I want a split but I want honey too!
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Dallas, GA, USA
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    12

    Default I want a split but I want honey too!

    Alright guys and gals, I'm coming through my first winter strong (I think) with the one hive I have left after a laying worker issue late last summer. I'm planning on buying 3 nucs this year but I'd like to also split my current hive (double deep). It's currently almost entirely in the bottom box still with a ton of honey and pollen in the top box. I'm planning on checkerboarding the top box if this rain ever quits in north Georgia. I am planning on doing a split with this hive but am anxious to also get honey. I'm not looking to sell any but we didn't pull any last year and I'd definitely like to have enough to share with friends and maybe practice entering some honey shows.

    I've considered a few options:

    Even-up walk away split: I could almost completely fill 2 single deeps with enough bees and resources to make it and immediately be building into the second box (probably wouldn't buy a queen and would probably notch a few frames to give them a head start on the queenless side). I'm thinking neither of these would be strong enough by the flow to pull honey from but what do I know. I've also considered leaving them in a single deep through the flow and then feed in the summer/fall to build up to double deeps in time for winter.

    Classic OTS split. Move queen to nuc with enough to get buy, leave big hive to raise a queen. I'm thinking this would impact production on the big hive but I'm not sure how significantly. I think it would depend a lot on timing and how old my bees were getting by the time a queen got raised, mated, and laying.

    Cut down split: I have no clue when or how to time this for my area given the fact that this will be my first head start into spring. I thought about doing a combo cut down/OTS and basically only leave the brood frames with the Queen cells on it so that the big hive doesn't have to feed many babies but can still be gathering a bunch of nectar.

    Too many choices and probably selfish to try to get the bees to do what I want but if you had one hive and wanted to split it and get as much honey as possible this year, what would you do.

    Zone 7 North Georgia

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: I want a split but I want honey too!

    Think about buying one queen for the other half of your double deep. It will give that hive about a month time advantage compared to letting them make their own.

    Run both hives as single deeps will possibly give you some honey yield advantage. You would likely have to be proactive with swarm control though.
    Frank

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Chicago, ILL. USA
    Posts
    316

    Default Re: I want a split but I want honey too!

    Quote Originally Posted by bobsbasicbees View Post
    Too many choices and probably selfish to try to get the bees to do what I want but if you had one hive and wanted to split it and get as much honey as possible this year, what would you do.
    First I would figure out how to manage mite loads. Then I'd try to keep it from swarming and split after the main honey flow. Cut down split would be my 2nd choice.
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm#cutdown
    https://cookevillebeekeepers.com/swa...t-down-splits/

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    NW Florida
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    Default Re: I want a split but I want honey too!

    Since you are in N/ Georgia, I think you have plenty of time to get both. Squarepeg and JWPalmer may have climates closer to yours than I do. Check out squarepegs thread in the treatment free forum for his timing. I just did a split. Lots of drones about to burst out, some already out, and stronger hives starting to make queen cups. I pulled a frame of young larvae and eggs with several shakes of nurse bees and then some pollen and honey frames into a nuc. It has worked for me in the past. That nuc was placed where the older one sat to help with flybacks/drift. Are you seeing drones yet? If so, do a small pull and let your production hive stay strong. Then use that nuc to keep splitting during the flow for more hives. I got a late start last year due to 100% losses. I bought two nucs in early March. With careful pulls, I did manage to harvest some honey and go into winter with 7 hives, 6 of which survived (1 dud queen). I'm not sure how long your flow season is and if you get a full dearth. I did get one last summer. In hive feeding during dearth can keep them going and keep you splitting. I wish you the best. Don't be discouraged if a few nucs don't make it. I bought a queen last year just to have her abscond.

    Oh, you can also wait for your production hive to make queen cells and then make the nucs. But to do that, you need to pressure them into wanting to make queen cells.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
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    1,517

    Default Re: I want a split but I want honey too!

    Swarming, It's control and Prevention, by E.L. Snelgrove. Also, The Many Uses of a Snelgrove Board, by M.W. Shaw.

    It is available for free download.

    After the flow you can make a split or recombine. This method is supposed to maximize honey yield.

