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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
OK, So I had this big colony: 3 deeps plus 2 meds - absolutely packed with bees. I have been both opening the brood nest and modestly (because I have next to zero extra comb) checkerboarding in an attempt to keep them from swarming.

Steady run of a couple of queen cups every week or so over the six weeks or so. Today, about 6 or 7, all dry and removed.

Didn't see Queen Buttercup (as usual) on the way down through and was packing the stack up again and assorting the frames in order to add yet another deep, when I found her and quickly slapped on a push-in cage. Hooray! Now since I rarely see her I figured it was fated that today was the day and switched over to doing a cut-down.

My mind has been so packed with all the varieties of splits that I made an enormous, 180-degree, error:

I knew that the one w/o the queen had to have a frame with eggs or very young larva. I did that part right. It's a whole perfect frame of eggs. But I then made sure that the queen got almost all of the frames of capped brood. I think in my mind I was thinking that the capped brood would preoccupy her bees (less swarm) and of course, she could make more eggs as she has been doing like a champ.

But I realize now that I should have given her most of the OPEN brood (minus the frame with the doings to cook up a new queen) and the new colony all the capped brood. The queen got about 60 % of the capped honey and the rest went to the new colony. The open nectar went mostly to the new colony,which is now in two deeps and one medium. I made sure the open brood frames were well packed together and around the egg-frame to make them easy to cover - rather than slightly stretched out as I have been doing.

I care not one whit about making honey so the cut-down to increase honey production part of this type of split matters little. I am only interested in preventing swarming and doing a division of this too-large-to-manage colony.

I have the usual anxiety that I may have somehow doomed the original queen, her transfer off the frame of eggs didn't go quite as smoothly as I would have liked, but I know she is in the right box and I'm pretty sure she's OK, though I didn't see her after getting her in.

And I should have put the new colony in the old place, rather than beside it, but that is easily (HAH!) reversible tomorrow (or another day) to equalize the foragers.

But my main worry is the transposition of the capped and open brood thing. It seems to me that I have actually made the swarm risk HIGHER now that the queen will have all those soon to be hatched bees to fly with - and all the honey to leave behind.

This is such a big colony and by the time I was through I was enveloped in cloud of angry confused bees so I can't tell how well I've divided the total number of bees yet.

So what say you? Is this a catastrophe that must be fixed at first light? Or should I wait and see? Have I doomed my bees to failure or swarming or supercedure?

I started with three deeps and two mediums and I ended up with (by stretching and adding in every last scrap of comb) a TOTAL of five deeps and three mediums between the two colonies so I didn't completely double the space. But then I also probably killed a few hundred by accident, so there's that.

You know my grandmother at my age, 64, kept her spirits up with embroidery. What the heck am I doing hauling heavy deeps up and down a step ladder to divide my bees?

Please tell me the truth - though I can't help but say that I'm hoping that it's alright the way it is. I'll do whatever is necessary to remedy my screw-up. Remember, too, that I'm not interested in honey so if this messes up production, that's OK. I only want to keep Queen B alive and living in her lovely yellow house and to brew up another one of her daughters.

Thanks a million for your advice.

Enj.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Tom-

I am familiar with his writing - and have his book. That's the basis for my believing that I did it utterly wrong.

This is completely my own confusion about which category of brood should go where in which kind of split. I know I've got the essential thing correct: queenless hive has only full frame with eggs. But it's the rest of the brood frames that I think I've put with the wrong hive. Is this a critical error, do you think?

Enj.
 

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You remind me of me. LOL

I made a split last year and got so nervous about it that I recombined it with the original hive the next day. After making a few splits this year, I have figured this out. Don't sweat it.

Were there queen cells in the hive? If not, they aren't going to swarm within the next week anyway. You said you were not concerned about honey and if you want to make more hives, now's your chance. Since you put the queen in with the capped brood, she's soon to have a lot of empty frames to lay more eggs in. That means you can do a half and half split again very soon. You are soon to have at least a few queen cells in the queenless split. If you want more bees, take frames of capped brood and bees out of Queen Buttercups hive. (named for The Princess Bride character?) Put a few frames of bees and brood with a queen cell. I used 2 frames of bees here, but up Nawth you may need to use more.
 

