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I really want to increase my hives this season, so I plan on splitting all I can. If I am not concerned about honey production, how many splits can I make from a good strong overwintered hive? One frame of brood and one of pollen and honey? Or is this to small? What has worked for you all? Thanks for your help.
 

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That is basically what I start w/ when making 5 frame nucs. That, two frames of comb, plenty of bees and a queen or queen cell. Then grow them up into ten frame singles which you overwinter.

Combining leftovers together in other hives to bolster them into honey producers.
 

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"A frame of brood and a frame of food" works fine for a mating nuc - along with a cell produced by a much stronger hive, and can certainly build up into an overwinterable hive if started early enough.
 

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I really want to increase my hives this season, so I plan on splitting all I can. If I am not concerned about honey production, how many splits can I make from a good strong overwintered hive? One frame of brood and one of pollen and honey? Or is this to small? What has worked for you all? Thanks for your help.
How many years do you have?

As in the real estate business one of the major factors is location location location. Other factors are the projected conditions!
 

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The theoretical limit is about 10 to 1. Realistically, I have had difficulty getting 3 for 1 to work. If you purchase queens, you can avoid much of the buildup hurdle. Start with 3 queens delivered March 25th. Split your existing colony into 4. Let them build up for a month. Get 4 more queens for April 30th delivery. Split 2 for 1 to make 8 colonies. Let them go through the spring honey flow. If you are willing to feed, order 8 more queens for July 1st delivery and split off 8 more colonies.

It sounds good, you turn 1 colony into 16. But IME 5 or 6 of them are weak and poor quality going into summer. Ten of them should be pretty good colonies.
 

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He would not necessarily lose the second year of honey production.

The bees could be sold at a profit of about $50 per established single deep colony. Split 100 colonies into 1000, sell 900 colonies at a profit of $45,000, then repeat the process the next year.
 

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You can also combine resources from small colonies in spring to make honey production hives.

My experience has been that comb is the limiting factor in aggressive splitting.
 

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I really want to increase my hives this season, so I plan on splitting all I can.
Do you do well at the crap table? The more risk you take the greater the possible gain or loss. The success of starting a business depends greatly on controlling your risk. If it is a high you are after go for it.
 

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Using polystyrene nuc boxes helps with the R value to lower food consumption for heat and you can make them with less bees and still survive.

Aaron
 

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Check out mdasplitter.com. A good video presentation of Mel's methods can be found on Youtube under "On the Spot Queen Grafting".
 

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Do you do well at the crap table? The more risk you take the greater the possible gain or loss. The success of starting a business depends greatly on controlling your risk. If it is a high you are after go for it.[/QUOTE

How does your comment address the OP's question? It's pretty obvious that there is some risk in doing what he wants to do, but all beekeeping has risk whenever the beekeeper gets involved. Nothing wrong with aggresive splitting as long as you put yourself in the best position to succeed.
 

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Matt903... Others... The answer to your question will depend, heavily, on several factors. Most important being your location, your normal weather patterns.. How early you can start, and how late in Fall, the splits can sock honey away for the Winter. Here are some other limiting factors.

1. Are you able to feed to build up in February or early March.
2. Strength of brood stock when you make your first split.
3. How good your queen is in your brood hive,(s).
4. How soon a good honey flow starts.
5. How many of the splits are successful. With mated queens likely 90%+ with queen cells 60%+, make their own about 60% to 70%.

My experience is (central Kentucky) you can get 4 to 6 from an overwintered hive. You can likely split your 1st splits about 15 May to 1 June. Any splits after 20 June are risky and will require extensive feeding. July and August can be hot and dry. An early Winter can really hurt.

Better to go slow than wind up with a lot of colonies that will not make it through the Winter.

Kamon Reynolds, above, is about what I could expect here also. I don't normally get that many because I sell the first splits as they are ready to move into 10 frame equipment, and rarely get to split the splits.

A matter of preference, but, I would rather sell bees than honey. Tremendous demand right now.

cchoganjr
 

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i started with 3 nucs end of april last year increased them to 5 by end of june. then end of june i raised about 12 queen cells and made 10 more splits begining of july. all queens sucessfully mated except one didn't make it back. went into winter with 15. fed heavily sept/oct. nov i put shims on and a 5lb bag of suger on top. i put them down my cellar for 4 days during that sever cold snap a couple of weeks ago. checked them yeasterday i probably lost 1. gona start giving them pollen sub after the middle of next month next month. and that was with a very poor honey season.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
How many years do you have?

I have 15 years in, but was taught "old-style" beekeeping by my father, it was just what he was taught by his fahter. In other words, if they swarm try and catch it, then cut out the rest of the queen cells, leaving one. I always managed my bees for honey production, and never to make more bees. If I had a dead-out, I would just purchase more packages in the Spring. Last year I finally came to the realization that this is poor management and a waste of money. I did some splits last year, but just made one split from each strong hive. This spring I want to get as many hives as possible to build up my colony numbers. I plan on doing this for a few years, with a goal of 200 hives or so, hence my question about splits. Thanks for the answers, they are really helping.
 

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Been keeping bees for almost 10 years (started when I was 15)

I didn't have anyone to show me how so I made every mistake myself.....expensive. I stuck with it though and it has been hard but very well worth it.

Being able to graft from your best stock and produce your own queens and splits is one of the best things any hobbyist or fulltime beekeeper can do for himself.

Once I got to the point of understanding how to do this (for my area) success followed.
 

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i had bees for about 12 years in jersey 80's and 90's last year i got back into them after retiring and i'll warn you i got no idea what i'm doin compaired to these other guys just hopeing for the best and so far so good.
 
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