Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
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    Madison, Alabama
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    15

    Default Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    This is the second year in a row I have attempted to make a vertical split using a QE. I am aware that many beekeepers use a double screen board instead of a QE, but I have heard from a variety of sources that a QE also works and, for a variety of reasons, I wanted to do it that way.

    Here's what I did each time:
    1. I took several frames containing eggs and young brood from a queenright mother hive, shook the bees back into the mother hive to ensure I didn't move the queen, then placed the beeless frames in a 10-frame box (the “split”), filled out with frames of nectar, pollen, etc.
    2. I then placed a super filled with empty frames on top of the mother hive (which included all the bees I shook off the "split").
    3. Then I placed a queen excluder above the super
    4. I then placed the split box of beeless frames (including eggs and young larvae) above the QE.
    5. I covered the entire stack with an IC and OC.

    I have heard, and read that this would work as follows;
    1. Nurse bees from the mother hive would move up through the super and QE to cover the open brood in the split box.
    2. The nurse bees in the split box will think they are queenless because of the empty super and the QE below. Hence, they would start one of more queen cells from the eggs and young larvae available.

    The first step went as planned; lots of nurses moved up to cover the brood in the split. The second step never happened. I did a complete inspection of the split box after 8 days and found no QC. Same thing happened when I did this last year.

    My first reaction is to suspect that this procedure for a vertical split is simply not viable (0 successes in two trials is not encouraging). However, I have heard and read from so many mentors and reliable sources that I am inclined to think that the method may valid but perhaps there was a flaw in my execution. And I would really like to make this work if it is workable.

    Has anyone successfully done vertical splits like this, using a QE instead of a double screen board? If so, any pointers or theories on how to do it better or why my two attempts might have failed?

    I would be grateful for any feedback.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Ardnamurchan and Fife, Scotland
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    174

    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    I've not ... but I've reared lots of grafted queens in an upper box separated from a queenright box by a QE (sometimes without an intervening super).

    I'd suggest two things ... firstly is the Q young? It might be that the queen pheromone is simply too strong. Secondly, try notching the comb in the upper box below some suitably young larvae to encourage them to rear queen cells.

    If there's no flow on they may well not raise QC's.
    The Apiarist - beekeeping in Fife, Scotland

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
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    1,339

    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    I do not know your situation in Alabama but I use it here for swarm control (Demaree) and to make a couple of cells. The idea is that you give your queen just as much room as possible, which also means that you put just as much as you can in the top deep.
    If you want QC’s notch the frame just below the eggs. If you are using wired wax try to get the notch between the wires (easy to cut them out).
    If you are still configured as you describe go into the bottom box and get two frames of open brood / eggs. Notch it and put it in the upper box. Maybe add another super between them.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    2,261

    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    Are you giving an upper entrance? 3/4 hole in the box. Having the empty with another hole below the excluder cuts down on the traffic through the top box and increases the isolation. It is a trade off between disruption and success. 0 for 2 is a big percentage change from 1 of three so do not read too much into 2 no's. 60 to 70 % making QC's is as low as I would expect , but not shocked at lower.

    Ray Marler finds and places his queen in a temporary nuc. I am sure that gets a much higher %.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Madison, Alabama
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    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    Thanks, I hadn't considered notching the cells. Will try that.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Madison, Alabama
    Posts
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    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    Thanks, Saltybee. I hadn't considered putting a hole in the empty.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Franktown,Colorado,USA
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    I have never used a QE for vertical splits,but I made some snelgrove boards this spring and out of 7 splits with the SGB I got QC every time.Try to go with a double screen split board or a SGB and the queen can't pass her pheromone from the bottom box Pete

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Madison, Alabama
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    fatshark, thanks for the response. The queen is a year old and very vigorous. There is a flow on. I hadn't considered notching the cells, will try next time.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Madison, Alabama
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    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    Thanks, Pete, this makes sense. And I like your track record!

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Edmonton, AB, Canada
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    I was hoping to try a similar style split this year (using a queen excluder for vertical splits) and reading this has given me a bit more to consider to be successful. I'm wondering a couple things:

    In order to get the best of both worlds (ie. ensure queen cells are started and share resources in a hive) would a cloake board adaptation be a better option. Basically cut off the top box completely until the queen cells are started (either with a double screen or a solid board and upper entrance) then put a queen excluder on after a day or two?

    Secondly, would it make a difference to put the queen excluder on top of the bottom brood box, then the super, then the split? Would this increase the isolation of the top box? The top entrance sounds like a good idea to increase isolation as well.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    It really is a sliding trade off. The more you do the higher the success rate and the higher the impact on the original hive. You can do as little as moving brood up with no exluder, as long as you are passed chilled brood weather that is pretty minimal impact. Not all bees are the same, some are stubborn, some will make QCs readily. I can't predict that looking at a hive, D S can't reading about it.
    Feed and bees are more important than methods. So what is the worst if you fail? Depends on how much you put into it does it not?
    Strong on bees; do more.
    Short on bees; risk less and build up the bees. Taking frames up and putting empties in the brood nest might get you another queen, it is a solid bet it will get you more brood.

