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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tell me how you split a new 5 frame nuc to make the maximum number of strong hives going into winter. This is a bee crop no honey crop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Only two? I have done that with a honey crop.
Perhaps you misread.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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In a two or three weeks the queenright side (if you introduced a queen to the queenless side perhaps it too...) will be ready to split again. In another two or three it may be ready to split again. That is the point. A split that is at critical mass can replenish itself quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you. The comment of "critical mass" seemed to bring a few things together for me. I don't recall, but I am sure that you do, one of the famous authors, guessing Doolittle, said to take brood from the weaker to build up a stronger hive. Then only after give brood back to build the weaker hives. I'm thinking that the stronger hive needs to reach "critical mass" before anything good can happen. So contrary to just making all the hives equal, that seems to be the fashion these days.

Eureka!
 

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I did things a little different last year and got 6 hives pretty quick. I did wait till I had a full brood chamber just to make sure the first hive could recover quickly. Also, I have 3 med boxes for a brood chamber instead of deeps. That said, I took 5 frames of eggs/larva and put them in a nuc box and threw in some extra bees to help out (3 more frames). I let them go for a couple weeks and they made about 20 queen cells across the 5 frames. As soon as they capped the queen, I took each frame and put it into another box (5 boxes total) along with two more for each from the original hive, plus 2 more undrawn frames for them to work on. This made 5 nucs, which converted into 5 hives, plus the original.

I probably could have done it again after a month or so. And could have done it with each of the new hives when they reached full brood chamber.
 

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In a two or three weeks the queenright side (if you introduced a queen to the queenless side perhaps it too...) will be ready to split again. In another two or three it may be ready to split again. That is the point. A split that is at critical mass can replenish itself quickly.
Several times I have read your advice not to split until you have a big strong double deep (or eq) but that is the first time that I've heard you explain your reasoning like that. Or if you did I missed it. Thanks.

So, it sounds like one could take an 8 frame split off of that big strong hive (leaving 3 - 8 frame boxes) every 2 weeks or so as long as the flow lasts and the hive remains strong. Yes? I guess you would have to give it most of the comb instead of expecting them to build it though.
 

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Another method is to get some hives to critical mass (usually about two ten frame deeps worth of bees) and then, since they are finally at that point, you can usually steal a few frames of brood and honey every few days from each of those hives without setting them back at all.

One way to think of this is as a business or an economy or a home economy. When you are struggling to meet your overhead (pay your bills, catch up on your debt), you can't afford much and everything is a struggle. When you finally get to the point that you have expendable income you can be much more efficient and everything is getting done. Put it another way. A queen can lay far more than even moderately large hive can raise. It takes a real booming hive to actually have the "bee power" to feed and care for more than one queen can lay. And the hive hasn't really reached it's potential for brood rearing until then.
 
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