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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Simpsonville, SC, USA
    Posts
    215

    Default Advice for scaling up

    Everywhere I go locally there are businesses who would love to sell my honey. My problem is that I sell out within a week of harvesting. My harvests are usually less than 100 lbs. I had 4 production honey hives this year (12 hives total). The rest are younger 1 or 2 year old hives. I'm torn on how to scale up. For starters I'll ask this:

    Which would yield more production honey hives?
    1) Requeening my non-production hives with production queens to propagate those strong genetics to the rest of my smaller hives?
    2) Or splitting my production honey hives this Fall (they all have 4 boxes of brood area so I could do walk-away splits and probably still have double the number of production hives coming into next Spring)?
    ~12 hives from feral colonies since starting in 2010. All medium Langstroth, narrow frame, foundationless, TF. Zone 8a.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Morrison, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Advice for scaling up

    What about splitting the non-production hives, and requeening the splits?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Granby, MA
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Advice for scaling up

    I don't know if you have watched Michael Palmer's videos but it sounds like your situation is tailor made for what he is talking about.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nznzpiWEI8A

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Simpsonville, SC, USA
    Posts
    215

    Default Re: Advice for scaling up

    Quote Originally Posted by wfournier View Post
    I don't know if you have watched Michael Palmer's videos but it sounds like your situation is tailor made for what he is talking about.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nznzpiWEI8A
    Oh my goodness, I've watched that video in it's entirety probably 8 times. I'm to the point where I want to pause each sentence and transcribe the whole lecture. I still need to really comprehend how to put into practice his system (especially since I have a day job). I'm so thankful for all of Michael Palmer's videos.

    But some system where I'm methodically checkering honey, opening up the brood nest and doing walk-away splits in the fall is what I'd love to do. This year I did all of that except the walk-away splits (yet). I feel like I should do my splits after my fall harvest (if I have one).
    ~12 hives from feral colonies since starting in 2010. All medium Langstroth, narrow frame, foundationless, TF. Zone 8a.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Simpsonville, SC, USA
    Posts
    215

    Default Re: Advice for scaling up

    Quote Originally Posted by maynard View Post
    What about splitting the non-production hives, and requeening the splits?
    I hadn't considered that option. I like it though. That way I'm not splitting my production hives. Everybody always says that splitting a hive cuts it's strength in half. And the common wisdom is that if you split a production hive the 2 resulting hives won't do as well the next year.

    If I split a strong colony with 4 solid boxes of brood in the Fall, and then in the Spring I open up the 2 box brood chambers on each turning each into a 3 brood box colony (after they build it back out over a month or so in early Spring) could I still end up with 2 strong honey producers from the one super strong producer even after a split? Or by splitting a production hive, am I more likely going to end up with 2 colonies next year that spend the whole year in "establishment mode" not really making a surplus of honey?
    ~12 hives from feral colonies since starting in 2010. All medium Langstroth, narrow frame, foundationless, TF. Zone 8a.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    309

    Default Re: Advice for scaling up

    I'm not sure as to building up for production of honey but I wouldn't do a walk away split in the fall. It seems to me that it would be to late in the year to get a good brood cycle before winter. I think if I wanted more honey I'd want more hives. If it was me I'd split them with a mated queen and feed them pollen sub and syrup to get them stocked up for winter.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    725

    Default Re: Advice for scaling up

    Quote Originally Posted by HiveMind View Post
    I hadn't considered that option. I like it though. That way I'm not splitting my production hives. Everybody always says that splitting a hive cuts it's strength in half. And the common wisdom is that if you split a production hive the 2 resulting hives won't do as well the next year.

    If I split a strong colony with 4 solid boxes of brood in the Fall, and then in the Spring I open up the 2 box brood chambers on each turning each into a 3 brood box colony (after they build it back out over a month or so in early Spring) could I still end up with 2 strong honey producers from the one super strong producer even after a split? Or by splitting a production hive, am I more likely going to end up with 2 colonies next year that spend the whole year in "establishment mode" not really making a surplus of honey?
    Split and then feed brood in from your non-production colonies into the split hives to strengthen them more quickly?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    richland center, wisconsin USA
    Posts
    309

    Default Re: Advice for scaling up

    Using nucs to booster your production hives right before the flow then any swarm cells in those production hives use to make more nucs with those cells... Rinse and repeat as needed. Manage those hives proactively
    "Anytime you see someone more successful than you are, they are doing something you aren't."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Kinder, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Advice for scaling up

    If you want the genetics of the production hives, you might consider a "cut down" split. It would keep production high and still give you a chance to propagate the desired genetics. http://bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm#cutdown

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Griffin, GA, USA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: Advice for scaling up

    Quote Originally Posted by Beeonefarms View Post
    Using nucs to booster your production hives right before the flow then any swarm cells in those production hives use to make more nucs with those cells... Rinse and repeat as needed. Manage those hives proactively
    For those of us a little slow on the uptake, do you mean combining a nuc with a hive in early spring to boost numbers? I assume you kill the queen before you do this?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Simpsonville, SC, USA
    Posts
    215

    Default Re: Advice for scaling up

    Quote Originally Posted by Beeonefarms View Post
    Using nucs to booster your production hives right before the flow then any swarm cells in those production hives use to make more nucs with those cells... Rinse and repeat as needed. Manage those hives proactively
    Thanks Beeone, I like this idea. I'll have to mull over it some more in my head though.
    ~12 hives from feral colonies since starting in 2010. All medium Langstroth, narrow frame, foundationless, TF. Zone 8a.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Advice for scaling up

    No just adding frames of brood with or with out nurse bees
    David

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,340

    Default Re: Advice for scaling up

    The main problem with starting another production hive and having it productive the same year is obtaining drawn comb, I would suggest pulling 1 or 2 drawn brood comb from each of your brood boxes among all your hives and use these to start the new hives, then you will be able to fire up 1 or 2 new hives and let the already established hives draw out the 1 or 2 new frames given to them. You could order the new queens mated and ready to lay and supply bees to these new hives by pulling them from among your other hives, if this was all done in early spring I think you could make it work. Another way would be to place already established nucs into these new hives which would require less resources from your established production hives. Just a thought...

    The more hives you have the more new hives you could start this way each new year......
    Last edited by WWW; 07-10-2014 at 03:56 AM.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio Zone 6A

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