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Is it too late to make a split this year (SW Ohio)?

3843 Views 13 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Forest
Hello all, new beek here.

I started early may with a three pound package of carnolians and they have done great so far. They have 2 and a half medium boxes full of brood and 1 and a half (almost) full of nectar/capped honey. The hive is packed.

I've been itching to make a split. I realize there are probably a million different ways of doing it.

Do you think it is too late this year to make a nuc with 2-3 frames of brood, 2 frames of honey, and to let them raise their own queen AND hope they will make it through the winter?

Tell me if this is a completely hare-brained scheme, please... :D
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I think you are cutting it close letting them raise their own queen. I have overwintered five frame nucs here that I split in early July, but it was with a mated queen, five frames of drawn comb, and I fed heavily. Someone else may have a different experience/opinion, but that is what I think.
Give it a try then you'll know .
I would take the queen and make the split with her and let the mother hive re queen it self you still have some time and if some thing happens and the mother hive does not re queen you can combine before winter.
Go for it. You will learn something whether it works or whether it doesn't. You will also have doubled your hive count!
I've read on here that this type of split is best done in spring. That splits done in summer have a better sucess rate using a mated queen. If left to their own devices it can be up to 45 days before you have a solid laying queen and thats IF she survives the mating trips. A mated queen is laying "out of the box". One way costs you nuthin but the 5frmes of brood n honey. The other way costs approx $25 and less stress. As a first year beekeeper not up to the task yet of raising my own. Baby steps.
I just made up 15 deep nucs with 3 frames of bees and brood with mated queens last week. This late in the year I wouldn't do it without adding a mated queen. By the time you let them raise their own queen, she gets mated, and three weeks for the new bees to emerge you won't have any new bees coming out till around September 1st give or take a little. Not enough time to build a strong hive. If it was me I would just split your 4 medium into 2 equal hives and add a mated queen to the hive without one and all you would have to do is add another medium to each hive and they would have a much better chance at making it through the winter. We are starting to go thru our usual summer dearth now so you might want to feed. Good luck.
Newbee here too, My mentor just did some splits and he feels its a little late and only reason he did it was because he has some extra queens that are laying. He also has alot of back up hives if they are not strong enough this fall.
I am a newbie as well and I started with a 3 pound package this spring. I wouldn't think about splitting my first hive this time of year (or any time during the first year). Just me but I want to ensure they survive the first winter. If you do it good luck, but I am not thinking about it on mine.
Just made a split on Fri 7-11 had a hive with 6 queen cells in it, I took the queen and some frames and made a nuc, took a frame with 3 queen cells and made another nuc, and left the other 3 queen cells in the original hive, I figure I may have to do some combining of colonies come sept, but I can deal with that when the time comes, this was the only 2 deep hive I had making queen cells (6 hives)
A lot to consider with this question. Personally, I'd split with a mated queen or watch for signs of late swarm and move queen cells to the new split which would help avoid swarm and open up the brood area in your existing hive.

Are you splitting to all new equipment? When the honey flow slows you would have to feed and get lucky that they would be able to build comb and buildup their numbers before fall.

Of course you could always combine the hives before winter if you needed to. Just don't move the queens in together because you could stand a chance of both being killed. Again, adding a queen in the fall to replace dead ones or a queenless situation in the fall is very hard. You stand a chance of loosing the hive as it moves into winter with no queen.

If you split and for some reason it damages your existing hive then you are opening it up to problems due to a weak hive. Strong hives tend to stay healthier than weak hives.

Your existing queen will slow down as the honey flow ends. Or course if you have a fall flow in your area and the weather turns out good, you would have time to build up comb and bees, but that's another risk. Again, be prepared to merge the hives if needed.
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Should be fine to make a split. Just make sure there are eggs/small larva in the split for them to make a new queen with. Plenty of honey stores and pollen as well. They will make you a good queen and she should do just fine. I make splits here in W WV till end of July with no problems getting them to brood up for winter.
I really can't tell you how much I appreciate you all taking the time and sharing your knowledge with me. It is so instructive to hear all the different viewpoints- even when they disagree with one another- and the reasoning behind them. Thank you! I am really glad I found this site.

I decided to just go for it. If they don't manage to make a queen, I can recombine them. I'll probably have to feed the snot out of them to get them to build up. As long as I don't weaken the main hive, in the worst case scenario, the split won't make it and I have lost nothing but gained experience.

Hope for a long warm October for me, guys!
I'm in southwest Mo and I routinely make nucs around the first of August and let them raise their own queen. When she's laying in 30 days I'll give them another frame of capped brood and a frame of honey.

Since the nuc was built strong with five frames of brood they will have to be in a full size by the time the queen starts laying.
They have time for two rounds of brood before frost, around oct 15.

I'll have to start feeding when the temps get above 50, usually around Febuary sometime.

I've never had any problem like this. When nectar starts coming in you better have your boxes ready. They will explode!

Ps. While I don't like feeding I do feed these hives internally. They need all the help they can get. However they seem to know they're behind and try their best to catch up.
... just an update on my nuc- all went well, the queen is laying like crazy. I started it woth three frames of brood and two of pollen/honey, and added another frame of brood about two weeks later to prevent the worker numbers from dipping too low.

Now, I have added a second 8 frame medium box; they have drawn & filled two of the frames in that plus all in the lower box. I have started feeding them this week (four weeks after starting the nuc). I had tried feeding them earlier (about two weeks), but at the time they didn't have as many workers and there was some robbing, so I stopped feeding and reduced the entrance at the time.

When I compare laying patterns of the nuc versus the old colony now, it is becoming really obvious to me how shotty the old queen's laying pattern is. Part of the original reason for making the nuc this late- I had gotten a queen which made a lot of drones and had a irregular pattern and was marked white- looks like someone sold me their spent one. Well, now I have backup.
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