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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    768

    Default How chancy is a walk away split w/queen? (thinking about next spring)

    I have 2 hives. I want to expand to 4 hives next summer, by doing splits, assuming both hives come out of winter okay.

    May/June is probably the best time to split. If I take a frame of brood (w/nurse bees), a frame of honey, and stick a queen in a medium super (w/built up comb), how likely is that to succeed?

    I'd probably have to buy southern Italian queens, altho I'd really rather a northern Russian (for my area), but my last Russian queen wasn't ready until July. I don't want to wait that long.

    If you're doing a split with a new queen, do you have to slowly introduce her like with a new package?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    447

    Default Re: How chancy is a walk away split w/queen? (thinking about next spring)

    Quote Originally Posted by NewbeeInNH View Post
    I have 2 hives. I want to expand to 4 hives next summer, by doing splits, assuming both hives come out of winter okay.

    May/June is probably the best time to split. If I take a frame of brood (w/nurse bees), a frame of honey, and stick a queen in a medium super (w/built up comb), how likely is that to succeed?
    That's kind of light. If you use three times as much brood and there is a flow on you will have better luck because they will build up faster.

    Quote Originally Posted by NewbeeInNH View Post
    I'd probably have to buy southern Italian queens, altho I'd really rather a northern Russian (for my area), but my last Russian queen wasn't ready until July. I don't want to wait that long.
    What if you let them raise their own queen? You could let them get crowded to the point that they build some swarm cells. Then make splits with the swarm cells. Take the queen out of the original hive with a split and leave a couple nice looking cells back in the original box. Don't leave too many swarm cells or you may end up with swarms anyway with the virgin queens. Two should work fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by NewbeeInNH View Post
    If you're doing a split with a new queen, do you have to slowly introduce her like with a new package?
    Mated queens are usually introduced "slowly" using a queen cage with candy that the bees will eat, releasing the queen.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hartford, CT
    Posts
    607

    Default Re: How chancy is a walk away split w/queen? (thinking about next spring)

    This is my 2nd year and my 2 from last year ended up in 5 new ones this year for a total of 7. 2 of which where swarms from the original 2 hives. You should buy Northern queens, I got 2 Carns from BetterBees in upstate NY and their great!!! Carns are good for fast summer buildup in New England.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,948

    Default Re: How chancy is a walk away split w/queen? (thinking about next spring)

    You up the chances of walk aways working if you place queen cells in them when you make them up. Where do you get queen cells? The most obvious source is any swarm cells that get drawn in your overwintered hives. Then splitting is a form of swarm management - you get to decide how important is having large colonies (population) to make honey and if that trumps making spring splits.

    I encourage you to look localy for mated queens. There are some very good producers in Vermont (that I know of) and there are probably some good ones in New Hampshire that I haven't heard of yet!

    Walk aways are chancy - sometimes you give them a frame of brood three weeks running and for whatever reason they won't make a queen. Rather than doing true walk aways I would purchase mated queens if only to up your odds of developing successful splits. But I don't know your reasons for being a beekeeper. Having bees with at least some local genes may be important to you.

    Good luck!
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,578

    Default Re: How chancy is a walk away split w/queen? (thinking about next spring)

    Make your own queens. Swarm cells can be tough to catch. True walk away splits (emergency splits) can be risky if you don't supply enough bees, pollen and open nectar. Also if the split moved away is queenless all of foragers will return the queenright hive lowering the population. If they do make queen cells they may be of low quality, malnourished queens.

    This year I made a booming hive queenless just after the harvesting the mainflow in early June. I split out the queen with a few frames of brood, pollen etc. The original now queenless hive made about 20 nice queen cells. Once capped I split those out into 2 more hives. The splits were put on empty drawn comb with a few extra doner frames of pollen and honey from another hive so they are building up nicely. 1 into 4. We also had really good weather with well timed rain. All of the queens are really nice plump black beauties, one more carnolian looking.

    If you find they don't make a queen, buy a queen or reunite the old queen with queenless colony. Not much lost. At the very lease you will learn alot about bees during this time.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    768

    Default Re: How chancy is a walk away split w/queen? (thinking about next spring)

    The 2 into 7 and 1 into 4 stories are encouraging. The reason I was thinking of just buying queens instead of using swarm/queen cells is because our season is so short up here in NH, and can be iffy. But if I do have any swarm cells in the spring, I'll use those.

    Making queens would be another fun thing to get into.

    Putting lots of new hardware on the Christmas list...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    768

    Default Re: How chancy is a walk away split w/queen? (thinking about next spring)

    *oops, duplicate post*

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