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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Lewiston Idaho USA
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    44

    Default Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    I just returned from helping a friend bring back 90 hives from the California Almond Pollination. His hives are overflowing with bees. Kind of looks like a beer mug poured to fast. We have enough brood and bees to make three hives out of each one. My question is what is the best way to isolate the queen to a particular box. It is not reasonable to attempt to find the queen in each box, it would take day days with the amount of bees in each box. When we try to shake to bees down into the first box, it is way to full of bees and the overflow the edges and we are concerned we could lose or crush the queen in doing so.

    What suggestions do you all have. I am hopeful some of you with commerical experiance can provide some sound wisdom as to how to best do this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,108

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    Set up the bottom box with the brood and stores you want for the old queen. Shake all the bees from the other box(s) in front on the ground or landing board. Place an excluder on hive and empty box on excluder. Set up the remaining frames of brood and stores in the top box in the order you prefer...for your remaining 2 splits...like honey brood brood empty/honey brood brood empty. Cover and leave over night. Next morning, the combs in the top box will be full of bees and no queens. Separate combs at middle into nuc boxes or singles and move to another yard. 3 divides and queens will be in the bottom.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Lewiston Idaho USA
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    44

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    Michael, let me see if I understand this.
    1. Shake bees off some brood comb and place that in an empty box along with honey stores. This becomes the new bottom box.
    2. Place a queen excluder on top of the new bottom box.
    3. Shake the original bottom deep and second deep on the ground. Which would include the queen.
    4. Place the empty old bottom box and old second box on top of the excluder.
    5. The bees including the queen that have been shaken on the ground ground will reenter the new box and fill up the two empty boxes above the excluder. The two top boxes become the nucs.

    Do I have this correct? Will this work on migratory pallets?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
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    553

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    I interpret this as keeping the bottom brood box in tact although stealing some brood frames from it perhaps making sure the queen is not on it. Smoke the bees down to it before you begin.
    Shake the other boxes in front after putting the queen excluder on top of the original bottom box.
    Chances are the queen will stay in that bottom box.

    Looking forward to Michael's clarifications. Tony, how many boxes are the hives made up of?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Lewiston Idaho USA
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    44

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    CaBees, they are all double deeps. The queens in everyone so far have been laying in both deeps. It's amazing.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Hot Springs, Arkansas
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    put one of those double screen boards, instant 2 hives! easy!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Rogers View Post
    CaBees, they are all double deeps. The queens in everyone so far have been laying in both deeps. It's amazing.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,351

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Rogers View Post
    CaBees, they are all double deeps. The queens in everyone so far have been laying in both deeps. It's amazing.
    If you want to isolate the queen split them apart and put a queen excluder between the two. 3 days later go see which one still has eggs in it

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Lewiston Idaho USA
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    44

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    BMAC, this makes sense. I suppose without needing to shake bees one could take a third box and add brood to it and place an excluder between the 1st and 2nd and 2nd and 3rd box and do the same. This way 3-4 days later we'd know which box has the queen and pull the other two to make nucs. It will be interesting to hear Michaels response. He seems to have a great idea as well, if I have understood correctly.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,351

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    If they are as broody as they are full of bees you can probably put foundation on parent and split the one without a queen in half for your 3 hives leaving the parent something to do for build up (hopefully not swarm) and still pull an excellent honey crop.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,108

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Rogers View Post
    It will be interesting to hear Michaels response. He seems to have a great idea as well, if I have understood correctly.
    You have double deeps on pallets. You want to divide the colony in thirds. 10 frames/box?

    Let's say for discussion the colony has 9 frames of brood, 6 frames of honey, and 5 frames of whatever.
    Remove the top box, and the frames from the bottom box.

    Into the bottom box add 3 frames of brood, 2 frames of honey, and 5 frames of whatever...all with bees.

    Remove the frames from the top box, shaking the bees on the landing board...or into the bottom box as you go. Place an excluder on the bottom box, and the empty box on the excluder. Into the top box go the remaining combs...no bees...in the order...