    The easiest, least investment method in my view is to take one frame with nurse bees. Place it in original hive location and move the original hive. If you want to get fancy from there, cull any that are capped first.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Yuba County, California, USA
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    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    In the morning, put queen in top with sealed brood and stores, eggs and young larva in bottom with stores, queen excluder between the two. The hive will arrange itself so that more nurse bees are below.

    In the evening, remove top box and move to the side on it's own stand. This creates a queenless cell starter left in place.

    In 24 hours, put queen box back on top over excluder. This creates a queen right cell builder/finisher.

    Now in 7-9 days, check the bottom box for cells, it should have some. If so, then move the bottom box to it's own stand, somewhat away from the original, in the same yard. This creates a mating nuc that loses it's field force by the time the cells emerge, so reducing chances of it to swarm. Cell builders need population, mating nucs not so much. If the resources are there when you move the box of cells away, split it into two nucs of equality of stores and sealed brood and queen cells. This will give you 2 nuc splits.


    With all these posts lately about doing vertical splits, are you all trying to get a queen raised and mated in a stack that already has a queen in it? ... Thereby creating a two queen hive? or what? I don't let cells emerge and then try to mate in a stack that already has a queen. I separate the cells off to mate without a queen present at all.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Madison, Alabama
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    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    Thanks, all. It seems there are a lot of ways I can modify my technique. I genuinely appreciate the feedback and the time spent in preparing it.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    VMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
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    24

    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    In the morning, put queen in top with sealed brood and stores, eggs and young larva in bottom with stores, queen excluder between the two. The hive will arrange itself so that more nurse bees are below.

    In the evening, remove top box and move to the side on it's own stand. This creates a queenless cell starter left in place.

    In 24 hours, put queen box back on top over excluder. This creates a queen right cell builder/finisher.

    Now in 7-9 days, check the bottom box for cells, it should have some. If so, then move the bottom box to it's own stand, somewhat away from the original, in the same yard.
    I'm really impressed with this method of splitting, seems to tick lots of boxes

    • doesn't require special equipment (such as Snelgrove board)
    • no need to find the queen (just shake the frames into top box before inserting into bottom box)
    • creates ideal cell raising conditions (queenless starter, queenright finisher)
    • no need to worry about having enough nurse bees in the split


    So what do we call it, is it the Marler Method (!) or has it been around for ever and I just haven't come across it?

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    I would love to take the credit, but alas, it's from Doolittle, late 1800's or very early 1900. It only makes a few cells, in a superceder type environment. Doolittle didn't separate the boxes at the first setup, I made that change.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    VMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
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    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    I would love to take the credit, but alas, it's from Doolittle, late 1800's or very early 1900. It only makes a few cells, in a superceder type environment. Doolittle didn't separate the boxes at the first setup, I made that change.
    I'd always associated Doolittle with wax cups and grafting. Your move of the box off and back on, rather than doing the split at the outset is what impresses me. Winter here, so no chance to try it for a while.

  18. #17
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...+an+out-apiary

    I read about it in that book, A Year's Work in an Out-Apiary... by Doolittle.

    Not as well known or read as his Scientific Queen Rearing book.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    May 2017
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    Sheboygan County, WI
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    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    http://www.thebeeyard.org/rearing-qu...-board-method/

    I haven't tried this "Cloake Board" method yet, but am in the process of making up 8 nuc boxes, making a few cloake boards, making some nuc bottom boards, covers, inner covers, and hoping to start up a few new nucs for me and a few to sell and re-coop some of my money come spring of 2018 !!!

    This Cloake Board method seems nice and easy, sounds like it works with grafting or with just letting the bees build the Queen Cells on my wax foundation frames...

    Any tips from anyone that has used this method with out the grafting or queen cups ?

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
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    3,932

    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    Here is a free copy of what ray linked to.
    http://www.honeybee.bz/Doolittle.pdf
    Cheers
    gww
    PS Believe me, the way ray explained it is much easier then reading old english and coming up with this.
    zone 5b

  21. #20
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Vertical split with Queen Excluder: 0 for 2

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    gww
    PS Believe me, the way ray explained it is much easier then reading old english and coming up with this.
    LOL gww.

    This might be a good year to try it on some of your hives huh? Let us all know your results!

    Doolittle was always one of my favourite authors. His Scientific queen rearing is an absolute must read, along with the Year's Work in an Out-Apiary. Much to be learned from those two writings.

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