Splitting and not moving new hive
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  1. #1
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    May 2011
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    Default Splitting and not moving new hive

    I want to start a discussion and see what others think about this.
    I've read about a beekeeper in CO, who splits her hives, does not add a new queen to the new hive, and does not move the new hive away. She does wait until the queen cells are capped and then divides the hive into two. Again does not add a new queen, but lets the split raise their own. All she does it put top hive feeders on both hives. She claims she does not need to move them apart because the house bees will remain with the frames and do not return back to the original hive. The foragers will, and that is why it is important to put the hive feeder up so the workers can find food. Oh and a protein patty needs to be added too.
    I have learned you split and move the split away. So what do you guys think? Will it work?
    Klamath Basin Beekeepers Association: www.klamathbeekeepers.org
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  3. #2
    Join Date
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    Exeter, WI
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    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    I'm pretty new and haven't done any splits, but I can repeat what I've read:

    I think it works fine to do a split and not move it to a new location. As you said, though, the foragers will go back to the original hive, so you have to give an extra shake of bees into the split so that there are enough house bees to stay with the hive. I think feeding is good too, if it doesn't spark robbing.

    Take a look here: http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm in the FAQ about "How Far?"

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    It works doing splits into a nuc with brood frames, queen cells and nurse bees attached without moving them away to another yard so I don't see why that wouldn't work just splitting a hive in half making sure all the queen cells go together in one box with mostly nurse bees and then feed both splits.

    I'm going to do it this spring along with making up nucs and see what happens. The problem I have here in SF is that it's so foggy it's really not the ideal mating weather so I've been using mated queens for a faster build up but I don't like paying for them when the bees can make there own.
    My opinions are based on a decade of beekeeping, book learning and watching YouTube videos.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    I didn't pick up beekeeping until I moved to the US. I remember visiting a beekeeper in Germany a long while ago, and I'm pretty sure that he put the splits right next to the old hives. Next you go to your beekeeper's meeting they all insist on moving at least a mile. How many hobby beekeeper can do that? I mean you have to find a spot. After hearing all that you sit down, you start to think, and you remember reading an article from someone who does exactly the same thing. I will be splitting my hives this year by putting the new one right next to the old one. What do I have to loose? A swarm or a split? You take your chances either way. I do not plan on buying a queen either, I want them to raise their own.
    Klamath Basin Beekeepers Association: www.klamathbeekeepers.org
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  6. #5
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    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie B View Post
    It works doing splits into a nuc with brood frames, queen cells and nurse bees attached without moving them away to another yard so I don't see why that wouldn't work just splitting a hive in half making sure all the queen cells go together in one box with mostly nurse bees and then feed both splits.

    I'm going to do it this spring along with making up nucs and see what happens. The problem I have here in SF is that it's so foggy it's really not the ideal mating weather so I've been using mated queens for a faster build up but I don't like paying for them when the bees can make there own.
    Hi, nice to hear from someone from San Francisco. Our club's president Tom Chester used to be in the San Francisco club before he moved up here.
    Last edited by Katharina; 01-29-2012 at 11:20 AM.
    Klamath Basin Beekeepers Association: www.klamathbeekeepers.org
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  7. #6
    dr.buzz Guest

    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    The best thing to do would be to click on the link TOADMAN gave you to Mr. Bush's site. These types of splits are common, I do them all the time. Not only do you not need to move anything a mile away, but I prefer to take, for example, and double deep configuration, and set the top box down next to the bottom box, as close as possible. They usually are touching. I don't look for the queen, I just make sure both boxes have open brood and half of whatever honey/pollen was stored. They'll figure out the rest. Instead of finding the queen and giving an extra shake of bees to the other box, it's also normal to switch positions, so the box on the left is switched with the one on the right. You can always do this with any two hives, if one is weak, swap it with a strong one, even if for only a few days, then swap back, if you want. The returning foragers will go (and be welcomed) into any box that is where their old box was.

    How many times, and how soon, you can re-split the split really just depends on whether there are enough bees to produce good queen cells and protect the hive, cover the brood, etc...Most folks will tell you that the stronger hives will produce better emergency queens than the smaller, weaker ones.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    Quote Originally Posted by dr.buzz View Post
    the stronger hives will produce better emergency queens than the smaller, weaker ones.
    Good point. I've got to start paying more attention to which hives I'm choosing to split instead of which hives are more convenient to split due to which yard they're in, etc.
    My opinions are based on a decade of beekeeping, book learning and watching YouTube videos.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Katharina View Post
    Hi, nice to hear from someone from San Francisco. Our club's president Tom Chester used to be in the San Francisco club before he moved up here.
    I have heard the name from our president Philip Gerrie. Say hi to him for us!
    My opinions are based on a decade of beekeeping, book learning and watching YouTube videos.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    I made a split/nuc last summer. I took four bars out of my top bar hive. One with eggs and small larvae. One with mostly
    capped brood, and one with mixed brood with alot of pollen, and a full comb of honey with adhering bees. They raised their
    own really nice looking queen. The books tell you the OPTIMUM way to do things, that will bring the best results under
    several conditions. It doesn't mean other ways won't work, just that they're not the best ways to do it. Oh, also this nuc
    was set up about 2 feet from the parent hive.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    There is also a paragraph on MB's site "splits" that says you face the two hives at each other so the foragers have to make a choice. So essentially you are moving both halves of the parent hive. It makes sense that the half with the queen is bound to end up with more foragers so you switch sides to even them out.

