstances.

    Says you. In 40 years I have seen no evidence of this. What's your proof that the bees don't "like" the bee space between brood boxes and/or supers.

    >>2. Something about brood-rearing in a deep that distorts cluster shape - flat on the bottom and rounded at the top. You only see a round cluster when it's quite small.

    Distorts cluster shape?? Really?? And what possible problem would come from your flat bottomed clusters. Hey, just yesterday I was looking at clusters from the bottom up on a dozen multiple story hives...2 deeps and a medium. They were about 8" from the bottom board, and nothing flat about them.

    >>3. The flat bottomed broodnest in conjunction with the gap of 1 above inhibits storing of the pollen reserve below, which is natural in the wild brood nest.

    I too find pollen in the bottom box. Even in my multiple deep box colonies.

    >>4. The bees much prefer to rear brood in a deep over a shallow.

    But not in a deep over a deep? So my colonies in 2 deeps, 2 deeps and a medium, 3 deeps, 3 deeps and 2 mediums, 4 mediums, 6 mediums, 2 deep and 3 mediums...that have 9, 10, 12, and 14 frames of brood at the start of dandelion, prefer your setup. Really. Could have fooled me Walt.

    >>Merging these observations, we elected to change wintering configuration to a deep and the rest all shallows. During the config. change, we were also testing the bottom "pollen box." We got lucky and the results proved to be better than we had any reason to expect. Took 2 years. When complete, the changes produced reliable wintering.

    Glad your bees winter 100%, and your swarming is 0%. I'm not that good. I only had an 8% loss last winter, and surely I had some swarming.


    >>This stuff is not a secret. It's available to all for free in POV. If you enjoy winter dead-outs and the joys of splitting/nucing, by all means ignore a way that produces more honey and takes less effort. No skin off my buns.

    Personally, I do enjoy making nucs and raising queens and all that bee business. Enjoy making honey, too. Tons, and tons, and tons of it...with deep boxes and medium boxes with that bee space between them all. Sure glad my bees can jump Walt, or they'd be forever resigned to living in the bottom box.

    Walt, I'm sorry for the long winded disagreement, but if you're going to tell me I'm wrong, I'm not going to sit here and listen to your dogma. If you want to include some science i your claims, then we can at least have an intelligent debate. And by the way...who's WE?
    Last edited by Barry; 11-10-2012 at 02:34 PM. Reason: language

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,693

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Pamela White View Post
    how do I maintain them instead of splitting and making more if I just want to continue with 5???
    I guess you will have to buy in nucs or packages when you have Winterloss.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    27,693

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post

    Queen loss: To avoid having the queen fall into the cold water collected on the bottom board, the hive is tilted slightly forward for positive bottom board drainage. No more overwinter queen loss.

    Walt

    How did you observe that queens had fallen into water on the bottom board?
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


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