would making a split now be smart or really, really stupid?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Pitt, NC, USA
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    807

    Question would making a split now be smart or really, really stupid?

    My colony (installed in late March) seems to be doing well -- at last inspection, 8 days ago, brood box about 70% worked, and the medium above it, "sorta" being worked by the bees. The population seems to be booming now, and the brood pattern then was the best I think I've ever seen (from videos and demos). I removed the frame feeder at that time, too. Nectar flow is major now.

    If everything looks good-and-drawn when I inspect Wed., should/could I consider a split? My new mentor suggests it. Per her: take 5 of the 10 frames from wall-adjacent of the brood box (or medium, if it has eggs/uncapped honey/nurse bees/etc), with or w/o the queen, place the frames into the middle of a "fresh" deep (or medium), add a frame feeder -- which I could only do in a deep, with the feeders I own -- and let The Girls have at it.

    Is that sensible, or has my pitiful memory made it oversimplified? I don't want to risk making my strong hive too weak or new hive too vulnerable. Nights are getting to ~50 F lately, so I'm sure the bees aren't crazy about that.

    For what it's worth: I don't necessarily care about honey harvest this year; I'm focused mostly on having a strong hive or 2 going into the winter.

    Thx for suggestions/ponderings/info. The more the better at this stage. I'm really kinda baffled at how to go with this. Too many options, and I need all the "forewarned is forearmed" data I can get. "Have a plan", my mentor tells me. OK ...... that could mean having lots of sugar syrup concocted (and if not needed, would have to be kept), a deep and medium, with frames, at the ready, etc. ....... Anything else?

    Mitch

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Bergen County, NJ
    Posts
    907

    Default Re: would making a split now be smart or really, really stupid?

    I would follow local mentor suggestion. I messed up many things in the first year (and continue to do so:-)), but I dont regret splitting. I lost two splits in September, but still had 3 more to learn and took into winter. Had they not swarmed (and I decide to split), I could have ended up with nothing into winter.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Greenville, SC USA
    Posts
    465

    Default Re: would making a split now be smart or really, really stupid?

    I'd split it, especially if it's your only hive. Having more than one hive offers all kinds of options when the needs arise.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Williamsport, PA
    Posts
    500

    Default Re: would making a split now be smart or really, really stupid?

    After reading about others who had done early splits on this site and sending a few PM's I decided to make a split last year around June 1 of a hive I just bought in mid April as a Nuc. When I inspected the split I made a week later I found queen cells on 2 frames. Not wanting to waste those cells I took another frame from the original frame and made 2 3-frame nucs from the original split. All this was during our peak flow season.

    All 3 hives wintered well and some have already been split again this season. If mating flights are successful my original 1 hive will become 7 before June.

    If your mentor is advising to try it then have at it. It's all a learning experience.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Salisbury, NC, USA
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: would making a split now be smart or really, really stupid?

    I made splits after the flow last year. It was a lot harder getting them built up. If the hive is strong I would make it now while we are on the flow. Remove the queen and a couple frames of bees, brood and stores to a nuc. Let the strong hive make a new queen since they will have the majority of the resources.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Landing, NJ, USA
    Posts
    1,026

    Default Re: would making a split now be smart or really, really stupid?

    Way down there at the end you mention sugar syrup. Make it as you need it. One to one dissolves easily in hot tap water but doesn't keep well.
    Bill

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Pitt, NC, USA
    Posts
    807

    Default Re: would making a split now be smart or really, really stupid?

    Quote Originally Posted by whiskers View Post
    Way down there at the end you mention sugar syrup. Make it as you need it. One to one dissolves easily in hot tap water but doesn't keep well.
    Bill
    Hi, Whisk -- I generally freeze what I don't use, and thaw as needed. My old mentor told me today he uses a spoonful of lemon juice (!) per gallon of sugar syrup to keep it viable. I'm not sure how effective that is, but ..... that's what he told me.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Verde Valley Arizona
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: would making a split now be smart or really, really stupid?

    I would wait until June to split. It sounds like they are just beginning to build.

    If you're not sure what to do, do nothing!

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Pitt, NC, USA
    Posts
    807

    Default Re: would making a split now be smart or really, really stupid?

    Quote Originally Posted by volare71 View Post
    I would wait until June to split. It sounds like they are just beginning to build.

    If you're not sure what to do, do nothing!
    Howdy, Vol. I'm not certain of that. Here in eastern NC, June is (from what the old timers tell me) when the dearth begins, so waiting until then could be an issue or maybe even inviting disaster. Of course, doing it now could be too, maybe .....

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bunker Hill, IL
    Posts
    891

    Default Re: would making a split now be smart or really, really stupid?

    being able to buy a mated queen which this is the right time for, will take a lot of the stress out of makeing the split. easy call for ~$20 this time of year.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Norfolk, Commonwealth of Virginia, USA
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: would making a split now be smart or really, really stupid?

    I'm in roughly the same sort of climate in Virginia. And I'm very aggressive on nucs. I would caution a little patience here. You have roughly 7 frames going gangbusters, that's only 2 frames more than a standard nuc. I'd wait for another brood cycle(lets say 4 weeks) then see how they're doing. If OK, go ahead and make a split, understanding that you will have to feed both hives for the rest of the year to build them up.
    Another Evil Beekeeping Truth: treatment-free beekeeping makes great sense so long as they're not your bees.

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