Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On April 18th, I will be receiving two 3# packages and two extra queens.
I'll be starting them on medium deeps with drawn comb.
They will have combs with honey and some pollen (from deadouts).

Do you think I should divide the bees 50/50 and install a queen in each half? Making four swarms of equal strength,
or
Make one dominant package and start the second in a nuke with a smaller amount of bees?
(I have a couple of 6 5/8 4 frame nukes with drawn comb.)

I'm kicking about both ideas, and wonder what feedback the forum might offer.
Randy Oliver in Scientific Beekeeping did a math project on the increase of bees from swarm size to 40 or 60,000, based on a consistent queen laying rate.
The buildup time from start for 5000 bees (1.5#) and 10,000 (3#) was within a week of being the same.

Also considering stacking the colonies one over the other with a snelgrove board between them ...
Lots of thoughts.

Your comments will be appreciated.
Bob from Holyoke, MA
 

·
Moderator - In Memorium
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,882 Posts
Not sure what the nighttime temps are currently in MA so splitting a package in half may or may not be a good idea right now. If you do split, I would put all the bees in nuc boxes until they build back up to five frames. That should take them about six weeks, then move them to full sized equipment.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LAlldredge

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks JW. Not sure that we're past frost yet. May be an occasional at full moon April or May. Generally lows will be as low as 40.
 

·
Moderator - In Memorium
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,882 Posts
40's for a low is not too bad. I would give it a try. Even if one of the four does not make it, you are really only out the cost of a queen. Make sure the nucs have a solid bottom or an insert in place. Missed that your nucs were medium four frame. You may be moving them shortly after the first round of brood starts to emerge. Good luck.
 

·
Registered
6a 4th yr 9 colonies inc. 2 resource hives
Joined
·
746 Posts
I did that my first year thinking myself clever. One of many first year mistakes. As mentioned the queen will only lay according to temps and worker strength. Plus, packages are chaos in a box. Since bees only live 6 weeks during the summer you are getting a scrambled hodge podge of (who knows how old they are) bees. So the colony is already stressed out and reassigning tasks from the get go since ages of bees are mixed. Best case is keeping a single colony together and putting them on drawn comb. And maybe just maybe they won't supercede (common in packages since the queen usually gets blamed). On occasion you can get a stellar package. Better yet to get local nucs from a strong supplier.
 

·
Moderator - In Memorium
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,882 Posts
I guess one question that needs to be answered is, do you still have any living hives? This is something I was not considering earlier. Splitting packages is doable, but becomes quite risky if you do not have other resources upon which to draw if things head south.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,475 Posts
Terrible idea to split a package in April. I get concerned about even basic hive manipulations in April.

echoing previous posters, I'd put an ad on craiglist and sell those queens.

In May, I'd say your chances would be better. MA is too far north, and weather is looking pretty bad.
 

·
Registered
5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
Joined
·
3,388 Posts
the idea is fine the timing not so much.

you could have ordered the 2 packages hived them, then at 10 frames of bees ordered the next 2 queens.
when you hive your packages you will not get to the first bee hatched for 21 days , as well the older bees will keep dyeing off, so in general the 3 pounds drop to 2 pounds by day 20 then slowly build.
you "could" try 1.5 lb packages, with 4 queens but you then have somewhat weak NUCs

if you go that route put 2 or 1.5 foam all sides and top of the hive , they will have troubles with getting enough brood covered.

IF you know someone with bees they "could" pull a couple frames of bees and brood for the 2 extra queens, from an "over strong" hive. I have a 4 deep and 2 3 deeps I would love to split but no drones yet, I might bite on a queen offer.

check at your club for some one in a similar predicament.

as a last resort IF you have 4 queen excluders, you could make some 2 frame dummys for each side of the hive.
put 6 frames of comb in the center, double exclude then the next box the same way, and then set somewhat centered 1 queen on each side of the double excluder. (lower queen high on the frame, upper queen low on the frame) so then you have a 3 pound package with 2 queens each. the 2 frame dummys on each side, somewhat forces a taller cluster to cover both queens. there is a "chance" they abandon 1 queen for the other , but that would cull the poor queen which you will have a hard time determining by looking at them. worse case you still only have 2 colonies with the best 2 of the 4 queens, best case all 4 survive.

2 NUC boxes with 2 nuc size excluders at least 1 wood bound ,would also work fine.

1 2 frame dummy and 1 3 frame dummy for each box would also work fine. ( 5 over 5 even 4 over 4 would work)

end state tall skinny hive with a queen in each box that cannot get to each other. fairly well insulated.
can be done with 5 8 or 10 frame gear, do need the excluders IMO

AND maybe get the plan ironed out before the order placed :) Unless you work well under pressure.
it is doable IMO but you are on the edge ..

later
GG

PM me if you wish to discuss it further.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you all for your input. I appreciate your comments and will take all into consideration.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
429 Posts
Thank you all for your input. I appreciate your comments and will take all into consideration.
On April 18th, I will be receiving two 3# packages and two extra queens.
I'll be starting them on medium deeps with drawn comb.
They will have combs with honey and some pollen (from deadouts).

Do you think I should divide the bees 50/50 and install a queen in each half? Making four swarms of equal strength,
or
Make one dominant package and start the second in a nuke with a smaller amount of bees?
(I have a couple of 6 5/8 4 frame nukes with drawn comb.)

I'm kicking about both ideas, and wonder what feedback the forum might offer.
Randy Oliver in Scientific Beekeeping did a math project on the increase of bees from swarm size to 40 or 60,000, based on a consistent queen laying rate.
The buildup time from start for 5000 bees (1.5#) and 10,000 (3#) was within a week of being the same.

Also considering stacking the colonies one over the other with a snelgrove board between them ...
Lots of thoughts.

Your comments will be appreciated.
Bob from Holyoke, MA
You want to immediately split your packages with those 2 extra queens? I never heard of this. Most people have issues with packages superseding the queen. Packages aren't even big enough to split, are they?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've had bees for some time on a small scale hobby basis. Two or three colonies in my suburban yard. I lost them all this winter.
Last spring I did something similar with two packages. I hived most all of the bees into two separate medium chambers each with their own queen, and with an extra queen, successfully established a nuc from the small balance remaining in both packages. Last year it was on April 1st.
Maybe I had April fools luck, but they all took. (and then died last winter - another story, for another time).
That's why I was considering perhaps if simply splitting the packages in half, each with a queen, would provide 4 colonies?

JW - yes, I do have a connection where, if things go badly, I have access to a frame of brood/bees. Good thought to have a safety valve.

GG- thank you for your thoughtful the multiple options. I like the idea of a double excluder (or double screen?) where the upper and lower colonies remain as a single brood heating unit.

SC - I'd not considered the Palmer side by side system.

I'll keep you posted as to progress, success, regress ...
Blessings,
Bob
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
192 Posts
I split two four lb packages with double queens last April with snow on the ground here in Alaska, in single deeps of drawn comb. All four are still alive. I got a modest honey crop as well.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top