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Good morning, I have a super strong hive,2 deeps and 1 medium. It still has honey in it.All three boxes are full of bees. It hit 80 degrees yesterday, but only 35 today. My plan was to get a new queen and split, but queens are not available till May. Should I split when it warms up and let them produce a new queen? I did put on a super yesterday to give them more room. I've never done a split before. Thanks for your comments. KAD
 

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Good morning, I have a super strong hive,2 deeps and 1 medium. It still has honey in it.All three boxes are full of bees. It hit 80 degrees yesterday, but only 35 today. My plan was to get a new queen and split, but queens are not available till May. Should I split when it warms up and let them produce a new queen? I did put on a super yesterday to give them more room. I've never done a split before. Thanks for your comments. KAD
If you are at the point of swarming in your area, I recommend the following procedure as it works well for me. Find your queen and move her and the frame she is on to a separate box. Give her two more frames of brood and bees and surround that split with frames with and without stores. This can be done by juggling frames in your existing brood boxes. Replace any frames missing in the brood boxes on the now queenless hives bottom board. Note! Make sure no swarm cells are in that bottom brood box/s!

Put a queen excluder over queenless colony and stack on two supers. Without brood to raise they will be storing surplus honey. Put an excluder over the supers and set the queen and her split on top. She will have lots of room to lay and will get at it. This top split needs an entrance of their own however you want to provide it. Since my boxes are just pine not teak or walnut, I just drill a 1" hole right below the handhold on the front of the box. I am not concerned about drifting!

The queenless colony below will start producing emergency cells and no matter how populous will not be in a position to swarm. The queen on top will keep on laying. As the new nurse bees below run out of brood to raise, they will tend to move up to the smell of brood above and the top colony will rapidly expand. Eight days after this manuever one may inspect the colony below to harvest spare emergency cells if you wish leaving the best two cells on the face of the same frame to requeen the base colony. What I normally do is put on additional supers for the colony below and if the split has need of room above, I put a queen excluder above and super the top of the stack as well.

After a month I tear down the stack and make sure the base colony has requeened, They never all do! If requeened, I move the colony on top to their own bottom board and keep supering both, it is still in my honey flow. IF your latitude requires a second brood box, you need to decide when it is supplied. When I had no spare brood boxes, I would put a deep box full of foundation on for a super. When the honeyflow was over, I would extract it and put that box back on and feed it full of 2:1 syrup. If the base colony failed to requeen, I simply recombine the colony. You may not have got a new colony with a young queen, but you produced a lot of honey from a colony that did not swarm!

As I get older and fatter, the amount of work is not appealing but I still do it.
 

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As I get older and fatter, the amount of work is not appealing but I still do it.
Wow, Vance, that is a lot of work!

I just do a false swarm: find the queen, move her into another box with frames of brood and stores, shake in a bunch of bees, and put the box somewhere. Foragers shook in will fly back to the first hive while house bees grow up in the new hive. The old hive lost the queen and bees, so they seem to think they have swarmed and raise a new queen while the new hive (with the old queen) has only nurse bees so feed them.
 

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kadeal: There are a seemingly infinite number of ways to do a split. It can get confusing. The following link is one of the best breakdowns I have found of the how, when and why to do a split for a beginner beekeeper. Read through them and pick which one best suits your current conditions, needs and confidence level. Splits are one of the more fun activities of apiary management. Enjoy and good luck.

 

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I'm sort of in the same situation as Kadeal with 5 super strong hive, double deeps, one with an additional medium, plenty of stores with an early tree and spring flower flow. While we haven't hit 90 yet, we're pretty consistent with upper 50's to upper 60's F. The end of the week we're looking at a couple a days with night freezes and upper 30's as daytime highs. The larger problem with Kadeal's and my situation is that we are not yet (at least I'm not) seeing any drones so even with an emergency cell, what's a girl gonna do, all dressed up and no where to go?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Vance, isn't it a bit early to be splitting in Minnesota? I am just now seeing flying drones down here in Richmond, VA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Vance, isn't it a bit early to be splitting in Minnesota? I am just now seeing flying drones down here in Richmond, VA.
Thanks for the reply's. My next question how warm should it be during a split. Like I said 80 yesterday, 30 today, with lows in the 20's. I'm in western MN.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the reply's. My next question how warm should it be during a split. Like I said 80 yesterday, 30 today, with lows in the 20's. I'm in western MN.
So I should have drones to do a split?
 

