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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have 15 hives but I would like to expand to around 75 very quickly. I will be putting out swarm traps and putting my name on many swarm removal list. However as many of you know you cant always depend on getting swarms. My plan is to do this by splitting. I plan on taking 3 strong hives and putting pollen patties in them about 3 weeks before the natural pollen is available. Then I was thinking I would wait for about 5 weeks (until it is warm enough to not get chilled brood) and split the hives into nucs and add queens. I am hoping to get 4 nucs from each hive. In theory I could be up to 27 hives/nucs by early summer. I would also expect to catch my average of 5 swarms bringing me up to 32 hives. If all goes well in the spring on 2015 I could divide 10- 12 of my hives and be up around my goal of 75 hives.
Now I know things may not work out exactly as planned, but they may. What do you think of my plan, what am I missing? Any suggestions?
 

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I guess it may depend on when your flow ends but if it ends early enough you could split the other hives after the flow. Give them a queen so they could build up enough to winter. You might would need to feed. The splits would need to be stronger the spring splits.
 

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I guess you are hoping to make a honey crop from the other 12? I would probably take a small split from all of them to help manage swarming. It might reduce your honey crop, but not as much as losing a few swarms in April would.
 

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ilikebs, Check outmdasplitter.com. You are basically using Melvin Disselkoen's method of expansion. He suggests 2 frames of brood per split. There should be 6-8 frames of brood per hive. If you notch the frames with new eggs they will raise their own queens.

Thanks to Michael Bushes site I calculated the date in my area near St Louis to start the splits. That would be between the 10th and 15th of March. Adding on the cycle time of queens(21 days) plus adding a week to two weeks for virgin queens to fly, that puts swarm season starting 15th of April. That's what the experienced people in my club tell me is correct.

There's pollen available here according to TWC pollen map so I won't add pollen patties here.

I have 4 hives and plan on splitting the 2 strongest. I may get one more nuc later to help keep my 2 other hives from swarming as David suggested. So my plan corresponds with yours.

Good luck.
 

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ilikebs, I googled Booneville, In and saw that you are at a lower parallel than I am. TWC also reports pollen in your area. Your bees will be bring in their own pollen when it starts to warm up. But I guess subs will help this year.
 

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>Thanks to Michael Bushes site I calculated the date in my area near St Louis to start the splits. That would be between the 10th and 15th of March.

That seems VERY unlikely. Here I would start about the 15th of MAY. You're not THAT far South of me...
 

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ilikebs, your 141 mi. northwest of me. I look at doing splits the same way I look at planting tomatoes in our area. I never do either before Derby Day! :D I at least like to wait till dandelions are blooming well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Normally the bees are pulling pollen from red maples around March 18th. However I think Michael Bush is sending a lot of his cold weather on down this way. By looking at the long range weather forecast I am guessing the end of the March before there is any natural pollen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Michael I had guessed doing the splits on memorial day weekend. Based on my distance south of you I would think that would be about right?
 

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Bees multiply themselves that's the easy part, too bad wooden ware, extraction equipment, feed, and Time don't do the same.

Luke
 

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>Normally the bees are pulling pollen from red maples around March 18th.

Mine usually are too... at least some years... but it's still a long ways from any significant bloom and the bees are not big enough or strong enough to split for another month and a half at least.

>Michael I had guessed doing the splits on memorial day weekend. Based on my distance south of you I would think that would be about right?

If yo are south of me some hives might be ready on May day. Some might not. Rarely I have some ready to split in April. Usually I figure about the middle of May. That is about four weeks before my main flow.
 

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Thanks to Michael Bushes site I calculated the date in my area near St Louis to start the splits. That would be between the 10th and 15th of March. Adding on the cycle time of queens(21 days) plus adding a week to two weeks for virgin queens to fly....
16 days for queens from egg to hatch
 

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I guess you are hoping to make a honey crop from the other 12? I would probably take a small split from all of them to help manage swarming.
I agree with David, this would be an easy way to gain another 12 colonies. When your flow kicks in, and the hive populations are high, remove the queens and a small amount of brood and stores from each colony for nucs. The original colonies will produce a new queen during the flow, which will help with your honey yields, and you will have another 12 nucs started up which you will not need to buy queens for.
 

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I currently have 15 hives but I would like to expand to around 75 very quickly. I will be putting out swarm traps and putting my name on many swarm removal list. However as many of you know you cant always depend on getting swarms. My plan is to do this by splitting. I plan on taking 3 strong hives and putting pollen patties in them about 3 weeks before the natural pollen is available. Then I was thinking I would wait for about 5 weeks (until it is warm enough to not get chilled brood) and split the hives into nucs and add queens. I am hoping to get 4 nucs from each hive. In theory I could be up to 27 hives/nucs by early summer. I would also expect to catch my average of 5 swarms bringing me up to 32 hives. If all goes well in the spring on 2015 I could divide 10- 12 of my hives and be up around my goal of 75 hives.
Now I know things may not work out exactly as planned, but they may. What do you think of my plan, what am I missing? Any suggestions?
I would like to tell you some of the issues I have ran into as my plans aren't that much different than yours. I started last year with one hive, and as of August first I had 20. While Ive had extreme bad luck, I want to share my story with you. I have learned so much in the past year and had hopes of getting between 40-60 hives and becoming sustainable. I bought one existing hive, picked up a couple of swarms, bought 6 nucs, bought a package, bought some queens, and made some queens. At the first of August I was proud of my efforts, and as the old TV show The A Team quotes " I love it when a plan comes together". Then the bottom fell out. While my hives were next to a woods with lots of potential blooming plants, we had weather last year unlike any I had ever seen. When checking hives, I discovered there was no honey in the hives, I mean NONE. So, I started feeding 1:1. Well, I could mix about 5 gallon bucket per day, which is about 18 pounds sugar I was able to put out and I figured all things equal would put a pound per hive daily. Well in beekeeping all things aren't equal. Some hives get more, and some get none. That set up late season swarms, which didn't get a satisfactory replacement if at all. I lost 4 hives because of that. By this time goldenrod was starting to bloom, so I thought there was no need to feed. We were having rain every 4-6 days that was washing out the nectar of everything blooming. I apparently got into some robbing issues, yellowjackets attacked some hives. I put sugar and pollen patties on late October, because stores were lite and felt they could eat that and survive, but cold weather, polar vortex, and ice led to starvation. Its really frustrating to have food on the hive and realize that my bees starved, because they clustered away from the food. It has made me realize that death is the natural order in the biological world. We can maintain our bees keep them healthy, do everything right and bees are going to die. Ive had an extreme year, but again Ive learned so much, I don't think I will make the same mistakes again. In fact Im looking forward to making all new mistakes. As I am learning, and trying to expand the only thing I could imagine is to get to 60 + hives and have disaster strike and not know whats happening. Im looking forward to spring, I have packages ordered, I have queens ordered, Im planning on making queens, and Im planning on expansion, but the only advise is Learn, learn, learn, then recognize whats happening around your hives, in your hives, and the world around you. Just wanted to share
 

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Dave, ouch! sorry to hear of your rough year. did you have a total loss? or how many have made it this far out of the 20 you had?

Ricky
I have 4 surviving hives. I have 10 packages and 5 extra queens on order for first of April. But I still have to get through march. Winter storm watch for this weekend
 
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