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Splitting Advice

3440 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Okbackwoods
Morning everyone and thank you for a great forum, I have learned so much from this forum. Well I'm in south Oklahoma and the weather here is pretty much mild/hot winters and falls. Summers are just hotter lol and dry. I have three strong two year hives and I'm going to attempt my first split. Ok let me list my plans and please critique sense this is my first time.

First I purchased a couple of the cardboard nucs cause basically I'm to poor to get anything better at the moment lol

Second I purchased two queens from beeweaver because I have heard great reviews about them, queens will be in the week of August 4th

After research in and utube I plan on taking from two of my strong hives, frame of honey, brood, nector pollen and nursing bees, then put in new queen candy side on bottom and sealing the box for a week. I will put the new nucs in my barn to keep out of the weather and direct sunlight.

I have ten frame supers already ready for them after the seven days. And plenty of 2/1 sugar water.

Is there anything I'm missing or can I go it better? Please advise and comment I'm learning here. Thank everyonee in advance for Any guidance.
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Why put them in your barn? Sealing them for a week prevents them from foraging, eliminating waste, and makes it much more difficult for them to manage hive temperature. Also, instead of disrupting them after a week by transferring into another hive body, why not start the nuc in the 10 frame equipment in the first place? Borrow the frame of honey, frame of pollen, and a couple of frames of brood (with clinging nurse bees) for each split, then ideally place them in the hive body in the location where you want them to establish. (Every time you move them you're going to lose some foragers and set them back).

With a hot, dry summer still upon us, 1:1 feed provides more water (which they can use to cool the hive), and is probably an advantage in this situation over 2:1 sugar water. After you add the queen (make sure the candy is not blocked by a cork), disturb them as little as possible, with a quick check after 4 or 5 days to make sure they released her from the cage. Then (except for topping up the feeder) leave them alone for a couple of weeks before checking to see how the new queen is laying.

Since they will have virtually no guard bees (since the adult bees on the borrowed frames are mostly nurse bees) don't forget to reduce the entrance to protect from robbing until they get more established, and make sure to use a top feeder instead of an entrance feeder. (An entrance feeder is an open invitation for robbing)

Good luck!
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Why not take 2 frames of capped brood and the bees on these frames from each hive (6 frames total) and put 3 frames into each nuc box? Then finish the nuc box with 1 frame honey/nectar and 1 frame with pollen.

The bees attached can free the queen. The soon-to-hatch capped brood will add population and leave a place for the queen to lay when she is released.

I would close the entrance to no more than 1" wide so the few bees there can defend it easier.

I would also put the nucs where I was going to have the hive in the long run.

I would also try to pull the bees in the middle of the day when most of the bees in the hive are the nurse bees and not contain a large number of foragers, as younger bees seem to accept queens more readily.

I would put the candy side up with room for the bees to get at it from the top.

As for feeding, pull your honey for the season from your established hives. Open feed 1:1 syrup instead of 2:1 and if the stronger hives get the feed, then pull the frames from them and give the nectar to your nucs as needed. This will eliminate the nucs being targeted for robbing plus they get comb as they need it. It's going to be tough to get new comb drawn in the nucs without a nectar flow and until the new hives have adequate population, they will be candidates for being robbed by stronger hives, especially if you are putting the feed to them.
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I would suggest moving away from your apiary if possible. I've done two splits this summer and both times...had trouble with robbing. The robbing killed one split and I was able to save the other. I would research Robbing Screens. this unique lil device is easy to make. there are designs on this site here. I'd make one for each split you'll be doing and staple it to the front of you nuc so that if needed, all you have to do is flip it up and block the entrance. make sure they're protected against ants. Those pesky critters will also try and rob/kill your new hive. Ants killed one split i've done. They mass invade and start killing bees and pulling brood out. If your going to be feeding....make sure it's contained within the hive and not open at the entrance. (feeding will induce robbing also). also....after the split...expect them bees to be a lil onery..takes 3-5 days for them to settle down.
1. move em if ya can
2. make robbing screens and have ready
3. protect against ants.
4.if feeding. have feeder that is contained within a hive box.
5. cross your fingers, say a quick prayer and hope for tha best!
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I hope you are giving them all drawn comb. It will be September before your queens bees are starting to hatch and the population starts to rise. They are just not going to have time to draw much comb. I would also give them a few shakes of bees to boost the numbers. They will only have 2 months to get ready for winter any delay or set back could result in failure.
Sealing them in your barn makes NO SENSE. I cannot imagine where that piece of advice came from.

Put the weak split in the location of the strong mother colony, and move the mother colony about 30-50 feet. The hives will equalize -- the foragers will fly back to the old location. It will take about 5 days for the old mother colony to restart strong foraging, but the split will take off like a rocket. In fact the downside of this relocation split is the new split may swarm (ie form swarm cells from eggs) if you don't get the queen out of its cage quick.

I agree with the other posters, pretty late in the season for a weak split. OK for a equal split -- where each sub-colony gets about one-half the resources.
If you seal them up in the heat, even in the shade, they will be dead in about 3 hours. It is not too late to split with a laying queen in this area. We'll have a fall flow soon and have been having a few summer rains. It won't frost until November. You will need to feed until the fall flow starts.
Hey everyone I kinda combined all your advice into one bits and pieces. Just wanted everyone to know the queens in both new splits are already out and laying as of this morning. Now I'm feeding away. Thanks again so much everyone for the knowledge they shared to help me complete this goal.
Just to verify about the barn idea for everyone. I didn't put the bees directly in the center of my barn, they were placed under a overhang out of the direct sunlight while i was splitting. There was also a good wind tunnel flowing through there to help.
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