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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
    Posts
    439

    Default Splits, honey production, nucs and swarms

    I've been reading thru the forum about splitting and still getting honey production.
    I want to start selling honey this Spring to get some return on our investment.
    If our 4 colonies and 1 Nuc survive the Winter, I'd like to make more Nucs and get back to 5 colonies.
    We run unlimited broodnest.

    A beekeeper in our group feels that we can split anytime from 4/15 to sometime in June.

    If I split the stronger hives around 4/15, would removing 3 or 4 brood frames plus the unlimited broodnest be enough to minimize swarming? Those frames would go right into a Nuc and they make their own queen.
    That may be early enough for our area that the main colony can recover and still produce a crop.

    Or do I move the laying queen with a few frames of brood and food stores into a Nuc?
    The main hive she came from would make another queen.
    Wouldn't the main hive then get a brood break from mites and those bees would be focused on honey production?

    There is more drawn comb available from this past season so they don't have to spend resources on building comb. One hive died out so all of that drawn comb can be used for the splits in Spring.

    Or, I could hold off on splitting till as late in the spring as I can.
    Once I see swarm cells, then either remove the frames with cells and make Nucs, or remove the queen with a few frames and make the splits then.

    I'm also on a swarm call list so hopefully will get lucky with free bees.
    6 to 10 Nucs is the goal this season in our home yard.
    It shouldn't be too much trouble to grow those Nucs into three story 5 frame deeps for the winter.

    We are also ordering 6 Nucs from an apiary here in Pa to establish 3 other bee yards for next year.

    Either way, it's gonna be an exciting Spring.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,638

    Default Re: Splits, honey production, nucs and swarms

    allen, i don't know if this helps you or not, but...

    i performed what is described on mike bush's website as a 'cut down split'. you may want to check it out.

    on april 3 this year, from my strongest hive, i took took the queen, two frames of brood, and a frame of stores, to make a strong 3 frame nuc.

    early april here was just as swarm season was kicking off, and the tulip poplars (a major source for our spring honey) were just starting to yield nectar.

    the nuc went on to fill out a deep and two mediums, and i harvested 6 medium frames of honey from it in september.

    the parent hive made another great queen, drew out it's last medium of foundation, and gave me two medium supers of surplus honey.

    this was all without any syrup given.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: Splits, honey production, nucs and swarms

    If it were me, I'd wait far enough into dandelion flow that the frames I removed were well covered with bees, regardles of the calendar. (If I didn't find enough well populated frames, I'd wait til I did. A good population in the nucs - enough bees to cover brood and still have a foraging force- will begin growing right away instead of struggling to just survive.)

    I'd either put them in a nuc or better still, use a follower board in a hive body to give just as much room as they need, adding one frame at a time as needed. That way they've less to patrol, a higher population density and will stay warmer with less effort while drawing out frames...and their efforts are concentrated on that frame so it will fill out faster

    I'd put the queen in nuc; in doing so the parent hive will think it has already swarmed, and be less likely to do so.
    The nuc won't swarm while the bees are in establishment mode.
    Keep them in that mode by adding space when needed by moving to a hive body or adding another nuc box to the stack.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    257

    Default Re: Splits, honey production, nucs and swarms

    Squarepeg, I would have thought that your nuc with the original queen (which gave you 6 supers of honey) would have made less honey than the original hive (which gave you two supers).

    What is the explanation?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,312

    Default Re: Splits, honey production, nucs and swarms

    WesternWilson, the word squarepeg used was "frames", not supers, in reference to the nuc.
    Graham
    -- The real problem is not precise language, it's clear language. - Richard Feynman

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    257

    Default Re: Splits, honey production, nucs and swarms

    Oops. That makes more sense! Thanks Rader!

    Still, the nuc made 1/3 the honey of the parent hive. Not too shabby.

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