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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Trenton, SC
    Posts
    99

    Default How late can I split?

    Local beeks say flow is over first week of June if were lucky. I do live next to a 60-80 acre commercial nursery that supplies ornamental plants to Home Depot, etc.

    I've got two packages that started on March 28 and a hive that started as a nuc that would be potential candidates. Added the first super to each of the three hives today. Each hive is a deep with a medium brood box on top of that, and of course the additional medium super I added today that contains foundation.

    If I can still do it, do I need to buy a queen, or is there time to let them make their own?

    I have no problem feeding while it's warm, but I don't want to crack open hives in the winter at all.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    825

    Default Re: How late can I split?

    You have to learn to listen to the bees, and let the bees tell you what they need. Don't get greedy and just split because you want to. The bees WILL tell you what they need. They can readily make queens there now. I am sure there are plenty of drones. The question is, do they NEED to.??

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Trenton, SC
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: How late can I split?

    My goal is to increase my colony numbers significantly next year, as I have this year. I figure if I can keep going this year, even better as hives tend to be more productive after the first year since they've built up comb.

    I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. They're not going to NEED to do anything as long as I keep adding boxes to their hive with no queen excluder.

    If I add a queen excluder or stop adding boxes, then they'll need to swarm because they'll run out of space, but then I've put them into swarm mode. Then the queen could stop laying or the hive could swarm with a virgin.

    I'd rather not do that. I was thinking of taking three frames of brood, pollen, and honey from a donor hive with bees and letting them raise their own queen. Or possibly doing an even split, but that's going to set the donor hive back quite a bit.

    The question is do I have time before the nectar flow stops?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    861

    Default Re: How late can I split?

    The answer to your question is highly dependent on your local conditions. I would suggest locating a local experienced beekeeper and ask him/her for their opinion.

    In general, you can surely split a hive (that is large enough to be split) as long as swarm season is still in progress in your area. Here, in Denver, our swarm season is just getting into full swing.

    The earlier in the flow that you do a split allows a smaller a hive that can be split and still survive the winter.

    Also, if you feed the hives, you can still do splits after swarm season has ended.

    Providing the daughter split with a mated queen gives them a 3 - 4 week advantage over a hive that must raise and mate its own queen after splitting.
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 14 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,095

    Default Re: How late can I split?

    Quote Originally Posted by mgburton View Post
    Local beeks say flow is over first week of June if were lucky.
    I think you got that backwards. I just got back from SC, Horry County, and nectar flows started in April. I have always been told that, in SC, May is the month that honey is produced there.

    That commercial nursery won't be much benefit to your bees. I bet they do a lot of spraying and I also doubt that their flowering plants produce much nectar or will be flowering before they are shipped.

    You should buy queens for your splits made after today. Your nectar flow will probably be ending soon. A cpl more weeks maybe.

    My bees winter in SC and I have no problem opening hives and feeding during the winter months. There are usually plenty of days during any week span of time in SC during the winter when bees can get to syrup. Not that one should always have syrup on hives through the winter. There is enough moisture in hives in SC during the winter as they normally are w/out adding more. My point is, don't be afraid to open your hives during the winter.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Trenton, SC
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: How late can I split?

    Thanks Shinbone -

    Swarm season is on right now. As sqkcrk said, we've only got a few weeks left on nectar. Just thinking about this...the bees would have plenty of time to build wax and grow numbers if were talking about from now until July and I'm feeding them which I'm ok with. They would just have a hive full of sugar syrup as opposed to honey. I guess that would be ok as folks feed syrup in the winter. In my mind I guess I just have (incorrectly) viewed syrup as a way to start them, not sustain them. Will they do as well going into winter that way?

    Sqkcrk - I should have said local beekeepers say the flow LASTS until the first week of June if were lucky I see your point.

    That nursery does spray. I do see flowering plants out there, but you're probably right. They probably move them as soon as they're large enough to sell. I do have a dove club on the other side of me that plants about 30 acres in sunflower. They just got it in the ground. I've heard that doesn't make the best honey, though.

