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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

Would like to split my first hive into two after a successful wintering. I already have the second hive set-up. I would be grateful for any advice regarding when it is appropriate (or inappropriate) to make this move, as well as tips, tricks, or methods that you employ. For instance, is it true that the queen will probably be in the top hive body? I prefer to disturb them as little as possible so I don't want to be fumbling around too much. Anyway, I know very little about proper procedure so even if it seems automatic or too elementary to you, I could probably still benefit from the information.
The dandelions are blooming only on the south side of buildings/shelters right now and trees are leafing out. Daytime temps are forecasted to be in the 50's and 60's while the overnight lows are high 40's and so on. Although yesterday it was 80 and last night it only got down to 59.
Many thanks, and happy spring!

ps - how far apart do you set-up your hives? I've read many different approaches which resulted only in my confusion. I placed mine, facing in the same direction (south) three steps east and one step north from the first hive. thanks again-
 

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Greetings! Used to live in Presque Isle on Barton Street. Miss the County every day.

I like to make splits when drones are present. I wasn't a beekeeper when I lived up North but I would guess that you're on target or pretty close. You could wait a bit and be fine. The queen is usually near the frame where you see the most bees. I wouldn't count on her being up top. You should work hard to find her when you make the split. Better to bother them a little rather than accidentally take the queen with you. I usually split into a nuc so I take three frames of brood and two of pollen / nectar. If the brood frames have good stores I give them empty comb instead. I put those frames into a five frame nuc and introduce a queen the next day. You could always do a walkaway split which lets them grow their own queen. If you do that, make sure that one of the frames of brood is very young. Fresh eggs are best. They need those new eggs to make their queen. Again, having drones flying is important for when the queen hatches. You should be good at this point. Finally, the bees do a great job sorting out which hive they live in. Mine are often just a foot apart or even closer. I like your spacing though and I think you'll be just fine the way you are. Let us know how you make out!
 

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thinking about trying an even split or two myself.

how full should the hive be to attempt this... as in how many frames of brood, pollen etc?

Aslo is it ok to leave both new hives in the same yard or should one of them be moved to a new location? I have a location available to me but would rather not move them if i don't have to.
 

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No Drones here yet, I would'nt think he has any either. However I see the swarm thread has made it to MA, so we can't be far off.
 

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if doing a walk away split, as long as you were within 2 weeks or so of having drones wouldn't you be ok as there would be drones when the queen emerges?

I haven't had my hive open yet but i am pretty sure i hear a few drones over the week end when i was standing near the hives and i am north of you guys. I'll confoirm once i get them open
 

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I've had drones here in MA for a couple of weeks. I agree with the walkaway split timing. The queen should be emerging at about the same time as the drones are flying. Certainly, introducing a mated queen...ready to go...helps matters a lot!
 

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I did my first split ever this weekend without to much hassle. My queens arrived Saturday, so took 4 frames of mixed brood,eggs,etc and put in a deep box along with a frame feeder. In my case, I had eggs, capped brood in both top/bottom boxes, so finding the queen was needed. Anyway, let the new split sit for a day, then yesterday introduced a new queen in a cage. Hope all ends up well. I should mention....temps here were in low 40's and rained all weekend, so it made for a wet/cold workout with the bees. Good luck. PP
 

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Thanks everyone for the advice. It seems that introducing a queen would have been a more prudent choice for a beginner like myself. I had read that one could simply take the queen and four frames into the new hive and the old hive would grow a new queen to take her place. Apparently there are more variables involved than that simple scenario. I suppose it is too late to order a queen so I'll just try and keep a close eye on things and hope for the best. thanks again-
 

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John, do not be scared to make a walk away Split at all. I have let all my bees raise their own queens and they have done a great job at it go figure!!!
 

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I've got drones in Mid-Coast Maine. We also have a dandelion bloom going right now that looks like a golden carpet (more then I've seen in a long time), that and fruit trees are starting to bloom.

I'm splitting two today, one of my own and one for a friend.

K
 

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Thanks for the encouragement devdog and thanks for that update kopeck.
You've all been extremely helpful, and I am grateful.
Shouldn't be long now. I didn't see any drones yesterday but the dandelions are blooming in unsheltered locations now. I'll tell you honestly, I'm getting excited!
 

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John, theres only one problem if it works.......for some reason you keep doing it again and again....LOLOL.
 

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Success! Thank you everyone for your input and advice. It finally warmed up enough for the drones to actually fly and not just stagger about in a stupor. I had a long talk with the bees about my intentions and what it would entail. The next morning all were calm (but busy) and the split was done. The bees had built comb with brood in it attaching the top hive body to the bottom! Is that common? I also moved both hive bodies off the bottom board to inspect it as the books say to do but the bees had already cleaned it all up! What neat and tidy little girls they are! Yesterday all seemed well, so I feel assured that the bees are fine. Hooray!
Thanks again for everything-

and DevDog, I'm enthusiastic about that prospect!

Good day-
 

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Yeah, it can be if your spacing is off, they will also build queen cells there too...so i have found out the hard way...LOL. One word of warning, and i have learned my lesson. If you decide to split them again, give them longer with a laying queen. I ran split after split on mine, and now have laying workers....that should be a fun ordeal....
 

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Hello again,

It has been nearly a month but the bees in the original hive, from which I removed four frames, have not drawn much comb. They have attached their old frames to the four new frames, but they have not done much else. I am feeding them sugar syrup every week which they are consuming. Am I perhaps looking for too much progress or could this be a sign that something is amiss? I apologize if I have not provided enough information for anyone to make an assessment. With our short season up here I don't want to wait too long to take action if action is necessary, but I also don't want to mess around with them without true need. I am grateful for any advice, or insight that someone would care to offer.
thanks-
 

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I'm what 2hrs south of you?

(when reading what I post remember this is just my 2nd year so take it more as opinion)

From my experience they build comb fine on syrup.
As far I can tell the clover is flowing well.

What foundation are the new frames? If plastic - last year we found they didn't draw the plastic until it got hot (or at least that is how it appeared). As you know "hot" up here isn't so hot :D - I think it was august before they started doing anything on plastic.

If it is wax or foundationless then I would wonder what is up.
Are there plenty off bees and brood?
How are the frames positioned in the hive?


Mike
 

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Thank you everyone.

The frames have the plasti-cell foundation (from Mann Lake) and they are the same frames as the rest in the hive. The clover is indeed in bloom. It seems like last year they built up faster, but I could be imagining it. The four frames I removed were from the middle of the original hive so that's where the empty replacement frames went. There seem to be plenty of bees and brood but I'm new at this so perhaps I'm not assessing it correctly. The bees seem busy and not at all angry and they are drinking up the syrup quite rapidly. I'm at a loss.
 
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