    This may sound like a dumb question but how do you judge which hive has more foragers? In the spring is seems like most of the bees are small and it is not until late summer until the size of the foragers get bigger than the nurse bees.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    ... how do you judge which hive has more foragers?
    Estimate how many bees per minute are leaving the hive to forage.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    Hi, Ace
    This shows what I know. I didn't notice a size differance between worker bees. I've seen newly emerged bees that seem
    smaller, and lighter colored and fuzzy. Then I thought I saw older workers that were almost bald and dark. I didn't know they
    changed sizes.

  14. #13
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    Keokuk, Iowa
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    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    I have made splits side by side, just faceing the split in the opposite direction.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    There is also a paragraph on MB's site "splits" that says you face the two hives at each other so the foragers have to make a choice. So essentially you are moving both halves of the parent hive. It makes sense that the half with the queen is bound to end up with more foragers so you switch sides to even them out.

    This may sound like a dumb question but how do you judge which hive has more foragers? In the spring is seems like most of the bees are small and it is not until late summer until the size of the foragers get bigger than the nurse bees.
    What!!!


    Tommyt

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    I do requeen, queen cell, and walk away splits all the time. Sometimes I move them. It most of the time I leave them in the same bee yard.

    The key is splitting from strong hives with plenty of resources to split for
    . If you do a requeen or queen cell split I usually move 2 frames of mostly capped brood and a frame of honey and pollen and a foundation frame.

    In awalk away I move a frame with eggs and a frame of mostly capped brood. Also give them honey and pollen.

    Always move frames with adhering bees. The foragers will return to the old hive. The nurse bees stay with new hive.
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  17. #16
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    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    And the next guy will come on and say split from the weak hives. I think Michael Palmer says that.

    Estimate how many bees per minute are leaving the hive to forage.
    John, I have two hives and I swear they don't use the same clock. I went back and forth last year trying to determine which hive was stronger. After a while I figured out one hive was always about an hour later then the other on when the foragers left the hive. And it seemed like it was the reverse on the way back in the evening but not quite an hour.

    Now lets think about this. One hive is going to have a queen and laying brood and the other is queenless. I don't know which way it would lean but it doesn't seem as though the foraging force would be the same for the split hives.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    The two things "wrong" with taking a hive 2 miles or more away to make a split are:

    1) you have to have a place 2 miles away or more to put it.
    2) it's more work

    Other than that it's a great idea, I guess. I've never done it.

    But you do need to consider the foragers going back in your plan. Shake in extra bees in the new location, or make two new locations on each side of the old one facing it and no hive at the old location. You can even swap those in a week or less to even things out. Don't swap them in 10 to 15 days because you may confuse a returning virgin...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    Just saw an Austrian documentary. They have an interesting way of splitting. They take the split into a dark room for 3 days. There they will be feed in the new hive, but they cannot leave the hive. They are screened in. They say the bees loose all their memory of where the old hive was, plus they are starting to raise their new queen or you introduce a new one at that time. After 3 days you can place the hive wherever you want to and they will not go back to the old hive. Another approach, but it is time consuming, because you do have to move the hive twice. It does not have to be far. Nucs will work nicely for this approach.
    Klamath Basin Beekeepers Association: www.klamathbeekeepers.org
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  20. #19
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    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    We make all our splits in nuc boxes and usually just leave them in the same yard. If you give them a couple frames of capped brood and a frame of open brood plus a frame of food they'll be successful. If the frames are light on bees we shake some extra bees into the nuc. The foragers will return to the original hive, but who cares? Nurse bees are constantly evolving into foragers so you'll have more foragers quickly. We give them a queen cell but if you give them a frame with eggs and young larva they'll make a queen immediately. Just make sure they have plenty of honey and pollen so they have resources to feed the queen cells. Some folks/beekeepers can complicate the construction of a mud pie if given time to think about it!

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Splitting and not moving new hive

    We move all our nucs either in the evening or early the next morning. We put them in a location with no hives, let them fly for a day and then put cells in on the second day and even up as needed. This allows them a queenless period to start their own cell and allows them to settle into a new location. More work? Most definitely but we have found that almost without fail they "catch" better than if left in the original location. Perhaps the acceptance is better simply because we are able to even them up. There is a size that seems to accept cells well too big and they seem to get a mind of their own, too small and they cant properly cover their brood and are prone to robbing.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

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