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hive splitting questions(and maybe a couple of others!)

1516 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Ross
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.
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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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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