Double deckers and triple deckers completely filled...what are our options?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Sacramento County, CA
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    877

    Default Double deckers and triple deckers completely filled...what are our options?

    Hi everyone!

    Not sure how it happened, but we are seeing a significant number of our colonies filled to overflowing with honey, nectar, pollen, and new bees.

    This did not happen last year. Last year, most colonies in the summer went to nearly zero honey and we had to feed every colony.

    I noticed drone cells still being laid and still lots of drones in colonies, and I do not see the ladies kicking any drones out yet here.

    So, what are my options?

    Our goal is to increase colony numbers, not sell honey [we live near massive almond orchards].

    I just restarted making many, many queen cells again after stopping last June.

    Can I take a double decker and make 4-10 nucs or is it too late?

    Would it be better to just split or quarter each double decker and load the queen cells?

    Can I get away with two frame nucs so late in the season?

    Please help us out with some good advice.

    Thanks,

    Soar

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
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    3,718

    Default Re: Double deckers and triple deckers completely filled...what are our options?

    Soar, can't give you any advice since my experience and timing is all about the mid-Atlantic, but did want to say "Good job"!

    Every nuc you make now that gets to 8 frames by the end of Jan is worth $160-180 in pollination fees right?
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    6,770

    Default Re: Double deckers and triple deckers completely filled...what are our options?

    I see the eucalyptus budding up down here. You should be good unless there is a hellish winter. Don't get greedy. Make your divides strong enough to build up. Three frames of brood and two of honey. Keep them dry and feed as needed. Put an apivar strip in each.
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    El Dorado County, CA
    Posts
    609

    Default Re: Double deckers and triple deckers completely filled...what are our options?

    on the conservative side your where you want to be dont screw it up.
    im feeling the change of season. i wouldnt bet the farm at this time.
    we dont make much advance without some risk. id make up nucs that dont compromise
    the established colonies. make splits from surplus.
    remember that splits are feeders for established colonies and its robbing season.
    when given star thistle make honey

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
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    3,597

    Default Re: Double deckers and triple deckers completely filled...what are our options?

    Our experiance tells us late splits are A poor investment. It is important bees heading into winter cluster have a solid population with a well well balanced caste. This normally takes around 2 brood cycles after the time of a split. Having said that, large numbers of drones are often the precursor to swarms in crowded hives. Depending on what strain of bees you have you may still have have 2 brood cycles left before the end of the season. Italians here in the Finger Lakes often lay into November, Carniolans will shut down the 2nd week of October so not a good bet this late. If your hives have been treated for mites at least a month prior to doing splits, you have a large population and you have the experiance and time to manage them splits are still possible. Do you have quick access to young laying queens and can you get the splits done in the next few days? If not, better to winter strong hives and make splits next spring. Good winter patties and a late winter;early spring season brood builder patties on strong hives will give you some nice monsters in the spring And you can make increase at a time when nature supports that effort. We make our splits in the spring by making 6 nucs from a strong hive Andy building them up during good bloom and warm weather at our South Carolina winter yards. In the mean time I would suggest to keep an eye on the hives with large drone populations and be ready to do some swarm intervention if necessary.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Double deckers and triple deckers completely filled...what are our options?

    Last year in splitter my around this time and all survived winter w/o any issue. Double decker should be fine with 5 or 6 nucs. If you have laying queen soon then it should build up fast. I am in the valley and the colony still bring in pollen all the way to November. The full size colony still rearing brood throughout the winter.


    This year there are plenty of nectar. Just check my hive couple days ago and each colony managed to filled up with a 1.5 super after an extraction about 1 month ago. Previously there are extra nectar/sugar from mid summer to fall but only a third of this year

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Sacramento County, CA
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    877

    Default Re: Double deckers and triple deckers completely filled...what are our options?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Soar, can't give you any advice since my experience and timing is all about the mid-Atlantic, but did want to say "Good job"!

    Every nuc you make now that gets to 8 frames by the end of Jan is worth $160-180 in pollination fees right?
    JW, thank you for your kind words!

    Regarding rental prices, last year, the going rate for many of us was $200 per 7 frame colony. If we went with a contractor, we were paid $180 per 7 frame colony. I recently read a scientific data chart that clearly depicts the rate of growth of almond orchards growing significantly faster than the growth of the USA honeybee population. This can only equate to one result: higher rental fees because the demand will continue to outpace the supply.

