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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    zanesvile, ohio, usa
    Posts
    104

    Default How should I build up my # of hives this season

    I went into winter with 9 hives and a couple of them were weak and as of this week I am down to 5 hives. One of the ones left is a nuc and it seems to be pretty healthy.
    I would like some advise on how to get my numbers to 15-20 before winter 2013. I don't really want to buy bees, so I'm thinking swarms and a split or two.
    How would you guys go about doing this? Should I be thinking more about splits? I still want to have some honey too.
    Any advise would greatly be appreciated
    BEES ARE NOT AN OPTION

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Wausau, WI, USA
    Posts
    212

    Default Re: How should I build up my # of hives this season

    You have 4 strong hives and 1 good Nuc coming out of winter. Getting to 15 is probably possible if you're able to catch a few swarms, off someone elses bees. Do 2 for 1 splits on the 4 strong hives, maybe a couple additional considering the strenght of the colony and the number of frames of brood you have. Hive the Nuc in full size equipment. You're at 9 to 11 at this point. Check around your area and try and meet a comercial beekeeper in the area. Ask to set up swarm traps about 50 100 yards off his yards. Most yards will throw a swarm or 2 during the season. Most commercials would like to keep these if possible. Cooperative effort here. Depending on the number of swarm traps you put out near various yards, you could easily hit 15-20 hives by winter. If yoiu can't team up getting swarms off a commercials yards, you'll go into winter most likely with around 10. Just my 2 cents.

    Wisnewbee

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,866

    Default Re: How should I build up my # of hives this season

    Hopefully you won't lose any more hives this winter so you will have something left to split with. I want to increase my hive count also, but I want to get away from buying any more bees too, and increase with my own resources and will try to get as many swarms as I can as I usually do. You are going to have to do it through swarm collecting and splits, you can try raising your own queens or just let the bees take care of it. If you still want to get honey though, you will be better off buying queens for your splits so that they can take off quicker and build up in time to get a little surplus for you hopefully. John

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

    Default Re: How should I build up my # of hives this season

    Depending on how much honey you want, keep at least one hive as your production hive and split the rest. There should be no reason you can't split a good overwintered colony into 3 hives in a year, but your not going to get any honey off them. Definitely catch swarms, too.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Kingston, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    265

    Default Re: How should I build up my # of hives this season

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    Hopefully you won't lose any more hives this winter so you will have something left to split with. I want to increase my hive count also, but I want to get away from buying any more bees too, and increase with my own resources and will try to get as many swarms as I can as I usually do. You are going to have to do it through swarm collecting and splits, you can try raising your own queens or just let the bees take care of it. If you still want to get honey though, you will be better off buying queens for your splits so that they can take off quicker and build up in time to get a little surplus for you hopefully. John
    I'm going from 2 hive to 10-12 with nucs and packages. Since I live half the time in Georgia and in Tn, I can set up different yards and move them later. Getting packages of Italians is easy since there's no shipping cost, just go pick them up. I'll requeen them later with mite resistance queens later by splitting them in June and moving the splits between different yards. Up in Tn I keep Carniolan stock and I'll get one or two splits with the over winter hives. Got three packages of carns coming for May and one nuc of russians coming too. I'm trying to keep the carns separate since I like there overwinter capabilities and quick build up. I really don't like italians but it's a lot easier to get them and worry about keeping them healthy later by requeening. Swarms are too much of a crapshoot but if I get a couple so much the better.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: How should I build up my # of hives this season

    I'd second the suggestion to nuc 'em.
    I made fivefold increase that way last year.
    i'd consider also either getting and extra queen and banking her, or raising a couple of your own.
    If you overwinter in the nucs, I wouldn't be surprised if you don't pull an extra frame out of many of your July splits for swarm control, and you can make up another out of those.

    It might not make it through winter, but if it does, you'll have learned first hand how late you can do a successful split.

    I overwinter nucs as 4 frames, 2 to a ten frame box similar to Michael Palmer's practice.
    If they overwinter well in Vermont nad upstate New York, I bet they'd do well in Ohio as well.

    Just make sure they have 3 1/2 frames of stores going into winter.

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