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Mr. Disselkoen has a lot of very good ideas for raising bees, getting them to make queen cells, and outbreeding varroa mites.

But I was wondering how many of you have tried his method of removing your queen--making a small split--in the spring right before the nectar flow and letting the main hive raise their own new queen? The theory is that raising brood requires about 80-100 lbs of honey per month (?) in the busiest part of the season, and that's all honey you can put away if they're not raising brood during the nectar flow. Mel claims 2-3x your state average pounds-per-colony is possible.

This made a lot of sense at first, until I remembered reading that queenless hives get depressed and don't work as well, which is the LAST thing I want going into the nectar flow.

Has anyone else tried this? Good results? Bad? Please share!
 

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I have done this and I may do it again next year. The bees don't get depressed as long as they have a way to make a queen.

I don't think that I got much more honey, but I didn't have to worry too much about swarming.

For me I pulled my queen and two to three frames of brood on May 15 about two weeks before the flow. I put them in nuc boxes. So the hives starts making a new queen. For 16 days they don't have a queen. Then about 10-14 days to mate and start laying. Then 21 days until workers hatch. This kept my mite problem low.

The issue was that I had to keep all of those nuc's that I didn't really need or combine depending on whether I thought the new queen was better or not. I have not done this for a couple of years, but as I said I may start again next year with at least some of my hives.
 

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Basically I accidentally did this, this year.
The hive stuffed honey everywhere. I have a deep packed and being capped.
They stuffed it in the first deep too. If I had an extractor I am guessing there would be 80Lbs of honey I could have gotten. We are about to come into the sweet clover, but now I have queens in the hives.

Mike
 

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A cut down split is similar in form and function but more specific. You take all the open brood and the queen and most of the honey for the split. You leave the emerging and capped brood and little honey at the old location. This maximized foragers as they return to the old hive, they are emerging constantly and there is no brood to feed.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm#cutdown
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the answers so far!

Anyone else do this on a regular basis for honey production?
 

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Deliberately re-activating this thread to lure responses. I'm interested in OTS and the IPM aspects, and want to know as did the O.P. here whether pulling the queen into a split really does increase honey production.

Given that the original population of bees is the same in either case (non-split or splitting), any increase in total honey capped may result from a decrease in later bee population due to brood not having been fed. But if the queen right split grows as many new workers as the original hive would have grown (they have the queen and all of the eggs she lays are there, too) then I don't see what makes the foragers pull in more nectar.

But perhaps in the nuc hive, the nurses (smaller in number) nurse the larvae more efficiently, and the nurse bees in the old hive are freed for work as additional foragers.
 

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The most honey ever produced by one of my hives was after I took a five frame NUC out just before the honey flow. They made a great queen and made a lot of honey at the same time. Not a world record, but they made 11 gallons of honey, which is excellent for this location.

The advantage comes when there is no larva to feed...ALL efforts are spent on a few queen cells and then filling empty cells with honey. I took the NUC frames out a few weeks after I had checkerboarded the second hive body.

It can be complicated if your flow is not reliable. Mine is not, so it's a bit of a guess as to when to do this for perfect timing.

The hive in question is on the far left. The NUC is beside it. I grafted from the queen in the NUC the next year.

IMG_0423 (1).jpg
 

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Abby warre when starting a hive from a skep at the beginning of the flow was a big proponate of discarding all the brood and doolittle moved all the brood but a half frame but kept all the bees and the queen.
At least this is what I got from what I read and the doolittle thing is repeated on mels site. I am too new to have tried any of this but I did buy a queen excluder as one of the very few things I have bought so far incase this is the way I decide to try for a split for increase next year if my bees even live that long.
Cheers. I also built a double board incase I try to go that way and put the queen on top and let the bottom make a queen and syphen off bees to the original queenless side untill the summer equinox.

I don't know what I am doing but it is sure fun reading what is possible and so will be fun to see more responces to this thread.
Cheers
gww
Cheers
gww
 

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It is the timing of the mature bees that turn into the foragers on a flow. If you
miss the timing then no matter how many busy bees you have you'll not get any honey because
the short Spring flow is already over. The trick is how can you manipulate the hive for max honey production?
Only on a side-by-side comparison between the 2 hives can you really tell. I rather have many supporting nuc hives
on a flow for the production hives. More mature bees turning into the foragers is where the honey is at. How to do this you
have to time it out. Mature bees = more foragers! No larvae to feed = more foragers!
 

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This has been kicked around many times; always coming back to being able to time it to grab the key flow time with the max number of foragers. Crystal Ball territory!;) I pull open and capped brood off just before I think swarm prep timing is near. I go early rather than risk losing a swarm and that definitely will reduce honey production to near zero in many places. It can increase potential honey production if timed right but I dont chase that angle.

If you have a long slow honey flow you may not gain much, but if it is short and followed by a long mid summers dearth there is an advantage to limiting prodction of brood that would not mature to foraging stage till the dearth would be on. It seems to me that the weather is getting more unpredictable than it was in the good old days!