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    I see the eucalyptus budding up down here. You should be good unless there is a hellish winter. Don't get greedy. Make your divides strong enough to build up. Three frames of brood and two of honey. Keep them dry and feed as needed. Put an apivar strip in each.
    Hi Frank! Thanks for the good advice. We been using that Oxivap 110 with amazing results. As a triple safety, we hope to install Apivar toward the end of the month. Presently, haven't found even one live mite. When done correctly [good vaporizer, 10 minutes sealed, and proper dosages], that OA vaporization was worked wonders for us here.

    I think you have the red gum in your vicinity? It blooms earlier than the blue gum. Here, we have the blue gum. Last year it bloomed from Oct-June.

    Quote Originally Posted by stangardener View Post
    on the conservative side your where you want to be dont screw it up.
    im feeling the change of season. i wouldnt bet the farm at this time.
    we dont make much advance without some risk. id make up nucs that dont compromise
    the established colonies. make splits from surplus.
    remember that splits are feeders for established colonies and its robbing season.
    Good advice stangardener! That's the plan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel View Post
    Our experiance tells us late splits are A poor investment. It is important bees heading into winter cluster have a solid population with a well well balanced caste. This normally takes around 2 brood cycles after the time of a split. Having said that, large numbers of drones are often the precursor to swarms in crowded hives. Depending on what strain of bees you have you may still have have 2 brood cycles left before the end of the season. Italians here in the Finger Lakes often lay into November, Carniolans will shut down the 2nd week of October so not a good bet this late. If your hives have been treated for mites at least a month prior to doing splits, you have a large population and you have the experiance and time to manage them splits are still possible. Do you have quick access to young laying queens and can you get the splits done in the next few days? If not, better to winter strong hives and make splits next spring. Good winter patties and a late winter;early spring season brood builder patties on strong hives will give you some nice monsters in the spring And you can make increase at a time when nature supports that effort. We make our splits in the spring by making 6 nucs from a strong hive Andy building them up during good bloom and warm weather at our South Carolina winter yards. In the mean time I would suggest to keep an eye on the hives with large drone populations and be ready to do some swarm intervention if necessary.
    Joel, last year when we attempted small two frame nucs in Sept. we experienced a 90% failure rate. Our March nucs were 100% success rate. So for us, following the honeybees natural rhythms appears to be most successful. But this year is much different than last year. This year, we still have a pollen and nectar flow [last year nada], we had massive mite infestations last year [many virgin queens had mites attached to them] this year, no mites, and last year major problem with robbing. This year, minimal robbing. So huge differences for us from last year to this year.

    We have a many, many different varieties of honeybees. We only purchased one colony and I think that one died. All our colonies are the results of capturing swarms and then splitting and lots of queen cell grafting. So we have bees that are totally black [look and act like carniolians], we have some colonies where the bees are huge, gentle, and nearly totally bright yellow [this is the first year I have ever seen them like this, and I will graft some queen cells this week from that queen], and we have other bees that look/perform like Russians and some that look/perform like Italians. We worked hard this year in our attempt to radically change most of our colonies. We attempted this by grafting from only one queen from March-June and this queen and her bees far outperformed any colony we have ever had [she was laying massive eggs in December and January, her colony was much stronger than any we have ever seen, super, super gentle, etc.] Her qualities and her daughter's and grand daughter's qualities are absolutely amazing.

    Quote Originally Posted by tom0354 View Post
    Last year in splitter my around this time and all survived winter w/o any issue. Double decker should be fine with 5 or 6 nucs. If you have laying queen soon then it should build up fast. I am in the valley and the colony still bring in pollen all the way to November. The full size colony still rearing brood throughout the winter.


    This year there are plenty of nectar. Just check my hive couple days ago and each colony managed to filled up with a 1.5 super after an extraction about 1 month ago. Previously there are extra nectar/sugar from mid summer to fall but only a third of this year
    Tom, thanks for the reply. Yes, it has truly been a wonderful year for beekeepers in Sacramento Valley!

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Yuba County, California, USA
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    6,546

    Default Re: Double deckers and triple deckers completely filled...what are our options?