    First things first. I need to see if my supplier has queens. Then I can go from there. I may have an extra myself in a couple of weeks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,095

    Default Re: How late can I split?

    Oops, I'm sorry. I didn't read correctly what you wrote. You and your local beekeepers are right about the length of the season. My mistake.

    You'll probably be just fine, but if I had my druthers, I would not keep bees between a commercial nursery and a dove club. But that's me sitting here. You will probably be just fine. The bees will fly a long ways beyond the acreage next door.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Trenton, SC
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: How late can I split?

    I keep them here because it's home base and I have nine acres, but lately I have given a lot of thought to out yards as I want to build up my population. I think I would need to start them all here though at least. They suck down a lot of feed in the beginning and it's nice to be able to just walk outside and feed them.

    When you say you wouldn't keep them here, is it because the nursery sprays, or is it because of the forage opportunities?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,095

    Default Re: How late can I split?

    Spraying mostly. But it may not be as big a problem as I imagine.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Appling, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    216

    Default Re: How late can I split?

    MG- I'm in appling ga which is near augusta. I plan on splitting the 2nd week of june. they will have plenty of time to get strong. our flow is strong right now. I put a super on two weks ago today, 8 days later full but uncapped. put a second super on last Saturday and 2/3 full yesterday. good luck with your splits!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Trenton, SC
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: How late can I split?

    Beezly - yeah buddy! Been to Appling a couple of times. Not far at all!

    How are you going to do your splits? Even, or "nuc and grow"? Are you buying queens or letting them raise their own?

    How many boxes can they fill out before it gets cold?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Appling, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    216

    Default Re: How late can I split?

    Going to take double deep hive And split it 4 ways. They should be double deeps by fall again. I'm going to graft my own queens and put the cells into the splits. This is a survivor colony that I don't treat and I want to propagate them. I will graft 1 week before the splits.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,854

    Default Re: How late can I split?

    Are you just planning on splitting those hives? How many other hives you have to pull resources from? No nectar flow is easy to remedy enough if you're set up to feed properly.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Trenton, SC
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: How late can I split?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beezly View Post
    Going to take double deep hive And split it 4 ways. They should be double deeps by fall again. I'm going to graft my own queens and put the cells into the splits. This is a survivor colony that I don't treat and I want to propagate them. I will graft 1 week before the splits.
    Can you expand on your procedure for raising queens?

    I'm trying to figure out the best way to proceed if I decide to move forward. I use a deep and a medium for a brood box. I could take three deep frames, put them in a nuc with a new queen and grow them up.

    Or I could take the medium off each hive, load a queen and place an empty deep above each.

    Do you overwinter in two deeps? I usually have a deep, a medium, and a super with some leftover honey going into winter. I want to leave them stores as I don't want to feed in the winter. Can they build up to three boxes by winter if I throw the feed on them?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Trenton, SC
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: How late can I split?

    JRG - I'm trying to decide. I've got nine hives. Three are splits that have queens that are just starting to lay, so they're probably not good candidates.
    Another is a small swarm that I caught that is playing catch up. Another hive is a split that is solid, but building up.

    That leaves two first year packages and two first year nucs that I would feel comfortable pulling resources from. I don't want to do anything with my nucs until after the flow is over.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,854

    Default Re: How late can I split?

    Yeah, time to slow down I guess MG, but if you had some strong hives it helps cuz you can pull honey from them if needed etc...

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Appling, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    216

    Default Re: How late can I split?

    I use the procedure that is outlined in Larry Conners book " Queen rearing Essentials". It works very well, although the calendar for emergence has not been accurate for our area. I see the queens emerging early, so I just keep a close eye on the cells and plan on moving them to the splits 4 or 5 days early. they can be moved after they are capped. I do now overwinter in double deeps. I used to have single deep and a medium but decided to go to double deeps as I see no downside. I don't mind the weight. I want my hives strong come spring and able to split right after the flow. I'm still learning a lot about all of this and making mistakes as I go. I lost 9 colonies last fall, some to ants, others...???. I am going to try not to feed to prevent ant issues. We'll see how it works.

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