Combine to increase honey yield?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    113

    Default Combine to increase honey yield?

    I am a 3rd year hobbiest beekeeper. We are just starting our flow, and I would like to maximize the honey this year, while not reducing (hoping to increase actually) the number of hives going into winter.

    Here is my apiary (left to right, more or less in a line spanning about 25 feet total):

    • Hive 1: one deep, virgin queen, hopefully recovering from a bad start (I intend to leave it alone for now).
    • Hive 2: one deep and two mediums for brood, queen excluder, one medium for honey (just started).
    • Hive 3: one deep and two mediums for brood.
    • Hive 4: two deeps for brood, queen excluder, and one medium for honey (just started).


    Hives 2, 3, & 4 all have 2019 queens, brood frames are all drawn, with good stores of honey and pollen, and a reasonable amount of brood in each. They are all strongish and I have no concerns about them.

    Here is my thought - perhaps I can split hive 3, putting about 1/3 of its capped brood (with nurse bees) in hive 2, and 1/3 (again with nurse bees) in hive 4, and one of its medium boxes on each. Then I will move the remaining deep box with 1/3 of the brood and the queen about 100 ft away. This will all be done during the day when the foragers are out, with the anticipation they will drift into hives 3 and 4 when they do not find their home.

    I believe the two stronger hives should produce more honey than the 3, correct?

    If anyone has a better suggestion, I am all ears. I have plenty of equipment for other options (mediums, deeps, nucs, frames, "Palmer" double nucs, etc.) Thanks in advance!

    Greg

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: Combine to increase honey yield?

    Bump.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    New Haven, CT
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Combine to increase honey yield?

    Your thoughts on how to increase honey production don't seem unsupported from my reading, if not from my own personal experience.

    I presume your splitting would take (for example) one medium super for each of hives 2 & 4, and hive 3 would be moved 100 feet and re-establish itself from the deep super. Perhaps someone who has combined hives in the past as the honey flow starts can chime in to make recommendations based on his/her own experience.

    My suggestion is to 'go for it' and let us know how it worked. Unfortunately, your experiment will lack a control to let us know how they might have done without this intervention.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,545

    Default Re: Combine to increase honey yield?

    I think you would want to be quite confidant of your swarm prevention program otherwise you may be increasing swarm probability that would kill any honey harvest advantage. Roland figures he makes more honey with singles but has a well tested system to go with it including all deeps for brood and honey. Probably the nature of your flow would play into the benefits compared to someone with a quite different pattern.
    Frank

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: Combine to increase honey yield?

    Thank you both. For the moment, I haven't done it yet.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Spring Hill, Florida,USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Combine to increase honey yield?

    Quote Originally Posted by bushpilot View Post
    I am a 3rd year hobbiest beekeeper. We are just starting our flow, and I would like to maximize the honey this year, while not reducing (hoping to increase actually) the number of hives going into winter.

    Here is my apiary (left to right, more or less in a line spanning about 25 feet total):

    • Hive 1: one deep, virgin queen, hopefully recovering from a bad start (I intend to leave it alone for now).
    • Hive 2: one deep and two mediums for brood, queen excluder, one medium for honey (just started).
    • Hive 3: one deep and two mediums for brood.
    • Hive 4: two deeps for brood, queen excluder, and one medium for honey (just started).


    Hives 2, 3, & 4 all have 2019 queens, brood frames are all drawn, with good stores of honey and pollen, and a reasonable amount of brood in each. They are all strongish and I have no concerns about them.

    Here is my thought - perhaps I can split hive 3, putting about 1/3 of its capped brood (with nurse bees) in hive 2, and 1/3 (again with nurse bees) in hive 4, and one of its medium boxes on each. Then I will move the remaining deep box with 1/3 of the brood and the queen about 100 ft away. This will all be done during the day when the foragers are out, with the anticipation they will drift into hives 3 and 4 when they do not find their home.

    I believe the two stronger hives should produce more honey than the 3, correct?

    If anyone has a better suggestion, I am all ears. I have plenty of equipment for other options (mediums, deeps, nucs, frames, "Palmer" double nucs, etc.) Thanks in advance!

    Greg
    Here is what I would do.


    Take the 2 mediums from hive 3 and put it above hive 1 over excluder.
    Put another deep above hive 3 (no excluder) for the flow to draw new comb.

    Put excluder between deep and mediums on hive 2.

    Split hive 4 into to 2 deeps and add another deep to each (no excluder) to draw comb. Allow queenless split to raise new queen. This hive will produce allot of honey.

    Why? As brood hatches out of the mediums in hive 1 and 2 they fill it with honey. Hive 3 and 4 will give you at least 20 new drawn deep frames 30 with good flow.
    After extraction remove excluders spread out combs, feed heavy and check mite counts.

    Make sure you have upper entrance for drones that hatch.

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