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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Holland, Texas
    Posts
    103

    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
    2,078

    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
    2,243

    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
    167

    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
    103

    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
    457

    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
    1,242

    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
    164

    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
    2,243

    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
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,122

    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.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,122

    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.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,242

    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

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    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

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Gloucester County, New Jersey
    Posts
    198

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    i would be even more distressed that a thread on beesource caused me distress in the first place but that's for you to deal with lol....

    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.

    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

    OP, you can just do nothing but if you have some dead-outs then you won't have 5 anymore. You said you didn't want to split so I imagine you could just keep adding boxes and have an unlimited brood nest and gauge how big each hive desires to become each Spring/Summer. If some die off you could capture your own swarms and have replacement colonies.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    roswell, georgia, USA
    Posts
    723

    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."

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,489

    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 "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,489

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Pamela White View Post
    Hello all,
    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???
    Are you averse to splitting in order to replace winterloss?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,539

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Or splitting and selling the extras?
    Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,489

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Are you averse to splitting in order to replace winterloss?
    Pamela seems to be busy w/ other things.

    I asked this question because I suspect it is possible she wants to keep bees w/out having to deal w/ them intimately.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    724

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    it is possible she wants to keep bees w/out having to deal w/ them intimately.
    I think that to be the case also. If so, keeping her number of hives down to 5 will be no problem for her, keeping it up to 5 may require buying more bees IMHO.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

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