Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I bought a package this year and set it up in a 4 foot long top bar hive. They are really doing well and expanding like crazy such that I only have a few bars left. But now what? If I don't do anything they will fill out the box and I may not be able to inspect it anymore. I can try to harvest some honey but I don't know if they have enough capped honey bars to make a difference. But that is an option. I guess I could also do a split since I have an empty top bar hive available. But is it too late in the season to do a split? I'm in Colorado at about 5000 ft elevation. If I do a split what is the most effective way to do it? Should I buy another queen or let them create their own? I've done splits before but haven't been super successful at it so any help will be greatly appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,071 Posts
I bought a package this year and set it up in a 4 foot long top bar hive. They are really doing well and expanding like crazy such that I only have a few bars left. But now what? If I don't do anything they will fill out the box and I may not be able to inspect it anymore. I can try to harvest some honey but I don't know if they have enough capped honey bars to make a difference. But that is an option. I guess I could also do a split since I have an empty top bar hive available. But is it too late in the season to do a split? I'm in Colorado at about 5000 ft elevation. If I do a split what is the most effective way to do it? Should I buy another queen or let them create their own? I've done splits before but haven't been super successful at it so any help will be greatly appreciated.
You can split but today being almost August it is best to have a mated queen for the split so she can be laying immediately.
They can not really afford to be brood-less for entire month now at your location while requeening, IMO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
Another option which I have had to consider myself is to do as you suggest and remove some bars with capped honey and freeze them. That will create a little more space in the hive and later as they contract you can add the previously removed capped honey bars back as part of their winter stores.

Kevin
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,071 Posts
Another option which I have had to consider myself is to do as you suggest and remove some bars with capped honey and freeze them. That will create a little more space in the hive and later as they contract you can add the previously removed capped honey bars back as part of their winter stores.

Kevin
Should work.
Removing combs <> harvesting them.
If fully capped, these combs don't even need to be frozen.
You may very well return them back into the hives just in 2-3 months when evaluate for the winter setup.
I just have done this myself to keep the bees working in one of the hives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
970 Posts
If they are that full they may have queen cells started already. Do an inspection and if you find queen cells you can consider splitting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
245 Posts
If you have a second hive and are thinking SPLIT then you must have additional bars somewhere, use them or make more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
GregV, you mention that if fully capped you don't need to freeze them. How long might you keep them without freezing and would you store them in anything? Shrink wrap?

Kevin
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,071 Posts
GregV, you mention that if fully capped you don't need to freeze them. How long might you keep them without freezing and would you store them in anything? Shrink wrap?

Kevin
Capped honey will store indefinitely as-is at most any temp (outside of melting it in a hot car).
I do nothing else if the comb is light, honey only comb - stock them up, open and well aired, in the garage until I get to them.
Moth will not infest the clean honey combs (probably the same for SHB, I don't have those).

The only concern are the dark honey combs with bee bread cells - those you may want to freeze long term OR freeze short-term preemptively than wrap/bag. But even these I do nothing about - they are just hanging freely on a rack in the garage - well spaced out.
Pretty soon, I will put such frames into some nucs for storage.
The bees are doing great job looking after the honey combs (granted you disallow robbing).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for your response Murdock. You are correct, I have many bars, most with no comb, but that is not the problem. The question is really whether or not a split will work this late in the season.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
First year hive not likely to swarm from overcrowding and even less likely to recover from a split this late. Agree with Kevin, just harvest and freeze. Also consider comb building is already slowing down now, may not need to do anything.

Nbb
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks everybody for your helpful and insightful advice. I think I'm going to take Pesho's recommendations and harvest honey to make space. Hopefully, they won't be building a lot more this year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Well I went in a couple of days ago with the idea of harvesting honey. And although there is a lot of honey in the hive there were no bars that consisted of entirely capped honey. All seemed to have some part of them filled with brood. Also, the hive had built out to the last bar so I felt I had to do something. So I took every other bar and moved them, with bees, to another hive then filled in the empty space in both hives with empty bars. I don't know where the queen ended up yet but I think the original hive. The new hive has bees in it but not as many as the old hive. I know I should have spent more time finding the queen and moving more bees to the new hive since many will probably fly back to the old one. But these bees are a little aggressive which is another problem. I got stung about 7 times through my leather bee gloves. That has never happen before. I'm now wondering if I should just re-queen both hives. I don't like how defensive these bees are. I think I'll end up with at least one hive out of this split and possibly even two. We will see.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
So every bar in the hive had brood in it? They had not created a condensed brood nest of perhaps 8-9 bars followed by bars of honey? Also, when you say you replaced the empty bars that you took out, I assume you mean that you did not simply put an empty bar where the old one used to be so that now you have a checkerboard pattern of comb-empty-comb-empty, etc.?