    I'm trying it this year for the first time.

    Good Luck.
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    NW Florida
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    1,150

    Default Re: I want a split but I want honey too!

    Quote Originally Posted by AHudd View Post
    Swarming, It's control and Prevention, by E.L. Snelgrove. Also, The Many Uses of a Snelgrove Board, by M.W. Shaw.

    It is available for free download.

    After the flow you can make a split or recombine. This method is supposed to maximize honey yield.

    I'm trying it this year for the first time.

    Good Luck.
    Where did you find them for free?
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
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    1,517

    Default Re: I want a split but I want honey too!

    I Googled the titles and went to the link that said Free PDF. When I saved it to my Desktop I changed the name so I'm not sure how to get the original link to post here. It probably resides in the download folder. I'll look.

    Alex

    I looked, I don't know how to restore the original link.
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    4,973

    Default Re: I want a split but I want honey too!

    Type this into a google search

    Swarming, It's control and Prevention, by E.L. Snelgrove PDF download


    The first result to show up on the list contains a hyperlink to the Pdf file. It is thirty some pages.

    I have one of his original texts but it is out of print but still available used via Abebooks.com

    I have used this procedure for a number of years with good success.

    Mann Lake has them listed as double screen board for $21.95
    Last edited by crofter; 02-20-2019 at 05:59 PM.
    Frank

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Walton County, GA
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: I want a split but I want honey too!


  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Garden City S, NY
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    91

    Default

    I’m in the same boat. First year beek coming out of my first winter. I wintered in a single deep with a candy board. Cluster looks large. I want to get another hive but am not sure if I should buy a nuc or split my hive and buy a queen. I started from a nuc last year on may 25th and was lucky enough to pull 35 lbs of honey. Since my colony will be coming out of winter I assume I have a huge head start compared to last year but will splitting it drastically cut down on honey production? If I do split it would probably be at the end of April.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: I want a split but I want honey too!

    If you haven't collected enough data to predict the onset of the main flow, then do a cut down split as soon as the main flow starts. It won't be quite as good, but it will be close. Meanwhile, keep notes on when what blooms and when the main flow starts so you can make better predictions in the future.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
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    338

    Default Re: I want a split but I want honey too!

    Get a nuc and do a 3-4 frame split from the main hive. A good frame of honey and 3 frames of brood (make sure there are eggs) while dumping in a few frames of nurse bees from the main colony. (I'd leave the queen in the main colony, in this instance) This might slow the main colony down a touch but not much. This will leave you with a very strong hive for honey production and a new hive/nuc to build up for the upcoming winter.

    Yup, spring is here for most and it's already time to prep for winter.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
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    1,013

    Default Re: I want a split but I want honey too!

    I'm now doing Splits after the Main Flow.

    Queens made after the Summer Solstice tend to make a larger Broodnest before winter.

    Once you get into the late Summer Dearth there are many unoccupied Worker Bees because of lack of flowers. Why not get them working on a new Split rather than washboarding?

    So you have the maximum population working during the Main Flow, you get to Harvest the Honey and then you can easily get 3 Splits. (Split the 2 Deeps into 3 Deeps and fill up the remainder of the Boxes with the extracted combs.)

    I also use OTS Queen raising to get a few queen cells made.
    Also, the hives get a Brood Break and it looks like it can help with reducing Mites. (With most Mites jumping on the first brood and overloading them so they die, along with the Mites.)

    Have a look at Opening the Sides of the Broodnest for Swarm Prevention. Great if you don't have much drawn comb because it gets the bees building new comb throughout Swarm Season.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Garden City S, NY
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    91

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    If you haven't collected enough data to predict the onset of the main flow, then do a cut down split as soon as the main flow starts. It won't be quite as good, but it will be close. Meanwhile, keep notes on when what blooms and when the main flow starts so you can make better predictions in the future.
    Besides the spring flow it may be hard to predict any flows after that since I’m in the suburbs. They either get lucky finding baseball field filled with clover before it’s cuts or they go from house to house getting at people’s landscaping flowers.

    Do the bees bring back nectar from the hardwoods, oak, maple, elm etc?