If you have only a handful of colonies the method that gww mentions is very workable to control bee populations and placement in the colony.

gww>" I also built a double board incase I try to go that way and put the queen on top and let the bottom make a queen and syphen off bees to the original queenless side until the summer equinox."<

This is the double screened division board (Snelgrove Board) I ran 5 of my colonies this way the past summer and self requeened them all this way plus started 5 new colonies. Honey production averaged 75 lbs a colony which is not bad for here considering colony numbers doubled. No swarms.
 

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gww>" I also built a double board incase I try to go that way and put the queen on top and let the bottom make a queen and syphen off bees to the original queenless side until the summer equinox."<

This is the double screened division board (Snelgrove Board) I ran 5 of my colonies this way the past summer and self requeened them all this way plus started 5 new colonies. Honey production averaged 75 lbs a colony which is not bad for here considering colony numbers doubled. No swarms.
This year I used this MD tactic on about 30% of my hives and using the double screened division board and the result was very positive. It was the year that my hives produced more honey on average. To add to the fact that the year has gone bad or even very badly to a large majority of Portuguese beekeepers.
 

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This year I used this MD tactic on about 30% of my hives and using the double screened division board and the result was very positive. It was the year that my hives produced more honey on average. To add to the fact that the year has gone bad or even very badly to a large majority of Portuguese beekeepers.
Eduardo, do you pull the division board out after the swarm time has passed? I have not notched the combs to locate where queen cells will be located as I have been satisfied with enough cells the bees chose, but the cell notching and division board could be combined.
 

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Frank this had depended on the strength of the colony placed over the division board with the queen mother.

In most cases I took the board even during the swarming period. The reason was to potentiate as much as possible the colony with the queen mother, whenever they were sufficiently strong.
These colonies were passed to a hive two to three weeks later, still during the swarming season, and taken to other apiaries with higher altitude to develop and take advantage of the later nectar flows of these areas. The daughter colony stayed on site with the queen cells or the new queen.

In the weaker colonys above the divider board I let them stay until September, to benefit as much as possible from the heat coming from the colony under the divider board, and so they grew until I retired them at the end of the summer. I also noticed that some of these colonys made the supersedure. The double screened division board was an equipment that greatly improved my handling. It is my intention to move from the 100 that I currently have for the 200-250.
 

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This would be a great way to sell the over wintered queen in a nuc and also get a fresh new queen every year.
 

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To not take the thread entirely away from the original poster, Tara, I have not made the production hives queenless so cannot comment about them becoming listless or depressed.

What Eduardo is doing to produce the split, if I understand correctly, does make the production part of the hive queenless and he does not feel it hurts production. I leave the queen in the bottom and let the upper new colony produce the new queen. I will have to try it the other way. There are lots of instructions on the web on both methods.

Some people feel that notching the cells saves the bees some time tearing down the old cell walls, so the small larvae gets uninterrupted feeding as a queen from the earliest age. I cant complain about the quality of queens produced by the bees under the circumstances but then I do not try to see how long a queen will lay. My thought; less chance of an untimely demise of older queens.
 

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What Eduardo is doing to produce the split, if I understand correctly, does make the production part of the hive queenless and he does not feel it hurts production.
Yes exactly.
My accounting is: from one colony I made two. With the timely displacement for apiaries with later flows of the colony with the mother queen this colony produced. The daughter colony, as the bees were breeding the new queen, they filled the nest with honey and one to two medium supers (25-30 Kg was a very good production this year in my country). I also noticed that the bees did not totally block the nest with nectar as if they anticipated that the future queen would need some space to start laying.

When for some reason some of these divided colonies was orphaned, I just took out the division board with no fights. And I did swarm prevention.
 

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Crofter
I had read that the reason to put the queen on the small top portion of the divider board was because the original hive on bottom had more resources (bees) to rear a better queen. My only real concern in trying this is how to handle adding space for honey storage and judging what needs what. I really like mels site and proceedure but unlike Eduaro, I don't want to move my splits 3 miles away. I had a bad experiance moving new comb in a hive due to being foundationless. The comb ended up on the bottom.

I am so new.
gww
 

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I had read that the reason to put the queen on the small top portion of the divider board was because the original hive on bottom had more resources (bees) to rear a better queen.
Yes gww this was my idea. I have read somewhere (Randy Oliver?) that old bees have a certain plasticity and can produce royal jelly again if circumstances dictate or require them.
 

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Tara I have done this several seasons but as was previously stated, timing is essential if one is to get the full benefit in honey production. I found timing to be a moving target that I mostly failed to hit the sweet spot. I still do it with some of my best colonies to collect multiple beautiful emergency cells for splits and I let the old queen rebuild a new colony. She is most often superceded and I save her genetics and get another young queen. The percentage of my hives that seem to be mediocre, are used to provide the brood and bees for my splits with the better queens genetics.
 

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IMO, this isnt a bad method for producing comb honey at least in manageable quantities. Other than that, its alot of work on top of the timing part just to make a crop of honey. Guess I can see it as a viable option for someone like Mel with only a handful few colonies that need to be maximized. Myself, I'd rather just run a few more colonies and get the same end result production wise.
 
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