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Thread: split question

  1. #1
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    Default split question

    This is my first year bee keeping and I only have 1 hive(bee watcher?) I keep reading about splits...My hive has 3 deeps. I just added the 3rd about 4 days ago. Do I need to split my hive? Should it be done in the spring? I have a goal of 4 hives next year with 1 being a split (assuming they survive the winter) and the others being purchased nucs. If I split now will it be harder for the bees to make it through winter?
    Thanks for any ideas , experience or opinions!
    Wendy

  2. #2
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    Default Re: split question

    I don't have as much experience as a lot of others here, but I would say, it is getting pretty late to do splits. If you do decide to split them, be prepared to feed them plenty of sugar water.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: split question

    I would really rather wait till spring but Im just unsure of when the best time is to do it.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: split question

    unless you purchase a laying queen to give to your split i think it is pretty late in the season to expect them to make a new queen on their own and build up overwintering strength.

    spring will be much better for the bees and will help with swarm prevention too.

    keep them strong, get them through winter, and consider a 'cut down split' as described here:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #5
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    Default Re: split question

    In my opinion every beekeeper should always have a nuc in the works. If you need a queen pronto you have one. You can rob capped brood to boost other hives or let them grow into a full size colony. This will happen a lot faster than you might think.
    In MO. I have no qualms starting a nuc around the first of Aug and letting them raise their own queen.
    Some of the queens won't make it back from their mating flights. I give them 30 days and if there's no eggs I start over with a frame of eggs/ open brood and a frame of capped brood because the bees in the original nuc won't live until the new queen has hatching brood.
    If it gets too late in the year I combine them with another hive.
    I recently had 6 hives with queens between hatching and laying. Two made it back, two didn't and two have another week before I give up on them.
    There's lots of info on starting nuc out there.

    Walter Kelley said the earliest you should split was when the blackberries bloom where you live. I've found this to be good advice.
    Last year they bloomed here early in may. I made two splits this year at that time. But they didn't bloom here this year for another three weeks. Both queens made it back and started laying although not very good. One became a drone layer and the other was superseded.
    I personally will never split again until the blackberries bloom no matter what the calendar says.

    I've never had any luck with two frame splits. Four or five frames of bees will build you a good queen.
    I personally prefer queens born after the summer solstice although I don't think that's the general line of thought, just my expierence.
    Last edited by Wolfer; 07-13-2013 at 07:13 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: split question

    good read squarepeg! Thanks...

  7. #7
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    Default Re: split question

    wolfer,

    i agree with your point about keeping nucs to draw resources from to boost or requeen other hives.

    i disagree with letting a nuc raise it's own queen though, especially after the main flow is over. i tried that a few times and the emergency queens the little nucs came up with were not as good on average and tended to fail more.

    that's one of the things i like about the cut down split. the strong parent colony makes the new queen instead of a weak split. doing it just prior to swarm season and main flow has the other advantages as well.

    since the op only has one hive, i think he has less risk by waiting until spring. having said that, i just finished making up 15 nucs for overwintering, but i used mated queens from caught swarms and some grafted ones raised in a strong cell builder.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #8
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    Default Re: split question

    Square peg
    I've only bought one queen in my life and I wasnt very happy with her so you could say I don't have much expierence there.
    However I've had good luck with my homegrown queens as long as I put enough resources/ bees with them. I've made many weak nucs and not one survived to see winter much less spring.
    I too have had good luck putting the queen in the nuc and letting the hive raise the new one.
    This nuc doesn't need as many frames since they don't have to raise a queen. However she will need enough to cover her brood or she will build up pretty slow. I give these three frames.
    This approach will usually keep them from swarming as long as they don't backfill the broodnest and you give them plenty of room.
    The only problem I have with this approach is a couple times I had queens not make it back or fail for some reason and the hive can get pretty weak before I can get it queen right again.
    Lots of ways to do it, I guess I've tried most if not all. I've come to the conclusion that most times they all work but sometimes they all fail.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: split question

    Quote Originally Posted by wengeasley View Post
    good read squarepeg! Thanks...
    sure thing, welcome to beesource.

    there's a whole lot of good stuff on mike bush's website.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #10
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    Default Re: split question

    same here wolfer, i like the queen and three frames for splits. i too have the most trouble losing queens during mating, predatory birds?

    this was my first attempt at grafting, and it was late in the season by the time i got ready to do it. the cells looked pretty good, and all of the six that i used emerged. they are now mating, so i'm sweatin' bullets and got my fingers crossed.

    if they head colonies anything like their queen mother i'll be stoked!
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  11. #11
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    Default Re: split question

    We had a summer Tanager nesting in the front yard while I'm waiting on queens. I've been nervous for two weeks. I keep telling the little woman I'm going to shoot it when she's not here but she knows I won't.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: split question

    Well, I just did a split today.

    I had plans for this Spring of increasing my hives with lots of swarms. I got 0 calls for swarms, and since I only had 1 hive in the Spring, I had split it. 2 hives is better than one, but I'd like to have a bit more insurance for the winter, so i got into my one hive today and made a split. Not sure how it is going to go, - lots of bees in the hive, but they didn't seem to have much brood. I picked out 4 frames that seemed like good frames to start a split with (I couldn't find the queen), moved the old hive off the stand - put the new split on the old stand and will hope for the best. I have lots of honey - so won't have to feed them. And I figure that I should have a new queen around the 1st of August, so that gives her 2 - 3 months of laying before shutting down for winter. And if the split doesn't "take", I can always combine them.

    Within the next week, I'm hoping to get the other hive split as well. A local beekeeper may have some queen cells for me.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: split question

    Wolfer i dont feel like im brave enough or have enough experience to make nucs yet...LOL

  14. #14
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    Default Re: split question

    Quote Originally Posted by Northwest PA Beekeeper View Post
    Well, I just did a split today....

    I figure that I should have a new queen around the 1st of August, so that gives her 2 - 3 months of laying before shutting down for winter. And if the split doesn't "take", I can always combine them.
    if you did your split yesterday and the queenless split is successful, it will be mid August before the new queen will be laying and early to mid september before any new brood emerges.

    putting cells in will save you a couple of weeks on the timeline, and you might have a better quality queen if they were raised in a strong cell builder vs. a weak split.

    but a lot of the fun is in the experimenting and trying things, and it's also rewarding when you do it on your own and don't have to rely on a supplier.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  15. #15
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    Default Re: split question

    Quote Originally Posted by wengeasley View Post
    Wolfer i dont feel like im brave enough or have enough experience to make nucs yet...LOL
    It's pretty easy. There's a lot of good info on Michael Bush's web site. In the spring when the blackberries bloom just take 4 or 5 frames and put them in a 5 or 6 frame box. Make sure one of the frames has eggs. If you make sure the main hive has a frame with eggs then it doesn't matter where the queen ends up. If I'm not sure where the queen is I'll check for eggs in a week so I know where she is. Whichever is building the queen I try to stay out of for 30 days at which time I'll have eggs/larva or I combine them back and start over.
    It ain't rocket science but it is a lot of fun!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: split question

    Wolfer Ill be brave in the spring!

  17. #17
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    Default Re: split question

    You go girl!

  18. #18
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    Default Re: split question


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