    We also have lots of non fruit bearing pear and cherries. Do those provide nectar or just pollen?

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Dallas, GA, USA
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    12

    Default Re: I want a split but I want honey too!

    Thanks for all the input. After doing more reading I was considering following Mel D.'s plans of splitting down to multiple nucs and then combining them for the main flow but Spring seems to be getting a very early start this year and I don't think I'd have time to get laying queens with Brood built up by then. I'm planning on basically doing a cut down split right before the flor (getting a better grasp on that) and then probably split later in the year to overwinter some nucs.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,922

    Default Re: I want a split but I want honey too!

    >Besides the spring flow it may be hard to predict any flows after that since I’m in the suburbs. They either get lucky finding baseball field filled with clover before it’s cuts or they go from house to house getting at people’s landscaping flowers.

    Oddly enough I'm not so sure that the "main flow" is a bloom as much as a decision. The bees decide to stop rearing so much brood and start storing honey. That decision may or may not be connected to a particular bloom, but a particular bloom indicates a particular point in the progress of the season and so is useful for prediction. I'm not sure that mowing will matter. I've had bees in town and in the country and the main difference is simply that things, including the main flow, happen two weeks earlier in the big city than in the country.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Jacksonville, Morgan County, IL
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    Default Re: I want a split but I want honey too!

    Quote Originally Posted by bobsbasicbees View Post
    I am planning on doing a split with this hive but am anxious to also get honey.

    Zone 7 North Georgia
    I would think in North GA there must be a queen breeder with queens for sale soon, if not already.

    Why not just split the two boxes, give one a new queen, and go from there ?

    Starting this early, you should be able to see build-up to two deeps each in about 6-7 weeks.

    That puts you at about May 10th, which should get you some honey this year.

    Above all else:

    overthink.jpg

  19. #18
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    Feb 2019
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    Dallas, GA, USA
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    Default Re: I want a split but I want honey too!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sour Kraut View Post
    I would think in North GA there must be a queen breeder with queens for sale soon, if not already.

    Why not just split the two boxes, give one a new queen, and go from there ?

    Starting this early, you should be able to see build-up to two deeps each in about 6-7 weeks.

    That puts you at about May 10th, which should get you some honey this year.

    Above all else:

    overthink.jpg
    Man, that picture is me to a T. After it all, I went back to my original though of notching a bunch of frames and and planning on breaking the hive multiple ways to make starts and we'll just see how it goes from there. I thought on it and decided I'd rather have the experience of splitting and working the bees than maximizing honey. It's all a learning curve I guess and at the end of it all, worst case, I have some nucs to sell with not a ton of honey.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Jacksonville, Morgan County, IL
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    205

    Default Re: I want a split but I want honey too!

    Quote Originally Posted by bobsbasicbees View Post
    Man, that picture is me to a T.
    Well, I wasn't meaning to put anyone down by that picture, and hope no one took it that way.

    Just trying to show that when a basic question is asked, that everyone seems to jump in with a 'How I'd Do It' reply, and it can get pretty confusing.

    My response (guilty of Jumping In too ??? ) was to try to say 'decide on the simplest, easiest method and stick to it'.

    BTW, I'm going for Max Numbers this year too ( 10 to about 50 ), via purchased nucs, purchased queens, plus raise some queens and make splits........the only not-keep-it-simple to me is the numerous ways of getting queen cells started, so I'm going back to the old-time books and re-reading how it was done 'back then'.

    Good luck on your splits.

    Gary

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    Dallas, GA, USA
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    Default Re: I want a split but I want honey too!

    No offense taken at all! I actually laughed when I saw it on the way home I was talking to my wife about changing my plan and she basically said the same thing. I can get clouded by "ooohhh I want that" and "oooohhh I want to try that" and lose track of what my ultimate goal is: Increase my apiary, get experience at actually keeping bees and not just having them and hopefully make a profitable run at it eventually. I'd like to get there more with bees than I would with honey (at least for now) so that's where it settled out.

    I've notched about 8 places and have my queen over in another nuc. We'll see how it goes. Worst case, I'll stick it all back together and only set them back a couple weeks.

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