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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Menlo Park, CA, USA
    Posts
    76

    Default To early for even split? And never done it before :)

    Spring has started in North Cal, Bay Area and I'm thinking to split my two hives.
    I use all mediums and each hive has two mediums of brood. Both hives also have drones and I know of 3 feral hives close by who should have drones already as well.

    I'm thinking to simply split the mediums and walk away. Maybe switch postions after a week to take advantage of drifting and even out the hives.

    Question: do I feed, after the split, the hive with the queen for a week or two and what about the hive without the queen. Any advantage feeding a queenless hive?
    Also am I to aggressive splitting so early in the session?

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,252

    Default Re: To early for even split? And never done it before :)

    Why not wait till you see them making queen cells? Although the weather has been beyond fabulous lately your stab at mating weather in a few weeks is a little on the imprudent side statistically.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    790

    Default Re: To early for even split? And never done it before :)

    'split the mediums and walk away', as in, separate the two boxes, and place two on new bottom boards? No. You need to be more methodical. The new split must contain at least one frame with eggs (take the nurse bees with it/them), a frame of honey, and a frame of emerging worker brood (with nurse bees). I would take resources from both hives to start a 3rd colony, as opposed to trying to make 4. Two mediums of brood isn't huge. Certainly 'split-able', but I wouldn't try to make even splits, but that is just my take. I would take 3 frames from each hive, and start the new colony with 6. Again, that's just me.

    As far as it being too early, only you, and people in your immediate area can make that call. I have done splits in December (not this year though). As long as you have drones, a flow, and good weather, you should be good to go. Our geographic conditions are unique. You, and the others in your area, know best.

    No need to feed as long as you give them provisions specified above. Try to stay out of the split for 4-5 weeks! Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Greenbrae, CA, USA
    Posts
    325

    Default Re: To early for even split? And never done it before :)

    Same question was asked in the Marin Beekeepers email forum and the consensus from the most experienced keepers was that it's likely too early. Some drones doesn't necessarily mean a LOT of drones - note the queen needs to mate with a dozen or more during her mating flight. A bit of cold weather in Feb when she's ready to mate and you could easily have a failed or poorly mated queen. As mentioned earlier, queen cells are a sure indication that the bees are ready. Otherwise prob best to wait till March.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    790

    Default Re: To early for even split? And never done it before :)

    Take the advice of your Cali keepers! They know your area...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,684

    Default Re: To early for even split? And never done it before :)

    If you can buy a mated queen go ahead and feed heavily. I wouldn't trust a walk away until March although it is warmer than normal this year, we are going to have some weather coming in for a bit it seems which will not be great for mating, and even then, it's not so warm outside.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Knox County, Indiana
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: To early for even split? And never done it before :)

    So how warm is it in your areas? Suppose to be -40 here tomorrow with windchill.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,062

    Default Re: To early for even split? And never done it before :)

    I would feed the hive before the split and while the queen is uncapped rather than after.

    I have had packages supercede sucessfully when it never hit 50 using the drones that came in the packages (my asumption).
    .
    Still, you would be farther ahead to pump up the hives in preparation for the split than splitting early. If they are getting going too fast for the year all by themselves adding a body and frames under the existing is safer than above if the weather changes, in the end weather tends to work out to nearer average than stay at extremes.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Greenbrae, CA, USA
    Posts
    325

    Default Re: To early for even split? And never done it before :)

    Quote Originally Posted by beeditch View Post
    So how warm is it in your areas? Suppose to be -40 here tomorrow with windchill.
    It's 70 today. Virtually no rain in either December or January, some expected on Thursday.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Dublin, California
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: To early for even split? And never done it before :)

    Quote Originally Posted by radu43 View Post
    Spring has started in North Cal, Bay Area and I'm thinking to split my two hives.
    I use all mediums and each hive has two mediums of brood. Both hives also have drones and I know of 3 feral hives close by who should have drones already as well.

    I'm thinking to simply split the mediums and walk away. Maybe switch postions after a week to take advantage of drifting and even out the hives.

    Question: do I feed, after the split, the hive with the queen for a week or two and what about the hive without the queen. Any advantage feeding a queenless hive?
    Also am I to aggressive splitting so early in the session?

    Thank you
    Let me know what you do I have a hive in Dublin, ca and my main hive is in Cupertino and we are planning a split too... The weather has been great and the hive is stuffed with bees and eggs, honey.... Our setup is Cupertine is 2 deeps and we plan on doing a straight split of the two deep with a new two dep hive we just built.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,620

    Default Re: To early for even split? And never done it before :)

    Judging by our weather here today I could easily make splits. But, here's where the problem comes in the weather in three weeks when the queens will be mating will be a crap shoot. It could be great mating weather or it maybe terrible. That's always the problem with early splits. If you don't mind taking the gamble go for it. Like they say you will either be a hero or a zero. If you wait for a couple more weeks as Honey4all mentions that should put your queens mating around the first of March the chance of having good weather then is a lot better than what it maybe like the middle of Feb.

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