Snelgrove Splits and Varroa
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  1. #1
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    Default Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    According to what I have read and Randy Oliver's model, splitting a hive can serve to decrease mite load in the parent colony. If I do this season's splits using the Snelgrove method, where I redirect a couple of brood batches from the split hive back to the parent hive, have I negated or lessened the varroa-control effect of the split?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    no

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    yes
    snelgrove isn't my thing, extra piece of gear and all, I just don't see why its usfull..so take this for what its worth

    As I understand it the QL top portion keeps almost all the mites as it keeps the sealed brood and nurce bees. so moving brood from there to the QR side would move mites.
    Unless your looking for a cem free option, your best bet mite be to hit the top box 20 days after the split with some OA while they are brood less to hammer the mites. Unless you realy against it you minds well hit the bottom box right after the split with some OA too
    "oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    it depends on how the split was made. snelgrove isn't my thing, extra piece of gear and all, I just don't see why its usfull..so take this for what its worth

    any way as I understand it the QL top portion keeps almost all the mites as it keeps the sealed brood and nurce bees. so moving brood from there to the QR side would move mites.
    Unless your looking for a cem free option, your best bet mite be to hit the top box 20 days after the split with some OA while they are brood less to hammer the mites. Unless you realy against it you minds well hit the bottom box right after the split ...
    Good tip on the OA treatments. I had not thought to incorporate that into the splits. I have always done traditional splits. I have three objectives for trying Snelgrove this year: Swarm control; Increase and Production. I want to see if giving the foraging force back to the parent colony really helps production. Also, every hive I had swarmed last year -- even after splitting them all.

    It is an extra piece of equipment and it will mean extra work and extra trips to the bee yard. I might not be doing it again in 2019.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    It is an extra piece of equipment but I found that after I learned to trust its swarm deterrence abilities, that I spent a lot less time inspecting for swarm preparations so that might be a tradeoff more than an extra.

    The diverted bees from brood in the top box will have mites. I had not really given any thought to that aspect since mites have been very scarce here in the early season.
    Frank

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    I don't know if it helps with the mites or not but I don't think it hurt that much and in my mind, you are eventually going to seperate the hives and usually this is with a new queen on one side and new queens may out bread mites for a bit.

    I think early season and comb drawing, that if you feed the top a little and give them empty frames that the extra heat may help with comb drawing.

    I also think that you can help with honey production due to being able to run bees down to the production side of the split and so it is not quite the same as splitting a hive and losing everything.

    I liked it cause it seemed to keep the bees a little calmer while I made my split in the same yard with out moving the split three miles.

    I also liked it for me cause I did not have to find the queen to do what I did.

    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    gww, I am not sure about what things are like in Missouri, but I have brood in my hive for 11+ months of the year. My major Fall treatment is just not enough to keep the mites beaten off. However, I have drones in my hives now (January) and I had swarm cells forming in the last week of February last year. Finding a spring time treatment (and treatment interval) has always been a difficult thing and I have never been satisfied with the 3 tx X 7 day OAV spring treatments I have been doing.

    MSL's post really got me thinking though. If I split all my hives with the Snelgrove Board, I will have a broodless period in the spring for both the Parent Hive and the New Hive. A single OAV should get me to August/September.

    Snelgrove could be a panacea for me. Swarm Control, Increase and Varroa Control.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    Psm
    It could work pretty good for you but you would have to keep the queen seperate from any brood and would have to watch the dates for all brood to have hatched for treatment times. With both hives on top and bottom, the board may not be enough seperation. If you had a differrent yard to move the broodless part and one for the hives with brood, you would lose some of the other benifits of using the board but may have better one time treatment success. I understand why you ask the question and I had ask the same question earlier in my own thread and recieved the same answer that mites could move through a screen. So I decided there was no perfect answer (To me it was not worth having two yards) and so the rest was just a compermise using my best facts of everything together of what would be second best.

    I wish you the best and hope that my imput does not cause confussion or is bad in some way.
    Good luck
    gww
    zone 5b

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    An SB makes for the easiest splits; it is the only really reliable way to interrupt an imminent swarm (whether or not you want an additional colony) and if timed correctly can make for a very strong field force with little else to do other than gather it all up for storage.