    HBBBHHBBBH

    Cover overnight. Next morning, remove frames from top box, and place into two 5 frame nuc boxes, or singles with additional frames, each getting HBBBH. Carry to a new yard, and give cells or queens. Since the parent has the field force, add an additional hive body.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
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    2,674

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post

    Remove the frames from the top box, shaking the bees on the landing board...or into the bottom box as you go. Place an excluder on the bottom box, and the empty box on the excluder. Into the top box go the remaining combs...no bees...in the order...
    Mike, did you locate teh queen first or do you shake her out as well?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Newark, Ohio
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    112

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    It sounds like he does not to save time. She smells her brood and run right back in with the rest of the mess.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Lewiston Idaho USA
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    44

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    Michael,

    I guess I have that same question. If the queen happens to be in the second box, will she just climb right back in the entrance of the bottom box after having been shaken on the ground? It seems like she would. If so, this is the best way I have heard so far. It can be done extremely quick.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,108

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    The queens will go into the hive. Make a landing board like a piece of plywood leaning against the entrance. Since they're on pallets, maybe do one on each side of the pallet. When they're in, do the other two. Once you get them marching into their entrance, you move on to the next colony.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
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    697

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    The method Michael describes works best. Here's Chads video on the same concept.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3mKPm0MC2w

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,479

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    I will place an empty box over the brood box, to shake the bees into. That way the queen doesnt get shaken out of the hive and the bees will not beard as bad or boil over the box edges
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Jamestown, North Dakota, USA
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    I do basically the same as Ian. My bees come back here after orange honey production and they are at the point (or beyond) of swarming. Hives basically boiling over with bees. I remove both hive bodies and place them on a work table I move around with a forklift (man do I hate to bend over!) with a wooden tray beneath each to catch excess bees so I can dump them back in the hive when I'm done. I smoke the 2 hive bodies and and scrape the top bars. I then put an empty super back on the pallet (lifted to working height on the forklift (yep, that saves my back too), I then go through the original hives. I go through the frames and "make" a new hive in the empty super--I put only 2 frames of brood, honey to the outside with a frame or 2 of pollen next to the honey. Then just empty drawn comb. Once the bottom hive is to my liking, I put an empty super above it and shake bees into it. If I stumble on the queen (I often do), I just put her in the bottom box, rap the empty to dislodge workers and smoke to get them down. Otherwise, I shake all the bees into the empty super I placed on top of the hive I "made". Then an excluder and I then bank the brood above that. OR, you could set up nucs as Michael does and remove the boxes for 10 frame or break them into 5 frame nucs. The day after, I make nucs and move them a hundred to maybe a thousand feet away and let them sit for the day. The old grumpy bees go home and I'm left with nucs full of gentle nurse bees so I get very high acceptance. When I use cells, I move them at least 2 miles so I get better age structure in the nucs. I make the nucs 4 frames of brood strong along with honey/pollen/empty frames for egg laying so they "catch up" to the strength of the original queen very quick. I have a place with 60+ acres of natural fruit bloom going on so not much concern or problems with robbing--they're too busy! I haul to outyards in late in the evening or early morning when it's too cold (<50F) to work bees. When I use cells, I pull the nucs in the early morning and haul 2 miles so I get a mixture of old and nurse bees.

    As they say, it works for me and seems to suit our climate conditions well at that time of year (early May)

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,479

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    good post Chip,
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    longton, kansas USA
    Posts
    583

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    or you can always just all the frames in the second boxes into nucs. possibly 3 nucs worth of frames per brood box. seen it before. u need a second location but its very easy to do and u dont need to find the queen or even care where she is. heres how someone taught while helping in a yard. :

    took off second brood box put it to the side
    removed a single frame of eggs/brood (full),single frame of honey,single frame of pollen/nectar. put all 3 frames in a 5 frame nuc and put empty frames on the ends. shook in quite a few bees. closed them up.
    when all the nucs are done...drive them to the other yard location (a couple miles atleast hopefully. opened them up. if the queen stays at the first yard in the brood box your good. if she goes to the new yard with the nuc...your good. just check all the boxes regularly to take note of where the queen cells are forming,where new eggs are being laid etc. in about a week or soo you should be golden with tons of new colonies.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Jamestown, North Dakota, USA
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Best way to make splits when your hives are full of bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    good post Chip,
    Thanks neighbor!

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