Too early to split? Southern New York
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    140

    Default Too early to split? Southern New York

    Dear All,

    I am located on Long Island, New York. I am a relatively experienced beekeeper at this time, but my naivete lies in timing of splits. Firstly, we are having a very cool Spring for late march already. I would like to split a very thriving hive that is already producing brood after inspection yesterday, but no drone brood as yet. Does that mean it's still too early to make a split as the virgin queen would not having any drones to mate with? Or should there be drones in roughly a month from now if I do make a split?

    Thanks for any input for those in the same general weather pattern as southern New York State.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Warren County, NJ, USA
    Posts
    555

    Default Re: Too early to split? Southern New York

    yes. you should wait until you haves drones emerged. drones need time to mature for mating flights. look up timing that a virgin queen is fertile.
    i am probably similar climate to you, perhaps a b. i saw first pollen yesterday. typically i dont see drones emerge until about 6 weeks after that first pollen.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: Too early to split? Southern New York

    I'm up north of Albany, and it's way too early here. (Still in the teens at night.)

    But another alternative in making a split, however, is to use a purchased (mated) queen instead of allowing the bees to requeen themselves. In a few weeks your local bee suppliers will have brought in the queens needed to make up spring nucs, perhaps you can locate one of those.

    However, with early splits (aside from the queen issue) the main issue is making sure there are enough bees to keep the existing brood in two colonies going on nights that may still be a challenge to keep at 95 F. A lot of bee bodies in a hive is what makes this possible; but half of a lot of bee bodies may not be able to cover the divided-up brood as there will be more exposure in two hives than in one.

    Clyderoad is near you and he will know what works in your area and offer excellent advice. Hope he sees this thread.

    Nancy

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Too early to split? Southern New York

    I know clyderoad from previous threads, but he has not "chimed in" as yet.
    thanks,

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Too early to split? Southern New York

    I know clyderoad from previous threads, but he has not "chimed in" as yet.
    thanks,

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Suffolk Co, NY, USA
    Posts
    3,666

    Default Re: Too early to split? Southern New York

    I agree it's too early, too cold and too unsettled. That's the weather part of it.

    The colony part is >too many old bees still in the hives and not enough young bees yet>very low populations to split up>large pancake size capped brood on just a couple to 3 frames then larvae then eggs- the bees know it's still cold and are holding back expanding broodnest>the few capped drone cells have just been capped and are still 10-14 days to emergence, at least a month from prime mating condition>maple just started blooming so lack of prime pollen and nectar forage.

    I'll just be equalizing soon, late season so far. Around dandelions (mid to late April or so) I reverse strong colonies and this is about the earliest I would even consider splitting boomers and would use a bought in mated queen then.
    Bay and ocean waters are still cold so more cold days yet to come. The high temp this time of year only lasts for a couple of hours so the actual days warmth is deceiving.
    Have a good season.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Too early to split? Southern New York

    Quote Originally Posted by clyderoad View Post
    I agree it's too early, too cold and too unsettled. That's the weather part of it.

    The colony part is >too many old bees still in the hives and not enough young bees yet>very low populations to split up>large pancake size capped brood on just a couple to 3 frames then larvae then eggs- the bees know it's still cold and are holding back expanding broodnest>the few capped drone cells have just been capped and are still 10-14 days to emergence, at least a month from prime mating condition>maple just started blooming so lack of prime pollen and nectar forage.

    I'll just be equalizing soon, late season so far. Around dandelions (mid to late April or so) I reverse strong colonies and this is about the earliest I would even consider splitting boomers and would use a bought in mated queen then.
    Bay and ocean waters are still cold so more cold days yet to come. The high temp this time of year only lasts for a couple of hours so the actual days warmth is deceiving.
    Have a good season.
    Thanks for the good advice as usual. You are spot on with everything you've mentioned.

    Larry

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