    The issue of timing re varroa control is the same as for any split, except, that it generates only a single additional colony whereas some of the split-based varroa control-techniques instead rely on busting the entire colony down into multiple units which is considerably different kettle of fish.

    For new beekeepers wanting to have an emergency method of swarm control, and also planning to make a single split from a strong over-wintered colony to get a new colony with a fresh, locally-raised queen an SB is the best choice.

    If you have the experience, and skill to manipulate the timing of the SB to coincide with a particular flow an SB can also provide spectacular extra production possibilities, but that may be a good plan for subsequent years after you have got the technique down, and your local flows identified. Though every use of a SB provides a strong cohort of underoccupied bees for a week or two, it's just that sometimes there is an urgency to use the board for one of its other purposes -swarms, splits, etc.,- which doesn't quite match up with the correct timing to also take advantage of a nectar flow, especially for stationery hives, which only get what's on offer at home.

    I never fail to take advantage of any brood break to smack down phoretic mites with a dose of OAV and it is not hard to combine that with use of an SB to make a split/ stop a swarm, etc., but don't make yourself too crazy by trying to invent some overall Field Theory of Beekeeping that combines everything into one neat flow-chart.

    But do get some SBs and give them a try - although billed as an advanced technique they are are by far the easiest and most forgiving way to make your first splits. Nothing is as thrilling as raising your own new queen. I teach my beginning students how as soon as possible because knowing how to do that gives you tremendous confidence in both yourself and your bees' own ability to correct troubles as they appear.

    Nancy

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    Snelgrove could be a panacea for me. Swarm Control, Increase and Varroa Control.
    yep! add to it that do you behavoirly sorting the bees the nucs don't have to be moved to a new yard and the QR side becomes comb drawing machines
    Here is Randy Olvers' take on doing it with out the board https://youtu.be/IX3Tz5_uaMc?t=41m

    Lauri also posted about it a few years back
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...11#post1168911

    I did a lot of this style splits this year (sans OA) and loved it... I did it at 1st as an "O F&^%%" these 2 overwinterd nucs are going to explode I need to do something fast and I don't have time for the bees this week(KTBHs, supers wen't an option). I was impressed enough its going to be part of my standard management.
    Last edited by msl; 01-17-2018 at 12:29 PM.
    "oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    I have spent a lot of time this winter reading about Snelgrove methods. I have made some SBs that will accommodate two 4-frame nucs above a single parent colony. Nancy, I have read some of your old posts and knew you were an SB fan. I read where you really do not use the SB for preventative swarm control, but use it only for imminent swarm control (swarm cells forming). I wanted to get your thoughts on that and whether you think it is still a helpful swarm deterrent, even when swarming is not imminent (no swarm cells present). I am reposting the pic of my SB below.

    Snelgrove1.jpgSnelgrove2.jpg

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    Enjambres/Crofter (or whoever may know): I understand the reason there is a screen in the Snelgrove board if I intend to reintroduce the split to the parent hive. If I have no intention of reintroduction, but instead want to make increase, can I just make a solid separation board, or does the screen serve some other function that I am not seeing?

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    Pms
    I don't know but my thought is that it mingles the hive smells which may be helpful if you are deverting foragers from the top to the bottom portion.
    I am mixed up myself on a couple if other things I have read that I lean to being true but not enough to put it out. Things like calmness of the queenless side and such.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    Pms
    I don't know but my thought is that it mingles the hive smells which may be helpful if you are deverting foragers from the top to the bottom portion.
    I am mixed up myself on a couple if other things I have read that I lean to being true but not enough to put it out. Things like calmness of the queenless side and such.
    Cheers
    gww
    That makes sense to me gww. Thanks.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    The screen allows some sharing of the overall "hive smell" during the initial period after the split. This serves to keep both parts quite calm and reduces stress. And reduced stress equals higher rates of queen returns, healthier colonies, less drifting, no absconding, no robbing and no need to move the split anywhere else, even temporarily.