What you did was an even split which I also did in my top bar earlier this year on 6/20. I allowed the bees to produce their own queen, but it is only now that their numbers are starting to increase and they still have a ways to go if I hope to get them through winter. If you do the same, you will be into October which may or may not be realistic for Colorado. If you are worried about that you may want to purchase a mated queen and install her in the queenless colony.

Kevin
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
So every bar in the hive had brood in it? They had not created a condensed brood nest of perhaps 8-9 bars followed by bars of honey? Also, when you say you replaced the empty bars that you took out, I assume you mean that you did not simply put an empty bar where the old one used to be so that now you have a checkerboard pattern of comb-empty-comb-empty, etc.?

What you did was an even split which I also did in my top bar earlier this year on 6/20. I allowed the bees to produce their own queen, but it is only now that their numbers are starting to increase and they still have a ways to go if I hope to get them through winter. If you do the same, you will be into October which may or may not be realistic for Colorado. If you are worried about that you may want to purchase a mated queen and install her in the queenless colony.

Kevin
No checkerboard pattern, I put all the bars with combs on one side and all of the empty bars on the other.

I'm thinking of purchasing a queen anyway due to the aggressiveness of this hive but I think the hive with the queen should make it. The other one is more iffy, it has 13 bars with comb in it now and if they successfully create a mated queen, which I think is a big if since much can go wrong, I think they have a decent chance. These bees filled out a 44" long top bar starting with a package, a few combs, and not much feeding. They appear to be very healthy and are fast growing. My mite counts have come up zero each time. So I think there is a chance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,538 Posts
I can try to harvest some honey but I don't know if they have enough capped honey bars to make a difference
when you get full you need to harvest or split, that is the top bar way
I often took uncapped from mine... in the early years I had a few swarm while I was waiting for them to cap .... got a refract to check and the honey was fine.. we are so dry out here it doesn't seem to be a large issue.
take your share, plenty of time to feed later if they need it

I think I'll end up with at least one hive out of this split and possibly even two. We will see.
I find here on the front range I need a laying queen by around the 1st week in aug for a split(2-3 combs of brood + 1 of food) to reasonably get big eunff to over winter as a nuc

My mite counts have come up zero each time
Given you started with package bees its highly likely you not getting accurate results with you method
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
when you get full you need to harvest or split, that is the top bar way
I often took uncapped from mine... in the early years I had a few swarm while I was waiting for them to cap .... got a refract to check and the honey was fine.. we are so dry out here it doesn't seem to be a large issue.
take your share, plenty of time to feed later if they need it
Thanks for the tip. I may try the uncapped honey next time.


I find here on the front range I need a laying queen by around the 1st week in aug for a split(2-3 combs of brood + 1 of food) to reasonably get big eunff to over winter as a nuc
Again this is good info. The split I made is significantly larger - 13 combs (combo of brood and food). So, although it is late, I'm hoping the additional resources will allow them to survive the winter.


Given you started with package bees its highly likely you not getting accurate results with you method
Perhaps, but I did do an OA treatment a few days after I installed them. I'm thinking (hoping) that may have helped a lot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
332 Posts
Probably best to get a mated queen for queenless half. Find out how big recommended size is for your area. If you have a dearth in your area you can feed the queen right half to get them to draw more comb. Queenless colony will be reluctant to draw. If you decide to let them raise a queen you will likely need to move frames of brood or stores from queen right... Let us know how it goes!
 

·
Registered
6a 3rd yr 5 production hives 1/ 2 q resource hive
Joined
·
477 Posts
Another suggestion is- create an emergency tote of honey frames and pulled comb before you commit everything to harvest. Important when the queen needs space to lay or when a hive needs emergency feed. You will be surprised how many times you rotate those frames in an out. Whenever I do inspections I take that plastic tote out to have on hand.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top