Beehive Split bad idea?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Bonners Ferry, Idaho, USA
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    18

    Default Beehive Split bad idea?

    I installed my hive on 04/16 and it's been growing steadily over the past 2 months, they have frames filled in both boxes, but not nearly all of them. There is lots of pollen, some honey here and there. Lots of brood and lots of the frames were completely covered in bees. I have been reading up on how to do a split of a beehive but have run into some questions...

    1.) Is it typically a bad idea to split your first year hive (package bees) until they overwinter at least once? That being so, should I just keep giving them more space to avoid swarming this first year and build them strong...

    2.) Am I understanding correctly, when doing a split, you should remove 5 frames (2 brood, 2pollen, 1 honey covered in bees) and leave the queen in the original hive. Making sure you have new eggs/young larvae in the split for the nurse bees to produce a queen?

    Thanks for any input you guys can provide
    Bonners Ferry, ID (Zone 5b)

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Southeast Texas
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    1,792

    Default Re: Beehive Split bad idea?

    or you can do a old queen spilt - this will keep them from even thanking about swarming - get together all for that 5 framer as you described - and include the old queen in the nuc - old hive will raise another queen

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Bonners Ferry, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Beehive Split bad idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by sakhoney View Post
    or you can do a old queen spilt - this will keep them from even thanking about swarming
    I've considered that, but have also read it is a good idea to include open cells of drawn comb so she has a place to continue laying as not to halt down production... I guess I'll make that decision when it comes down to it and I have an extra frame of drawn comb.
    Bonners Ferry, ID (Zone 5b)

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kirksville, Missouri USA
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    1,753

    Default Re: Beehive Split bad idea?

    I would take a nuc split with the old queen and let the stronger original hive make a new queen. Or you can be weeks ahead and buy a mated queen to introduce into the nuc.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Beehive Split bad idea?

    How much longer do you expect your nectar flow to continue?
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Ozark, AL
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    810

    Default Re: Beehive Split bad idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    How much longer do you expect your nectar flow to continue?
    If the flow is over should you not make a split?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Williamsport, PA
    Posts
    465

    Default Re: Beehive Split bad idea?

    I'll let you know July 4th weekend.

    The NUC I picked up 4/16 filled 2 brood boxes and I found queen cups in mid May. I pondered whether to split or not and wound up doing it on June 1st. I left the queen in the original hive and took 3 frames of eggs/uncapped&capped brood, 2 frames of stores. I moved that Nuc to my inlaws house and when I checked them after a week they had made & capped 6 queen cells with the eggs on 2 frames. Last weekend I took 1 frame w/ queen cells, a frozen frame of honey/nectar, 3 frames of foundation, and a shake of bees from the original hive in another NUC to my parent's house. I did put a feeder on that one but we're in the flow right now.

    Both NUCs look outstanding externally. The first one I made is bringing in pollen by the bucket and the second has quite a bit of nectar coming in. My only worry is about having enough housebees and getting them mated with the lack of feral bees in the area.

    Using the calendars I should have a queen hatching this week and she should be mated by the end of the month. I'm not going to check them until July 4th weekend but I hope to see eggs. If not I'll recombine them with the original hive with has already recovered from losing the bees and resources.

    The first NUC that donated the queen cells last weekend


    The second mating NUC also last weekend before it got completely calmed down.
    Last edited by Steve in PA; 06-15-2016 at 06:47 PM. Reason: clarification

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Derry, New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: Beehive Split bad idea?

    I highly recommend doing a 50/50 split on your bees. dearth or not you can feed them. imo its important to go into winter with as many hives as possible with 5 frames of brood/pollen and 5 of food. if you do a 50'50 you might end up with several nucs you can nurse through the fall. if you go in with one big hive and lose it then you're at square one.
    Terrence

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Hopkins, MI USA
    Posts
    915

    Default Re: Beehive Split bad idea?

    If you do the split with the queen and at least two frames of capped brood, the capped brood will be hatching every day giving your queen a place to lay and new bees to take care of her brood. You could buy a queen but then you won't have a brood break, that is important to me but not to everyone. I raise bees.....don't really care about the honey, it is a bonus for me.
    zone 5b
    Back in 2019!

  11. #10

    Default Re: Beehive Split bad idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Groundhwg View Post
    If the flow is over should you not make a split?
    In my experience feeding during a dearth only causes my bees to backfill the brood nest. They don't seem to be willing to draw comb. Probably just my bees as everyone else seems to insist that you can feed them into it.
    Secondly, I don't like feeding during a dearth. Even feeding inside the hive...top feeders, baggies, inverted jars and pails.....all too often results in robbing events. Once it gets started, it can spread throughout the beeyard. And while the strong hives can usually fend it off a newly started nuc is less likely to.
    Can you successfully start a nuc during a dearth? Probably but it is especially challenging for the bees and keeper....in my experience.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Fayette CO Ohio
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Beehive Split bad idea?

    We had a crazy late spring here. Most of the farms in my area were not planted until late may resulting in thousands of acres of flowering Cressleaf Groundsel. That made for a busy spring. Before every hive in the county swarmed I split three hives. After researching last winter, I took three frames out of a healthy hive, in my case i was able to find swarm cells on each split. So I took one frame with a swarm cells, one frame with a ton of brood, and one that seemed flush with honey or pollen, and two old drawn frames i had laying around and placed them into a 5 frame nuc. I then moved the original hive about 20' away and placed the nuc where the original hive was, this way all the experienced foragers flew back to the nuc and helped get things going. This method worked great for me, I split 3 hives successfully.
    I would do it again even this late but the weather has turned really hot and dry, when I drive around I don't see many flowers.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Southeast Texas
    Posts
    1,792

    Default Re: Beehive Split bad idea?

    Summer time nucs and feeding - area feed - I have bees on the back of my lot that runs 1800 ft. deep - I set up feeder jars up on the front of the lot. Never have a problem with robbing
    And it also keeps them pulling comb

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