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I was joking, I'm the father of 4 millennials, but along with the girl (queen) you need a boy (drone and a lot of them) to make babies (workers). What I was trying to point out that unless you can buy a mated queen, if you did a split now and developed an emergency queen, how would she mate unless drones are flying. If you are going to mate at anytime, especially now as early as it is, you want as many drones available to her as possible to ensure the best outcome for her to be a great breeder. If you too early, she may get "under mated" and you will not have a successful colony. There was a thread a few weeks ago about mating success rates and some very experienced bee keepers were having some issues. I think you're like me, a few years in, not a lot on experience and just entering the next step of splits, grafting and queen rearing. I would assume you're in a colder region than I am- I'm near the coast in a climate closer to JW Palmer. If you read his post, he said he's just seeing drones flying now. I am hoping to do some splits once some queens are available from specific breeders and they're not ready for a few more (at least) weeks. In the mean time, I've added a third deep (see my thread that I'm about to post) to get some deep frames build out with comb and some brood hopefully to support my splits. One thing new guys don't have usually is extra frames of comb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I was joking, I'm the father of 4 millennials, but along with the girl (queen) you need a boy (drone and a lot of them) to make babies (workers). What I was trying to point out that unless you can buy a mated queen, if you did a split now and developed an emergency queen, how would she mate unless drones are flying. If you are going to mate at anytime, especially now as early as it is, you want as many drones available to her as possible to ensure the best outcome for her to be a great breeder. If you too early, she may get "under mated" and you will not have a successful colony. There was a thread a few weeks ago about mating success rates and some very experienced bee keepers were having some issues. I think you're like me, a few years in, not a lot on experience and just entering the next step of splits, grafting and queen rearing. I would assume you're in a colder region than I am- I'm near the coast in a climate closer to JW Palmer. If you read his post, he said he's just seeing drones flying now. I am hoping to do some splits once some queens are available from specific breeders and they're not ready for a few more (at least) weeks. In the mean time, I've added a third deep (see my thread that I'm about to post) to get some deep frames build out with comb and some brood hopefully to support my splits. One thing new guys don't have usually is extra frames of comb.
Thank you Larry, I'm a novice just trying to learn. This forum is priceless. Thanks for the info.
 

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I thought the birds and the bees comment was funny. When you see capped drone cells, the funny looking ones with the rounded tops, wait one additional week and then you can split and have the bees raise their own queen. By the time she is ready for her big day on the town, the drones will be ready to oblige.
 

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You and me both-figure in 20 years or so, we'll both have around half the knowledge on bees that we should-getting there's the fun part!
 

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kadeal, I just realized no-one answered the question about temperature. Generally, you want the nights to be in the 40's, but a day or two lower won't hurt if the split is strong. We have been upper thirties to fifties at night, but are about to have two nights below freezing. I have one weaker split that may lose some brood as a result but the split itself should survive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
kadeal, I just realized no-one answered the question about temperature. Generally, you want the nights to be in the 40's, but a day or two lower won't hurt if the split is strong. We have been upper thirties to fifties at night, but are about to have two nights below freezing. I have one weaker split that may lose some brood as a result but the split itself should survive.
Thank you for your response. Like I said I'm a novice. A 67 year old one!
 

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can reduce the entrance, to 2 -3 bee widths, even if just from 8pm to 8am.
could wrap, place foam on lid, wind protection. prep the split for a mini "cold time"

GG
 

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Vance, isn't it a bit early to be splitting in Minnesota? I am just now seeing flying drones down here in Richmond, VA.
I am not in Minnesota and there is snow on the ground in Montana today. I perform this procedure right before my crystal ball tells me hives are going to swarm. For my area that is the last week of April, maybe a few days earlier this spring. It is indeed a lot of work but can result in phenomenal honey production.
 

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I want to see drones flying from my colonies. I have to guess that Minnesota will be at least a few weeks behind Illinois. The last few years swarms have started in late May, so I would split a little before that as long as the drones are flying.
 
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