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There are probably 12 ways to split a hive. You did one of them. I don't understand the problem. So the queen is with the capped brood? You do realize that the open brood will look like the capped brood in a week or so? I can't imagine a way to split a hive that would doom it except if you left one half without any eggs or young larva and I bet you couldn't do that if you tried by splitting the brood between hives.
 

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Just make sure the queen's hive has a frame with pollen and nectar. If all she has are young bees, they might starve before they are mature enough to forage. Switching the hive placement should also solve that potential problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Brad,

You recombined a split - OMG, the thought of reversing this mess is enough to make me cry!

(Though truth be told, once I reversed a Michael Bush style 50 yard move last summer in the middle of raging thunderstorm, at night, when the bees started WALKING, well really drowning, their way back to the old place. It remains one of my nightmare experiences.)

And, no I don't want to make more hives. Perish the thought! If I could keep just my original three, I would be happy beyond words. But everybody says I have to divide them into at least one nuc per year to manage swarming, so I'm trying to do that, though reluctantly. I was tickled to get all of them through the winter, but dismayed to think if I succeed at that each year my hive count will double, annually. But people scoffed at my worries since it must be only beginner's luck to have managed that first year beekeeper's party trick.

So you don't think I should drag all the capped brood out of the Queen's hive and sub in the open brood from the new queen-less one (minus the all-important egg/young larva frame from which they will make the new girl)? Now as I am sitting here I am wondering if I left enough of the right kind of nectar and pollen in the queenless hive to feed all that open brood (well, it's a total of five frames of mostly open brood). I can feed in some honey I have stored and pollen patties - what do you think?

My husband just asked, why are we doing this? Aside from finding bees fascinating, I'm not sure tonight.

Enj.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Bruce,

OK, I get it, I did a perfect example of the little-known, Muddle-Headed Split! As long as the Queen is alive and well in her hive - and I'm pretty sure of that, but of course I won't be positive until I see fresh eggs in that stack - then 'm good. Because I know for certain that the other hive got a beautiful fresh frame of tiny eggs and larva from which they can make their own queen.

Ruth,

I'm very sure there is lots of open nectar and pollen (and capped honey) in the Queen's stack. Less sure, but not terribly worried, either, about the new hive, but as you say, if I reverse the position of the boxes to equalize the foragers tomorrow or Thursday that will take care of that somewhat. I can also probably switch around some of the frames with open nectar and pollen in the mediums w/o having to poke rudely down into the brood areas in the upper deeps below. Though after all this fuss if they go on the attack tomorrow when they hear my screendoor close, I won't be surprised. No more nice sweet bees for awhile, I think.

Thank you both for chiming in. This bee stuff is not for the faint of heart, is it?

Enj.
 

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I had. Weak have and a strong one. I put the weak one on the stong hive's stand and just moved the strong hive a couple of feet to the side. Both hives now seem to be doing OK.

Hopefully you won't have to move the hives any great distance.

I am your age and although the bee thing is physically challenging I don't think Luminosity has anything on it for stimulating e mind:)
 

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I can't imagine a way to split a hive that would doom it except if you left one half without any eggs.
Beedeetee is basically right unless you are splitting too early or too late in the year.

Just relax. The bees know what they are doing. They want it to work more than you do. Your self-perceived mistake is so minor, it's not worth sweating and certainly not worth trying to "fix" until you see how it goes for a week.
 

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I'm mentally tired with these bees and myself.

I think certain traits of personalities should avoid beekeeping for their own sake and bees also.

I fit in here I guess:
http://psychcentral.com/disorders/obsessive-compulsive-personality-disorder-symptoms/

Please don't get me wrong. I really am tired of myself... every evening going through the nucs to find virgin queens(I know I shouldn't but I cannot help it), see if I still have those cells I started etc.

