Side-By-Side Split Questions? Is this correct?
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  1. #1
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    Post Side-By-Side Split Questions? Is this correct?

    So I did my first inspection two days ago and even though we've had a rough winter here in North Carolina, my colony of bees fared extremely well. I took the top deep off the bottom deep and found two full frames of honey left, and the queen is already laying because I found larvae in various stages of development. They're already bringing in plenty of pollen. And both boxes were loaded with bees who were relatively laid back during the inspection.

    No swarm cells were anywhere to be found. But before they get the urge to swarm, I want to do a side-by-side split. I don't want the split to raise their own queen, I want to introduce a new mated Minnesota Hygienic in this split. The hives will sit next door to each other in the same metal stand -- so I want to make sure I'm doing this right.

    #1. Take the two hive bodies apart (with the 20 frames).

    #2. Divide the honey frames and frames with capped brood and nurse bees and dispense evenly among the two deeps.

    #3. Take the frame holding the old queen (one year old) and put her in the newer hive (which will sit next to the current hive). This is also what is called a simulated swarm.

    #4. Introduce the new mated queen in the current hive location -- and after several days -- after coming out of her cage -- she should be introduced into the hive and hopefully accepted. The remaining bees and new emerging bees should accept the new queen as their own.

    #5. Feed syrup to help both colonies, old and new, start production.

    I am asking some of you more experience beeks that's done this type of split to comment. I've been told this is the correct way to do it but I just want to get more feedback.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by NC-Bee-Dude; 03-12-2010 at 08:36 PM.
    "When you see a honey bee in your yard, thank a beekeeper!"

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Side-By-Side Split Questions? Is this correct?

    I think if I were in your shoes I'd just manage the bees to try to prevent swarming through April and harvest a little honey.
    then, when there is some flow left and queens are easier to obtain, do your split
    just my thoughts

    Dave

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Side-By-Side Split Questions? Is this correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by drobbins View Post
    I think if I were in your shoes I'd just manage the bees to try to prevent swarming through April and harvest a little honey.
    then, when there is some flow left and queens are easier to obtain, do your split. just my thoughts. Dave
    I appreciate the advice, Dave. But for now I'm just trying to find out if the side-by-side split scenario I mentioned above is right. I'm really not interested in harvesting any honey right now, I just want to make sure I get a decent split out of this one strong hive I have going. My intent has been to split it, I just want to beat them to the draw if possible.
    "When you see a honey bee in your yard, thank a beekeeper!"

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Side-By-Side Split Questions? Is this correct?

    I have made splits like you're planning, just as soon as I could get a new queen. As early in the season as possible. Have to do swarm prevention before she arrives though. I run two deeps as a brood nest, so I feed heavily to get them into the second deep. Generally I'm able to harvest a little honey off them, after leaving enough for their winter stores of course.
    Good luck!
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Side-By-Side Split Questions? Is this correct?

    if all you want is a split then yes, your approach is fine
    try to split the resources equally
    make sure you know which box has the queen
    put purchased queen in other box
    good to go

    where you gonna get a queen this early?

    Dave

    [edit] let me add this
    often when people make a split and let it raise it's own queen, they leave it in the original location so it gets the field bees
    in your situation it's not that important, you're buying a queen so both hives are queenright
    just split the resources evenly

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Side-By-Side Split Questions? Is this correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by drobbins View Post
    where you gonna get a queen this early?
    Thanks, Dave.

    I called Jack Tapp at Busy Bee in Chapel Hill today but it was late and they were gone for the day. As soon as he or Betsy let me know they have queens ready, I plan to go ahead and make the split.

    If I'm not mistaken, they usually have some ready sometime this month or in April. I got my last queen from Jack and she's a laying machine.
    Last edited by NC-Bee-Dude; 03-12-2010 at 10:15 PM.
    "When you see a honey bee in your yard, thank a beekeeper!"

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Side-By-Side Split Questions? Is this correct?

    I would make a change to your plan. I would introduce the new queen to the new location to the side, not to the old location. The reason is she'll be more easily accepted with mostly younger bees in the hive, instead of most of the older field force, which will be going mostly to the old original location.

    For this same reason, I'd leave the younger open larva in the older position and leave mostly sealed pupa in the new location, to help the new queen lay more and quicker to help equalize out the strength of the two hives as time goes bye after the split.

    Also give the new location hive a frame or so more honey stores than the old location, as they won't have as large of field bee force bringing in stores.
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  9. #8
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    Default Re: Side-By-Side Split Questions? Is this correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    I would make a change to your plan. I would introduce the new queen to the new location to the side, not to the old location. The reason is she'll be more easily accepted with mostly younger bees in the hive, instead of most of the older field force, which will be going mostly to the old original location.