    It is that reduced stress which differentiates a split performed with a SB from the legions of other kinds of splits. That's why I call it the easy way to split. In most other types of splits (at least in all I have done myself or observed, but I haven't seen even a fraction of the hundreds of "named" methods of splitting) bees are separated enough that they have to cope with a huge disruption to their all-important and extensive social organization. And that disruption creates secondary issues that require extra effort to overcome.

    SBs moderate that stress, as well as maintaining enough non-separation so that bees can be easily "moved" from one part to another during the re-queening process if the beekeeper wishes to re-balance the number and roles of the adults in the collective colony. If you physically divide the colony enough so that the individuals in each part begin to see them themselves as fully distinct, you can't easily add (or subtract) adults from one part to the other.

    Since you often put a large percentage of all the brood in one half (depending on the particular manipulation you are doing with the SB) it is useful to be able to siphon-off some of the emerging adults into the other part later on. For instance you may want to promote a number of under-occupied adults into a very strong production hive on a good flow - with the screen and some door manipulation this can be easily accomplished. Just shaking those same bees into the production hive would result in upset, fighting, and the bees will likely just fly back to where they started anyway.

    Don't try to overthink this - just get a couple of SBs and put them in service and you will see how it goes. They are simple to use and nearly fool-proof if you are just using them for simple splitting. And quite forgiving if you mess the split up as you will have many chances to correct whatever error you may have made.

    It's only when dealing with an imminent swarm situation, i.e., with charged queen cells in place, that their use requires special care to do things precisely correctly. Otherwise your efforts may be in vain and the hive will swarm anyway. In this case the deployment of the board, and the careful placement of the queen, brood frames, etc., is very exacting because the board acts as a physical division between the queen and the bees she would need to take with her in the swarm. You need to understand the critical difference between using the board for routine splits, and in the special case of deterring a swarm that has already been set in motion. The first is an easy casual situation where placing frames in one-half or the other isn't a critical decision for the most part. (Though placement matters in how the splits develop afterward, so it depends on your goals.)

    In the second case, success requires a rigid adherence to the careful initial placement for the queen and division of the various kinds of brood frames between the two parts, followed up with a reversal of the queen's placement about a week later. Although various writers caution that there is no such thing as a fool-proof anti-swarm manipulation,even with a SB, I have found that careful following of the process has always resulted (for me) in stopping the swarm and keeping my queen in my boxes where I want her to stay. I don't need more colonies so I usually wind up eventually recombining the two parts back into one, but it works well either way.

    Nancy

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    Thank you Nancy.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    Nancy
    I am glad that you give some clarification on the after the swarm cells are formed part of using the board. I did use it to split a hive that the queen had already left or that I had lost or killed some how while makeing the split. So I had queen cells in the top part and the bottom part which is where I also left my brood. I did have two more swarms from the bottom part after the split was made. luckily I have a cedar tree close that the bees landed on and they were easy to hive.

    The hive.
    2017-05-06_10-23-09_587.jpg


    The swarming
    2017-05-06_10-23-17_111.jpg

    The swarm
    2017-05-05_10-19-21_155.jpg

    Repeat the very nest day.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    Well, of course, you can't prevent a swarm that has already occurred. So extreme vigilance is called for when dealing with a developing situation, and then very precise adherence to the instructions for how to divide the colony.

    SBs work because the queen is placed in the part with drawn, empty frames, and nearly all the brood and only an "adequate number" of nurse bees (who won't swarm away from caring for the brood.) That keeps her from swarming.

    The remaining bulk of the bees will be left (or return) to the other part that has only a very minimal amount of open brood - just enough to get a new queen started. These bees won't swarm without a queen, so they're also stuck. After about a week, the frames containing the queen cells are moved upstairs and just two of the frames the queen has laid on upstairs , along with the queen, are moved back downstairs. This still provides a strong opposition to the sense of the bees' of having enough brood already in process to make a swarm a safe bet for them. So they and the queen hang out, getting their brood-supply reorganized and usually by the time that happens the conditions leading to swarming have passed and the colony settles down for the summer.