Poor bees :(

Cristian
 

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You need not worry so much. Its the end of may and you made a split, they should be fine. Allow the bees time to raise a queen and get her mated. Check back again in the end of june to sew if there is brood in the new split.
Look on the bright side, which could be either way, if they make it you now have a back up queen incase something happens to onw of yours, or the other bright side, if they fail you recombine into 1 hive and you have your 3 hives that you don't want to go over.
 

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Enjambres, this was such a great read! My husband and i haven't gotten to the point of fretting over splits yet, but already, there has been many a buckled brow and much hand wringing. Isn't it thrilling? :)
 

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I split a week ago and then split my split after I realized how many queen cells I had. I keep wanting to peek and see what's up. Are all those bees going back to the original hive? Are any bees returning to the new one? Much second guessing and hand wringing here as well. I just have to hope the bees know what they are doing, even if I don't. I haven't made any terrible mistakes YET.
 

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I did my first split on Monday, so glad to see I have company in the "Anxiety Gallery".

Actually, this was my second split. The first one being a Muddle-Headed Split for sure. I was a new beek with 6 weeks experience. After seeing so much drone brood and no queen I was convinced I had laying workers in one of my hives. So, being inexperienced, I did what the book said and dumped the hive in my front yard and took the frames back to the hive in the backyard and put in a new queen. Then I noticed there was a fist sized cluster on the box I dumped them out of in the front yard. I moved the box to the back porch so as not to startle the mail delivery. After a few days this cluster started building comb. And they kept building comb. And then I started seeing capped brood. A local beek came over and put them in a Nuc. To this day I swear there was no queen in that hive, but obviously there was. Beekeeping is, at times, a humbling experiment, isn't it?
 

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I'm mentally tired with these bees and myself.

I think certain traits of personalities should avoid beekeeping for their own sake and bees also.

I fit in here I guess:
http://psychcentral.com/disorders/obsessive-compulsive-personality-disorder-symptoms/

Please don't get me wrong. I really am tired of myself... every evening going through the nucs to find virgin queens(I know I shouldn't but I cannot help it), see if I still have those cells I started etc.

Poor bees :(

Cristian
Though I have very little anxiety concerning my bees, and how they are doing. I began and continue to keep bees for one primary purpose -- so I can open them up and observe them, whenever I want to - which is quite often.

I've heard it said, that every time a hive is disturbed by inspection, it sets the bees/hive back, some amount of time. If that were true, most of my colonies have years to go, before they're even established (which, of course, is not actually true for my bees).

- - - - - - - - - - -
enjambres

It sounds like your splits will likely, do just fine. You've certainly provided each one with a great deal more resources than any split would need to succeed. Of course, no matter how splits are done, there is always the chance that one, the other, or both, may somehow fail -- or all may thrive, I vote for the thrive option.
 

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Remember, you are not the first "NEW BEEKEEPER" and you will make mistakes. Don't start down that "WHAT IF" road, that is for Worriers. The Bee's have been taking care of them selves for Thousands of years. They will be just fine what ever you do, they will figure it out.
 

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Very good reading. Getting ready to make my first split, hince my reading of this thread! I'm somewhat apprehensive, but figure if they've survived millions of years doing it themselves maybe I can't mess it up too badly :) !!! I rarely open the hive up, although I probably should inspect more often. A few weeks ago I removed the feeder, and added supers to my two(2) hives. It was a cool morning(low 50's F), and figured I may as well get comfortable handling them with minimal gear. Quickly found that getting comfortable with them can be a little painful. Next time I may wear more than cut-offs,tee shirt and work boots :D memtb
 

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I care not one whit about making honey so the cut-down to increase honey production part of this type of split matters little. ,,,
So what say you?
Throw out your deeps and switch to mediums. This will result in more boxes per hive and then you can split a monster, as you put it, into three hives by just dealing the deck and walking away. Or you can split in half, wait to see which half is still the monster and split again in a week. Easy peesy.:thumbsup:
 
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