    For this same reason, I'd leave the younger open larva in the older position and leave mostly sealed pupa in the new location, to help the new queen lay more and quicker to help equalize out the strength of the two hives as time goes bye after the split.

    Also give the new location hive a frame or so more honey stores than the old location, as they won't have as large of field bee force bringing in stores.
    Ray: Much of what you've said makes sense to me. Sounds like good ideas to me.

    But I have a question. After I make the split, and introduce the new queen to the new hive, and put pupa and honey frames there...will that eliminate the old hive's possible urge to swarm? I would think that with them being back down to one brood chamber, it would. Then once things settle down, I can put new deeps on top and feed so they can start drawing new comb.

    Does that all make sense?
    "When you see a honey bee in your yard, thank a beekeeper!"

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Side-By-Side Split Questions? Is this correct?

    Yes, and depending on the strength of the hive when you split, you could add a brood box or couple supers to each as you make the split. Try to time the split at the beginning of a local nectar flow if you can, both hives will build up with it that way.
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  11. #10
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    Default Re: Side-By-Side Split Questions? Is this correct?

    I highly concur with what Ray said about introducing the new queen to the younger bees and leaving the old queen at the old location. I once tried to get new queens accepted by established nucs, but the older field bees were making that nearly impossible, once I moved the established nucs to new locations, leaving the foragers to return to nucs with queen cells instead of virgin or mated queens just before introducing the new queens, my success went up dramatically.
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  12. #11
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    Default Re: Side-By-Side Split Questions? Is this correct?

    what is plan b if you cant get that queen the first of april

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Side-By-Side Split Questions? Is this correct?

    I think you need to think in terms of when the bees are strong enough to split and build up quickly, instead of when the calendar is at a certain date, or when you can buy a queen...

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm#earlysplit
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Side-By-Side Split Questions? Is this correct?

    Ditto on Ray too. The original location will naturally be much larger than the new location for weeks with the greater quantity of older field bees who might tend to give an introduced queen a harder time.
    I don't think you'll see hardly any pollen/nectar collection going on in the new location for couple weeks so plan accordingly, reduce the entrance to help protect the stores.
    Fred

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Side-By-Side Split Questions? Is this correct?

    one thing you can do when you make the split is devide it in such away that most of the brood is in the top box and then put a queen excluder on and put the top box back on. A majority of nurse bees will move up to take care of the brood. After a sufficiant time remove the top box and set where you choose to set it up your new hive will have mostly nurse bees and they have not been outside yet so they will not go back to the old hive since they do not know where it is. Introduce your queen which most times will be excepted better buy the nurse bees. The old hive should regenerate fairly quickly since the queen there is still laying. I do this and and almost never move the new hive more than a few feet and it has worked really well.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Side-By-Side Split Questions? Is this correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I think you need to think in terms of when the bees are strong enough to split and build up quickly, instead of when the calendar is at a certain date, or when you can buy a queen...
    Thanks, Michael. I know what you're saying, but I haven't sat down and said, "Okay, I must do this or that" by certain dates on a calendar. This colony I have now is going like gangbusters, and what I'm trying to do here is split it before they swarm. My novice observations indicate that there's a good amount of bees there now, enough for a nice split. They're already bringing in pollen, and once they start bring in nectar...at the rate she the queen is laying with brood already present, they're going to get the itch to swarm.

    I've had great success with the queen breeder I use here, and prefer to use his stock again, and that's why I said I could buy from him in a few weeks or even into April. Until I can buy his product, I'll keep a close check on this colony to make sure they're on task and hopefully not packing their bags for new digs.

    I hope that makes sense.
    "When you see a honey bee in your yard, thank a beekeeper!"

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Side-By-Side Split Questions? Is this correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by trapperbob View Post
    one thing you can do when you make the split is devide it in such away that most of the brood is in the top box and then put a queen excluder on and put the top box back on. A majority of nurse bees will move up to take care of the brood. After a sufficiant time remove the top box and set where you choose to set it up your new hive will have mostly nurse bees and they have not been outside yet so they will not go back to the old hive since they do not know where it is. Introduce your queen which most times will be excepted better buy the nurse bees. The old hive should regenerate fairly quickly since the queen there is still laying. I do this and and almost never move the new hive more than a few feet and it has worked really well.
    Thanks, TrapperBob!
    "When you see a honey bee in your yard, thank a beekeeper!"

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