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So i was going to buy a northern queen that comes from good stock, but was told the soonest I could get one was the end of June due to the amount of drone available and mating. I was wondering if I should just do the split from my packages and let them make their own. So, wait a month and get a good queen from overwintered stock, or split now and let them make their own with stock from down south. Any thoughts?
 

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If hive increase is your goal, then the next question should have an answer of NO. Are you wanting to try and harvest any honey from these two hives once split?

If you allow the girls to raise their own queen, you get a break in the brood cycle which will kill off some varroa. Starvation does wonders there. You would end up with a queen that has mated with local drones which are aclimated to the local area which will provide you with bees that are aclimated as well. Better chance of wintering that way.

A northern queen will get you good wintering for sure, but getting locally adapted bees sometimes is better due to how they react to spring, etc as well.
 

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Go ahead and make your split now, allow the bees to make their own queen, plan to replace that queen with a northern raised queen and line up someone to take the locally mated queen. You will be covered for most contingencies and will have a queen coming if the locally mated queen doesn't work out. The probability of success there is considerably less than 100% - I guess 80%, but will leave it to people that do this regularly to give you a firm answer.
 

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If you split now and let them raise their own, you'll not get a laying queen going again for up to 4 weeks. During that time, bees are dieing and no new brood is being laid to replace the dieing from old age. Then of course it will be three more weeks after the queen does start laying before any new brood is emerging to replace those that have died, and you get three more weeks of bees that died in addition to the 4 weeks that died waiting for a new queen to lay. So, six to seven weeks of dieing bees with no new brood coming. That's a great population reduction. Plus, it'll be the end of June before you get any new brood, or later, if you made your splits today.

Place your order now for new queens. Make splits with new queens in the end of June, you'll have much stronger hives to split from and may have some honey to put on your table as well. This instead of splitting now and letting them raise their own makes much more sense to me.
 

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I only lose bees for 30 days. Any hive I split from will have lots of eggs which won't hatch for 21 days. This offsets the time lost from new queen laying to eggs hatching.

I never notice much of a die off and I raise all my queens.

An alternative would be to pull your old queen and five frames of young brood. As she gets some frames capped you can swap them out for a fresh hatched frame in the old hive before they fill it with necter.

You have to leave her a frame of brood on occasion to keep her nurse bee population up.

I raise most of my queens at the end of the main flow. Loss of some bees from die off, building nucs etc don't hurt me much.
 

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If one only has a few hives, what is the best way to increase their numbers? I have not had good luck with splits. This year I made two splits into nucs from two different hives and small hive beetles over ran both nucs. I took 4 frames & a new queen for each nuc. Package bees have about a 50% survival rate for me over the last 5 years or so. I cant really keep robbing from my two good hives even though they appear to be very strong. I did catch three swarms early so that is a plus, but not a guarantee. So, what is the best way for me to boost my numbers? I would love to raise queens and nucs, but after this spring the smalll hive beetle has me concerned. My hives have taken care of this in the past so I kinda didnt expect them to take hold so quickly.


Rob
 

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I would buy a couple of mated queens and split soon. Then feed a lot to get things drawn out as soon as possible. I can't seem to get comb drawn around here after July. Once you get the bees and comb, switching queens is minor. Or you could check around for some nucs.
 

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I had problems with SHB. I bought one of green bee hives IPK beetle traps. It worked so well I have one on all my full size hives. I don't run them on my nucs though.

The secret to keeping SHB at bay is to have the nuc plum full of bees and a small entrance. Mine have a one inch hole.

Anymore it a very rare thing for me to see a live beetle in the hives with the IPK bottoms. Lots of dead ones though.
 

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I had problems with SHB. I bought one of green bee hives IPK beetle traps. It worked so well I have one on all my full size hives. I don't run them on my nucs though.

The secret to keeping SHB at bay is to have the nuc plum full of bees and a small entrance. Mine have a one inch hole.

Anymore it a very rare thing for me to see a live beetle in the hives with the IPK bottoms. Lots of dead ones though.

Wolfer, you don't happen to have any decent pictures of the IPK beetle traps do you? On greenhives.com the pics are pretty terrible and I can't see the design and how they work. (thanks if you do). I had been planning on building my own, but haven't had more than "some" beetles.

I noticed a solitary hive beetle on one of the frames of one of my weaker nucs. In effort to balance the nucs I gave another frame of bees to the onese that had apparently not gotten enough bees compares to the rest. Seems to boost all the things you can with a nuc, moral, comb building, defenses against robbing. I also only have tiny entrances on my nucs.
 
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