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Hello Everyone,

I was hoping to get some opinions and strategies as to best handle splitting in a northern state where colony survival and temperatures are always a variable. I understand colony surviavability is on me and I am figuring that out as I go.But every year I find myself in the same spot, whatever hives come through winter start building up in March/April and I end up having to stack more and more boxes on top so that they don't swarm. The issue is that there are not enough local drones in MN to do walkaways so I am left trying to scramble to find queens to do splits. Am I best off getting on an ordering list to have queens shipped to me in early to mid-April? Otherwise I end up with hives of 6 deeps waiting for queens to become available. I worry about this on the off chance I have a bad year and have more queens than I could use. But that may be the risk of otherwise ending up where I am now. So if I go in to Winter with 30 hives that look strong, order 30 queens for mid-April? How do you northern state people handle this issue? (Hopefully I'm not the only one... :) )

Thank you all in advance for your input!

PD
 

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5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
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what are the 30 queens for?
splits? or re queening?

so what is wrong with splitting in July when the weather is better and you have drones?
can use 20 for production and 10 for splitting.
I presume you do have swarms. Can you watch the hives to see which one swarms?
Often you then open it and find many (20-30) capped cells.

Or find a queen producer who will agree to send you queens early.
So order 15 for early for the biggest hives and then 15 6 weeks later.
if you have a few extra either over winter in the side by side NUC set up or sell a few NUCs locally, or cancel the second order..

GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
what are the 30 queens for?
splits? or re queening?

so what is wrong with splitting in July when the weather is better and you have drones?
can use 20 for production and 10 for splitting.
I presume you do have swarms. Can you watch the hives to see which one swarms?
Often you then open it and find many (20-30) capped cells.

Or find a queen producer who will agree to send you queens early.
So order 15 for early for the biggest hives and then 15 6 weeks later.
if you have a few extra either over winter in the side by side NUC set up or sell a few NUCs locally, or cancel the second order..

GG
Thanks for the quick reply GG, I appreciate the insight. The 30 queens (hypothetically) would be for mostly splitting and possibly a few requeenings where needed. There is nothing wrong with splitting in July but I don't like hives getting too big before our main flows start here. Local nuc producers typically don't do pick ups until early June to have sufficient drones. So I am leaning towards purchasing queens to stay on top of it. Right now my only options are really to stack extra boxes on my double deeps until I can have queens to split. I will have to start reaching out to producers to see if I can get on their list for next year.
 

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You should look into Mike Palmer's strategy. That is what I am gearing up for. It allows for making nucs in the spring/summer and over wintering them. That way you have mated queens in nucs that you can use. You have a single box split in 2, so you can then take one of the queens for your new split, do a newpaper combine on the nucs. You have just split your big hive, built a another strong hive out of the 2 nucs/ combined. You may need to make another split a bit later just to prevent swarming but you can do that when queens are more readily available. Also, I want some fresh queens in the fall, for most of my hives, I think they tapper off the 2nd spring buildup. Fresh fall queens won't have to lay a huge amount of brood before next spring.
 

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You should look into Mike Palmer's strategy. That is what I am gearing up for. It allows for making nucs in the spring/summer and over wintering them. That way you have mated queens in nucs that you can use. You have a single box split in 2, so you can then take one of the queens for your new split, do a newpaper combine on the nucs. You have just split your big hive, built a another strong hive out of the 2 nucs/ combined. You may need to make another split a bit later just to prevent swarming but you can do that when queens are more readily available. Also, I want some fresh queens in the fall, for most of my hives, I think they tapper off the 2nd spring buildup. Fresh fall queens won't have to lay a huge amount of brood before next spring.
I’m working on this also. Going to run 8 of the double nucs and a few weak singles this winter over double screen boards if things go good this summer.
I think to get early queens you need to be calling the Florida queen producers in January with what you hope to need. I got in with a California queen supplier this spring for last week by the skin of my teeth in March. Everyone else was sold out already for this early.
 

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You should look into Mike Palmer's strategy. That is what I am gearing up for. It allows for making nucs in the spring/summer and over wintering them. That way you have mated queens in nucs that you can use. You have a single box split in 2, so you can then take one of the queens for your new split, do a newpaper combine on the nucs. You have just split your big hive, built a another strong hive out of the 2 nucs/ combined. You may need to make another split a bit later just to prevent swarming but you can do that when queens are more readily available. Also, I want some fresh queens in the fall, for most of my hives, I think they tapper off the 2nd spring buildup. Fresh fall queens won't have to lay a huge amount of brood before next spring.
I have wintered 5-frame nucs here, near Chicago, so it is possible in some pretty cold and long winters. The only winterizing I did was to place a second nuc on top which was stuffed with insulation, and a sugar block in top the frames.
 

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I have wintered 5-frame nucs here, near Chicago, so it is possible in some pretty cold and long winters. The only winterizing I did was to place a second nuc on top which was stuffed with insulation, and a sugar block in top the frames.
I assume all frames in your nuc were full of honey, with the exception of a couple. Why did you put an insulated nuc on top of the nuc. Was it open to the bottom nuc. Please explain, since I haven't had any luck getting my nucs through. Thanks, Old Kentucky
 

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I have not done this with nucs yet, but I built a 4" box with screen wire on the bottom, filled with wood shavings, then a luan top. The idea of this, is to provide some insulation yet will allow moisture to migrate through, if it condenses on the top then it should be absorbed by the shavings, thus preventing it from dripping on the bees. I plan to do the same with my nucs this winter. I also plan to use a divided ten frame box to make 2 four frame nucs and 4 frame deep nuc boxes as a double on each one. Mike Palmer does it very similar.
 

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I assume all frames in your nuc were full of honey, with the exception of a couple. Why did you put an insulated nuc on top of the nuc. Was it open to the bottom nuc. Please explain, since I haven't had any luck getting my nucs through. Thanks, Old Kentucky
I put the sugar blocks on because the frames were empty and the bees needed food. On top of that I put a nuc, stuffed full of insulation, so the bees would have a warm, comfy place to make their winter ball, directly under the sugar, under the insulation.
 
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