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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Dublin, California
    Posts
    197

    Default Splitting a 5 frame nuc

    I went into one of my two hive yesterday because it has been insanely active the last month. It's a 2 deep 10 frame super and it is packed with bees.. I did a checker board last month and moved the outside frames in and they have now filled those... I added 1 shallow with 1/2 the frames with drawn comb for them to work on....

    My question is I don't want them to swarm to I am goin to break a nuc off this hive so what is the correct process... 1 frame of eggs or is it uncapped broad? 1 of pollen , 2 honey and 1 empty? I want them to create their own queen so I can either sell or move to another empty hive I have...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Ash Grove MO. USA.
    Posts
    535

    Default Re: Splitting a 5 frame nuc

    It requires a lot of young bees to build a good queen. When building a queen in a nuc I won't use less than four and preferably five frames. At least one of the frames has to have eggs or larva less than three days old.

    The best way to do it is find the frame your queen is on. Place her in the nuc along with a frame of emerging brood and a frame of honey/ pollen. She will build up pretty quick. The strong hive will build a new queen and gather a good honey crop since they can put more workers in the field that are not having to attend to brood.

    This is how I prevent swarms. The old queen feels she has swarmed and the hive has a new young queen and generally won't swarm this year.

    If by chance she doesn't make it back from her mating flights you can combine the old queen back in.

    I do this with any hive that has a queen over one year old.

    I will NOT do this until the blackberries bloom no matter what the calendar or the thermometer says. I've built several earlier and all failed before fall.

    P.s. you must make sure the big hive has eggs also but if it's strong enough to split it will have.
    Woody

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,084

    Default Re: Splitting a 5 frame nuc

    I usually do walk away splits and let them raise a new queen. My minimum size to split a hive for the purpose of making increase is 32 medium frames of bees brood and honey or 20 deep frames of bees brood and honey. That means each split gets 10 deep frames or 16 medium frames. Less will just not have the critical mass to build up quickly and the size to feed and raise a good quality queen.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Dublin, California
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Splitting a 5 frame nuc

    The strong hive has already started honey flow so I don't want to take 1/2 the frames away and slow them down I just want to keep them from swarming... I went with 4 frames is that enough? 3 were full of eggs and broad and one of honey... I gave them to sugar blocks too... I think I got the queen because a line of bees were walking into the nuc after I moved the frames over...I didnt see here though....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Splitting a 5 frame nuc

    Okay, please tell me if this will work:

    Yesterday I split a strong hive by taking 3 frames of brood and eggs and 2 of honey and pollen and put them in a 5 frame nuc right next to the strong hive. I waited until today to be sure I didn't have the queen in the nuc, then moved the big hive 20 feet away.

    My hope is that field bees will return to the old site and pack the nuc, so that the new queen there will be well raised.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Ash Grove MO. USA.
    Posts
    535

    Default Re: Splitting a 5 frame nuc

    If you got the queen in the nuc your chance of success is very high. I've got some good queens from four frames of bees. I don't believe I've ever gotten a good one from three frames though.

    Mine built queens that started laying but kinda petered out in a couple months as a general rule.
    I believe the feed they get while their in the cell is extremely important but all I have to go on is my own experience.
    Woody

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,084

    Default Re: Splitting a 5 frame nuc

    Lots of things will work. I make two frame nucs all the time, but I'm not trying to make increase or even stop swarming, I'm setting up mating nucs. Some of those grow into a decent size by fall. Most don't.

    >Yesterday I split a strong hive by taking 3 frames of brood and eggs and 2 of honey and pollen and put them in a 5 frame nuc right next to the strong hive. I waited until today to be sure I didn't have the queen in the nuc, then moved the big hive 20 feet away.

    So the nuc is at the old location. It should have plenty of bees. Are they in a ten frame box? I'd keep an eye on them and see if there is enough room for all the bees.

    >My hope is that field bees will return to the old site and pack the nuc, so that the new queen there will be well raised.

    It should work.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Splitting a 5 frame nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post

    So the nuc is at the old location. It should have plenty of bees. Are they in a ten frame box? I'd keep an eye on them and see if there is enough room for all the bees.

    >My hope is that field bees will return to the old site and pack the nuc, so that the new queen there will be well raised.

    It should work.
    No, they're in a 5 frame nuc box, but I can add another box to it if they get overcrowded. I did this partly because the colony was so full of bees that I feared it was a swarm candidate. I've already lost one swarm from a different hive, I think. But there were no swarm cells in the big hive yet. A fair amount of capped drone comb, though.

    This is one of the nucs I hope to take to northern NY later in the spring.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Splitting a 5 frame nuc

    Quick update: it did work, almost too well. The nuc box I left in the site of the original hive is now jampacked with bees. Then I got worried that maybe I had removed the queen to that box, so I checked the original hive today for queen cells, and there were none, so I assume she's still with the original hive. The original hive had three 5 frame boxes on it, but they lost enough of their field force that they don't need all three, and the top one was almost empty, so I stacked it on the new hive.

    I'm going to wait 10 days from the split before I disturb the new nuc, and if I have good cells on more than one frame, I'll make additional splits.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Splitting a 5 frame nuc

    Another update:

    It worked very well. I opened the queenless overpopulated nuc today-- nine days after making them queenless, instead of ten, as weather tomorrow is iffy. I had nice big queen cells on two frames, probably 7 or 8 in all. If I'd had the resources, I could have made a bunch of nucs, but I didn't want to take too many frames from my three big hives, which are starting their build-up, so I contented myself with one additional split.

    It's very interesting when things work out exactly as you've been told they will, both negative and positive. I have big beautiful queen cells, just as I'd hoped... very positive! I forgot to freeze a couple of combs, and the wax moths ate them up... very negative. But it's still fascinating to see that this bee stuff works just the way it's supposed to.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,062

    Default Re: Splitting a 5 frame nuc

    That's great. There is always a chance that something can go wrong, but once you have the positive experience of it working it's easier to be confident enough to play the odds.

    BTW - that split is a bit unconventional, but I can see the merits of it. You could go ahead and move the big part away right off the bat though, because worse case is the queen doesn't get built in the hive you intended - but should still be a good queen.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Splitting a 5 frame nuc

    rhaldrige,

    That sounds great! If you want to keep messing with them, go in and leave only 2 of the biggest/best cells in each nuc. In this way you won't have a swarm due to the crowded space.

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