    If you are seriously trying to do it now, it can be done.
    Do not use any foundation, it's too late for them to draw much if any wax now.
    Purchase queens for the splits, it's getting too late to raise them for over winter.
    If you do it this way, you should have good success, even this late.
    You are a little bit too late to be raising queens for doing this. I've done it, but I had cells placed into the nucs by first week in September. You are 2-3 weeks late I'd say.
    If you want to play it safe, then just pull one box splits off of your three box hives.
    I wish you continued luck and success Dirk, good going on you.
    Live real time bee chat, most evenings...
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  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    6,770

    Default Re: Double deckers and triple deckers completely filled...what are our options?

    Our born 8/3 batch are doing spectacular, with brood patches like this by 8/27. We have this lineup (23 total) born yesterday (9/7) with beautiful mating weather slated for next week. We had September batches born 9/26 last year and previous years in which we made many mistakes.

    Too late. MAKE DIVIDES IN JUNE, JULY AUGUST
    Not mini mating nucs, should be full size divides
    PLACE IN FULL SUN, SUNNY WARM SPOT.
    Telescope lid all nucs with feederboard and extra medium. KEEP DRY. NO EXPOSED FEEDER CAPS, THEY LEAK.
    Secure watertight covered feeder jars

    FEED WITH WINTER PATTIES, NO LEAKING JARS for robbers

    PACK WITH HONEY

    TIGHT WATERPROOF NUCS, PAN COVERS
    TIGHT ENTRANCES
    NO VIRUS RIDDEN DIVIDES
    KEEP FEEDING THEM.
    TELESCOPING COVERS!!!!!
    Keep at home yard where you can keep a daily eye on them.




    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Sacramento County, CA
    Posts
    877

    Default Re: Double deckers and triple deckers completely filled...what are our options?

    Thanks guys...

    Jeez Frank...50 years of beekeeping?

    I better keep my mouth shut and listen!

    I feel like a little poly wog in my dad's sac talking to the grandfather clock on Captain Kangaroo.

    Crap...are you guys saying I should throw away my newly grafted queen cells? Is there any possibility they will still emerge, fly, mate, and live happily ever after?

    And Frank, I do have a question...

    I was looking at your lovely nucs and admiring them deeply, but...I can't seem to see even one bee...

    Wasssup?

    I am posting a couple of pics of two of our bee yards. I took the pics today. One has irrigated green clover and grass and it makes the ground temps lower in the hot summers. We presently have 4 yards.

    Cheers fellow beeks!3.JPG
    Attached Images Attached Images
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    • File Type: jpg 5.jpg (35.1 KB, 26 views)
    Last edited by soarwitheagles; 09-08-2019 at 11:27 PM.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Yuba County, California, USA
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    6,546

    Default Re: Double deckers and triple deckers completely filled...what are our options?

    Quote Originally Posted by soarwitheagles View Post
    Thanks guys...

    Jeez Frank...50 years of beekeeping?

    I better keep my mouth shut and listen!

    ...Crap...are you guys saying I should throw away my newly grafted queen cells? Is there any possibility they will still emerge, fly, mate, and live happily ever after?

    3.JPG
    I certainly can't compete with Mr. Frank's experience!

    I have a question...
    Do you intend for these splits to be strong enough for almond pollination next spring? That will be a determining factor if and how strong to make your splits.
    I would split since you already have the cells started. Many times hives will requeen themselves in September and October in our areas, and you are seeing drones in your hives. I would make them stronger with no foundation frames, only drawn comb, brood and stores. An 8 frame split will cells should do well enough. A lot will depend on weather also, it might be a harsher winter than these past few years have been. in the end it's your choice. Sometimes I tend to play a risky game, how about you?
    Live real time bee chat, most evenings...
    https://www.rumbletalk.com/client/chat.php?4%40HY_hmJ

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,597

    Thumbs Up Re: Double deckers and triple deckers completely filled...what are our options?

    THas a rule, when I do a response without knowingly the background of a Beekeepers raising a question I try to do it aimed at someone who may have minimal experience unless i know better. clearly you are working at an advanced level and knowing that i will add....we have had great success with late season splits by making our goal to build a strong, well stocked 5 frame nuc and then overwintering that. WE experimented for several years wintering nucs in different configurations (My trials and tribulations can be found in the archives here) and found in our area 5 frame styrofoam nucs worked best...although we have also done carboard 5’ers and 4’s, both inside and out with limited success......I like your approach to Beekeeping and your screen name says a lot..Good luck and keep us posted as to what you’re doing!
    One other thing.....right now there are a couple hundred Beekeepers online asking “who is Captain Kangaroo?” Of course we know he was a war hero but hated meeses To pieces”

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