Tactics for making splits
I see interest in how to go about making splits so I figured I would start a new thread to discuss just that.
Salty asked me how I make my splits.
So there are many different ways to make NUC splits. I will discuss 2 that I have successfully done and will also add in other thoughts based on my experience. It would be great to have others who successfully make splits chime in as well.
Basic understanding of making splits is everything is moved out of splitting yard once splitting is done. I move everything atleast 3 miles away. Well except for 2 yards and I am not going to explain why.
Method 1: Ruthlessly open up a hive and pull out all brood resting it on the hive next to me on end. I mean ALL the brood. I try to make sure all split boxes have 1 frame capped and 1 frame of open brood on it. So bottom box will have 2 frames brood, 2 frames food (1 pollen, 1 honey). The second box will be stacked on top and the same will happen with the second box. The third box will be placed on top of second box with same brood, food configuration. I forgot to mention all brood goes dead center of box! I will continue until all brood is back in the stack of boxes. Once this is done I will allow the bees to equalize inside the boxes. Meaning your nurse bees and forages will distribute themselves sort of evenly. That evening or next evening we place all the stacked boxes on a pallet so everything is 1 high. Then immediately move them to outyard/s. Next morning we cell all new splits.
***Note*** I never once mentioned about looking or finding the queen. I don't care. Everything gets a cell. Its similar to what Jim described when mentioning checking NUCs at 3 weeks and fixing those that are questionable. Again I dont care.
You can tell where your parent queens are once you check back. It will be the box that has 9 1/2 frames of brood in it.
Method 2: Shake all bees off brood and place all brood above a queen excluder for 24 to 48 hours. This will allow nurse bees to come up on brood and keep parent colony alive. I generally leave a frame of eggs or so in parent colony but not terribly concerned, if she is worth her salt she will mae up for it. Pull two frames bees and brood and place in seperate box (NUC box or full size box matters none) on a pallet in the evening. Once all pallets are filled move them to outyard/s, that night. Next morning add queen cells.
Thoughts: bees drift like alot when you tear them apart. Folks doing this for a living know that drifting means lots of foragers in a few colonies which also means those takes are at about a 30 - 50% range due to all the p^ssed off bees. Acceptance levels take a hit. So thought of taking maybe 12 pallets of doubles to outyard and making all splits as similar as above and setting them down with the bees that are on the frames and thats it. Nurse bees will be on the brood and I am thinking this will alleviate some of the mass drifting of foragers.