Pulling queen for late summer split.
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    228

    Default Pulling queen for late summer split.

    I'm thinking about pulling a queen that heads my best production hive into a nuc. this would be her second winter as she was the product of an early August supercedure last year. I don't want to risk the hive on her surviving the winter, and I like the idea of having a fresh queen in the hive come spring. I have heard that this is a good varroa mite break, helps knock the population down for our upcoming summer dearth, increases production due to few larvae being cared for, and still gives me time to get a few rounds of winter bees in the main hive and gives the nuc some time to build. what are the downsides? I know a failed mating flight is possible. I expect a lot of cells to be produced, the first virgin out should kill the rest I believe, so there is no risk of producing a swarm right? I have also heard of hives loosing their vigour once they go queenless and stopping any kind of production or nectar storage. opinions tips or words of wisdom would be appreciated!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Winona MN USA
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: Pulling queen for late summer split.

    Since no one else has stepped up, I'll take a shot at this for what it's worth, here goes. 1st Will the first out kill the rest? Not necessarily. Several factors are involved. They could very easily produce after swarms to the point of losing most of your bees. I had one that produced 1 small after swarm, that left my hive queen less and I had to re queened. 2nd. Queens could live to be 3,4,or even 5 years old. But the older they get the more likely they will swarm or be replaced. 3rd Yes brood breaks help, but they are not the total answer to a might problem. (not looking for a fight here ) If it was me, I think I would start a nuc from a couple or more frames of fresh eggs and brood with plenty of young bees thrown in. This does a few things. It reduces your hive's numbers for your up coming dearth if that's really what you want to do. I'm not sure that would be my aim but that's a different issue. No matter what you do your population will be reduce some what. Anyway, by doing this you will have better control as to how many queens you end up with, and be sure that she gets mated. You could then swap queens and build your nuc as you normally would in your area, or dispatch or old queen and recombine your nuc to the original hive. I would how ever make sure she has been excepted before dispatching your good queen, just to bee safe. I hope this helps. But take it for what it's worth. JMO.
    GOOD LUCK!

    Dave

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,777

    Default Re: Pulling queen for late summer split.

    I do this routinely. Read Mel Disselkoen at mdasplitter.com. I pull the queen and two frames of brood and shake nurse bees off a third into a split. I go back in the hive in a week and harvest additional frames with capped cells if I want to propagate more colonies or do some weeding and destroy all cells but the best two on the same side of one frame. Keep entrances on these nucs about two bees wide and don't slop feeding attractant around.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    228

    Default Re: Pulling queen for late summer split.

    Great, thank you guys for the input. I like the idea of going through and culling all the excess cells except for a few strong ones next too we h other so they will be sure to find each other. sounds like a good way to avoid the adterswarm situation that Bee Havin described. I'm starting to see why drawn comb is such a valuable commodity! I never have enough of anything to take full advantage. I assume the queens you end up with are good even though they are made under the emergency response and there's lots of other open brood in the hive at the time they are made?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    washington, vermont, USA
    Posts
    367

    Default Re: Pulling queen for late summer split.

    I did a few splits earlier this year raising my own queens by the emergency response. I went through the split and cut out the smallest couple cells but the rest looked great. I then split them up into 3 mating nucs with couple cells each and ended up with 3 beautiful laying queens. It was intimidating at first but luckily the bees know exactly what to do.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    York County, VA, USA
    Posts
    503

    Default Re: Pulling queen for late summer split.

    I was about to say, "Split off the queen and support for her, then let the big hive with its resources make new queen or queens. Break up the main hive into as many nucs as seems reasonable for the queen cells they make, and enjoy the increase. Feed them up for winter and keep them in 5-frame nuc boxes two or preferably three boxes deep. Stack them side-by-side for shared warmth." Be wary of swarms as fall approaches, and preserve some open room in the boxes for them. You could keep one bigger hive and place robbed brood and resources from the nuc stacks there if you need a place to put them. You'll have all the queens you want that way, and you can recombine at your leisure and to your heart's content.
    "I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong." (heard often from the late David Sebree) Still making them, myself

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