    (This assumes you correctly recognize and manage any space concerns that have lead to the build-up to the swarm in the first place. I find 8-frame colonies inherently more swarmy than 10-frame equipment; and people who insist on 8-frame mediums for the whole stack are pre-disposing themselves to more swarm issues, IMO. I am unmoved by the weight arguments as boxes can have frames removed for lifting quite easily. But 8-frame equipment seems to me to have a permanent bias towards swarming - all other things being equal.)

    Meanwhile, upstairs the queen that developed from initial queen cells made downstairs, and then were moved upstairs when the queen was switched down, hatches, goes out and gets mated, etc., and new colony is made. Or you can make sure she doesn't hatch, and eventually simply recombine the two parts. Your choice.

    In practice it's a bit more complicated than this brief overview, but it does work - if you know what the steps are, and the purpose of each one - and if you do them correctly, and on time. Too often here I read people who don't take the trouble to understand the process either doing (for themselves) or advising others that the details don't matter. And that usually has the predictable result: a swarm.

    And then people start complaining that SB don't work, and are too much trouble, etc., If you want to know how to use them effectively ask somebody who does exactly that, not just some dude on the internet who read about them, but has never used one.

    Nancy

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    Nancy
    I am in no way complaining about the board, it was definatly operator error. I think I only really did two things wrong with this split after reconizing the situation. First, I found queen cups and thought I had caught the hive before it had swarmed. I did a teranov split that I could have lost the queen while doing it cause the wind blew over the cluster that was forming on the ramp. So, either I lost the queen or had missread that the hive had already swarmed. I had one other hive that I did attribute a swarm to and the swarm was massive. It was about 8 days before this one swarmed and 8 days after the split. Could have been both hives in that cluster or I missread which hive swarmed.

    Either way after doing the teronov, I looked for the queen and she was not there and so I put a queen cell in with the young bees on top. The swarm in the picture was an after swarm with a virgin. I think my only real mistakes (beside maby leaving a few nurse bees in the bottom from not shaking the frames compleetly empty) was that I did not cull the extra queen cells and on the expansion space (a medium) that I added was all foundationless and not drawn and I forgot to move a brood frame up as bait and for a ladder and I don't think the bees reconized the space as part of the hive. I use ten frame but they are all mediums.

    I like your last post and am going to try and memorize it in case I do catch queen cups but before the hive swarms.

    I knew the risk was there for after swarms if I did not reduce the amount of queen cells in the hive but was leaving them incase I found a use for them or found somebody to give a couple to. I gave two queen cells from the other hive to the guy I gave the first swarm to and thought, a bird in the hand. That tree was where all the other swarms landed and I go to the hives daily and so I don't think a swarm got away from me but I did lose a queen somewhere and so who knows.
    Thanks for taking the time to type all of that. I doubt my memory will retain it all cause it is not what it used to be but with repitition and thinking of why it needs to be done that way from the bees perspective, I may not have to remember the words to remember by looking what needs done.
    Thanks
    gww
    Ps I had no empty drawn comb to move around.
    Ps ps The hives were swarming cause I had no drawn comb and the frames were still full of stores from winter and a super warm spell in feb. It finaly got cold again with an april freeze and they were swarming on the 13th of april which was about the first few days of seventy degrees and when I was first getting back in the hives. I will be checking them in much colder wether this year and maby openning the brood nest while colder and see if that helps. I also this winter did not give them quite as much fall food as compared to thier comb built. Now I will probly have them starving rather then swarming early.
    Last edited by gww; 01-18-2018 at 06:47 PM.
    zone 5b

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Splits and Varroa

    Quote Originally Posted by psm1212 View Post
    I have spent a lot of time this winter reading about Snelgrove methods. I have made some SBs that will accommodate two 4-frame nucs above a single parent colony. ]
    psm, I like the way you think, but ..... When I tried a similar arrangement last summer,( or was it the previous year?) the bees abandoned one side & moved into the other.
    Even when i had seperate nuc boxes side by side, they occaisionally abandon one &drift into another.
    There must be some detail I am missing.
    Your workmanship looks great! Good luck ... CE
    Started summer of 2013, just another new guy, tinkering with bees.

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