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Hi Everyone...
Ok, remember how when you were new at this and the info poured over you and you felt awash in it but still stupid? Well, that is me..
Here goes- I have several hives that are huge..brood box plus 6-10 supers that appear to be full of honey and brood. I did not do any extracting this year- yes, I have the equiptment but decided that I needed to learn bees at this point rather than honey. Besides, I don't even know how to extract yet.

1) Is it to late to split? I am in North East Texas with mild winters and have been told by area beekeepers that we will have yet another(small) flow in October.

2)The whole splitting process is confusing the heck outta' me. Do I simply SPLIT my big hives, creating a new one with frames of both honey and brood- and assume that they will raise a new Queen?

3) Will the workers leave the new hive and go right back to their old hive? Can I set the old and new right next to each other? Would that be best even?

4) I feel like if I do nothing, I am going to have a disaster here shortly. I pulled the inner cover off one of the big hives and there were larva actually stuck to it! Jeeze! No, I am not using excluders. These hives are going gang-busters and my ignorance is gonnna do me in here soon. Will the Queen most likely be up high in these hives and all the supers down low be just mostly honey?

5) If it is to late to split, would the best thing to do is simply plop some more supers on top of these allready to big hives and wait till next spring?

6) Yes, I am going to our local beekeepers club- really great people- who answered my questions- but I think I asked the questions wrongly or was not able to absorb the answers and was left scratching my head- as usual.

One last thing...I do not want to buy any new Queens(to do splits) right now. I am not smart enough to do the right thing by them at this point. I would rather simply work with what I have at the moment. I have 20 hives of various sizes...most a brood box plus 1 super which I put on about 6 weeks ago. They (the small ones) are doing well. Not crowded and working well. Its these big hive-tropolis things that have me worried.
To anyone who wants to tackle these over-long questions...thanks, your as pal.
Tim
Opps...sorry...on last smallish question...can I do all this with just my smoker? I do not have any of the fume boards or stuff such as that.
 

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Welcome, Tim.
My advice to you is:

Go through the large hives one box at a time. Remove all frames which are fully capped honey. "store them if you don't want to extract them" Get the hive down to where there is only brood and open cells of honey. Then we can guide you through the rest of the steps. Right now I don't think you really know how strong or weak your hives are. You may have only 1 or 2 boxes of bes with 6 or 8 empty boxes under them. That is why you don't understand the local beeks and their advice. You must first get a hive that is compact and well known from top to bottom, then we can help you.
 

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Yah, I remember...and still live it, although with practice things get clearer....if you have a problem with information overload, this isn't a good place to be searching.

See if you can find somebody in the local club to help you. Most beeks are really freindly and helpful.

1. it isn't too late to split, providing that they have enough stores for winter, probably need to feed.

2. The simplest split (for those of us that suffer from information overload) is to take a frame of eggs 2 frames of capped bees, and some honey/pollen frames, with all the bees on them, put them in a box and leave them. If you have a queen great, if not then check back in 4 weeks for a queen laying, they can raise their own.

3. The foraging bees will, some of the nurse bees probably, but that is why the capped brood, when they hatch they stay. Yes, you can switch positions, many do.

4.Yes, they may swarm if full. As iddee says, they may have empty boxes you can't see. In a normally managed hive, the queen stays low, but she will go up in the supers, especially to lay drones if she needs to.

5. If they were all full, you could have 100-200+ lbs of honey per big hive. The best thing to do would be to extract the honey that is in there...unless you don't want it, then add supers after determining hive status.

You harvest the honey frames just with a smoker and a bee brush. Smoke them good, pull a frame at a time, brush them off, then put the frame in a different box. They get mad, but they get over it. Go slow,slow, especially when they get mad and you get scared. Hard to do when all you want is to be done, and it is 120F w/ 100% humitity..


-rick

[ July 28, 2006, 12:03 PM: Message edited by: ScadsOBees ]
 

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Rick, Thanks so much...just the info I needed. Iddee, I will take your advice..on Sunday I will go into the big hives and bring them down to size.
I guess the problem I have with information is simply that I am a "monkey see, monkey do" kinda guy. I have all this info swirling around in my head but it needs to be put to use.
I feel like I have a specific plan now.
Thanks again...
Tim
 

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Hey, belive it or not I logged on to ask the very same thing. I have a few hives I would like to split now and didn't know if it was too late in the year. I did a split a few months ago the way Scads said to do and this the neatest thing have ever done. I did not buy new queens, just took eggs, pollen and honey from various hives put them in three different brood boxes. Man, they are going to town, new queens laying in all three boxes, the bees are putting up honey and will be great next year as overwintered hives. Glad I check the forum tonite, thanks for the info!
 

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Tim, I was raised in northeast Texas and know Elysian Fields. As dry as it has been this summer, I would be surprised at this point if you really have that much honey. It seems as if they have been continuing to raise brood all summer. Without a flow, that means they are eating honey at a high rate.

Splitting -- This time of year will work. Later in August or early Septembe might be better as night temps start to fall and golden rod starts to bloom. We can raise queens in this area until first frost, probably 01 Nov or later. I would leave the honey at this point unless you find you really have a surplus. We still have another 6 weeks of hot dry weather and you want them in a queen raising mood. Split the hive 60-40 or so, with the weaker hive having the current queen. Leave the queenless hive at the current location so it will remain strong with workers. The other hive will have a laying queen so it will be fine if it looses some workers.

You may be able to get three hives out of each hive if they are really strong and you can find enough frames of eggs. If so, leave the two queenless hives at the old location, turned sideways facing each other. This will give them both some of the workforce. If they get out of balance, swap them in a week or so.

You may want to check your smaller hives and see if they need food. If they do, give them some honey frames from the bigger hives. You can also pull brood frames from the bigger hives to strengthen the smaller hives, just shake the bees off.

We usually have a strong fall flow on golden rod and aster. I would do something to get ready for that. Last fall it didn't happen do to drought. With the late summer rains recently, it should be good this year. That is the honey I overwinter on.

One last thing, if those 6 boxes are really full of honey, can I bring some hives to your place?

[ July 29, 2006, 09:17 AM: Message edited by: Ross ]
 
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