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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The plan is to split up 20 hives completely to form approximately 100 nucleus colonies. What is the best way to find the Queen's? Going through them the day before and either cage or kill the Queen seems like one possibility but is there some more efficient method? These are all single deeps.
 

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Why do you want to find the queens? If you don’t plan to requeen all the hives you could just split them. Or just split a few colonies and move the queen cells that are formed to nucs with some frames.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Even if I keep the original queens they will still need to be found otherwise I will be putting good queen cells into 20 queenright colonies.
 

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Take a spare brood box 20 queen excluders and 20 ramps long enough to reach the hive entrance from the ground. Remove brood box from bottom board, place queen excluder on bottom board, place spare box on q.e., place ramp in front of hive, shake all bees from original brood box on the ramp placing bee free frames in the new box. Repeat for the next hive using the original box as the spare. When all the bees are back in the hive the queen will be under the excluder.
 

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Even if I keep the original queens they will still need to be found otherwise I will be putting good queen cells into 20 queenright colonies.
Not if you box clever ...

So - you're going to split each box into 5 (on average) ? Ok - take one box, move it away from the others (if necessary) and just do a 1-into-5 split. Spread those nuc boxes around a few feet apart ... and watch.

Four of those nucleus colonies should start showing signs of distress (although it won't be as clear as with a 50/50 split) - the fifth will have the queen in it. Then repeat with the other 19.

But - if you're producing your own queen cells, don't bother with the above - just accept a few losses and save yourself some time. Q/C's are cheap enough to mass produce - I often put two in the same nuc, just to make sure.
LJ
 

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First, I wouldn't completely sacrifice all the colonies at once. I would remove frames of bees and brood...over time, and last brood harvest the queens are removed and what's left becomes the last nuc. This allows the old queens to produce you additional frames of brood. We do this every year, making 350+. Each nuc gets two frames of brood and bees, and a frame of honey and one empty comb. We begin splitting about June 15, and finish about July 15. All nucs get a mated queen. We don't ask the nucs to raise their own queens. Doing so just limits what can be done. Also, when brood and bees are removed, the frames are replaced with comb not foundation. Foundation slows down brood production. Finding the queen? No need...Just be sure the queen isn't on the frames of brood you harvest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you KRhodes. Just the sort of info that really helps me out...seems quick and efficient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks little_john another interesting and novel approach...and I would know which ones were the old queens because when I check for mated queens 2 weeks later the colonies with the old queens would have plenty of capped brood.
 

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Another suggestion - if you're open to the idea of changing procedures - is to devote some of those colonies to the formation of 'brood-factories'. There's a description of how these work in MP's Sustainable Apiary video - links can be found at:https://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?352071-Michael-Palmer-video-reference-list

I'm finding the 'brood factory' concept one of the best ideas I've ever come across (thanks, Michael), and have been using a couple successfully for both generating brood and the drawing-out of foundationless worker comb. As these twin stacks have nurse bees both in abundance AND in continuous feeding mode, this coming year I'm also going to try raising a few queen-cells within each brood-factory to hopefully take advantage of those conditions. Should prove interesting. :)
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
First, I wouldn't completely sacrifice all the colonies at once. I would remove frames of bees and brood...over time, and last brood harvest the queens are removed and what's left becomes the last nuc. This allows the old queens to produce you additional frames of brood. We do this every year, making 350+. Each nuc gets two frames of brood and bees, and a frame of honey and one empty comb. We begin splitting about June 15, and finish about July 15. All nucs get a mated queen. We don't ask the nucs to raise their own queens. Doing so just limits what can be done. Also, when brood and bees are removed, the frames are replaced with comb not foundation. Foundation slows down brood production. Finding the queen? No need...Just be sure the queen isn't on the frames of brood you harvest.
Thanks Micheal Palmer, I really like the plan to let the old queens keep producing brood and bees, that fits well with my later summer splitting plans. With this plan in mind and since I have no confidence in finding queens (yet) could I, the day before, give the hive(s) to be split a new box with 8 empty combs and 2 combs from her nest or could I just give her 10 empty combs if I am feeding syrup and protein (because she would have no stores), shake all the bees down into the new box of combs then put the excluder on top and the box of combs (from her brood nest) over the excluder. This way I could confidently make the splits the next day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Another suggestion - if you're open to the idea of changing procedures - is to devote some of those colonies to the formation of 'brood-factories'. There's a description of how these work in MP's Sustainable Apiary video - links can be found at:https://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?352071-Michael-Palmer-video-reference-list

I'm finding the 'brood factory' concept one of the best ideas I've ever come across (thanks, Michael), and have been using a couple successfully for both generating brood and the drawing-out of foundationless worker comb. As these twin stacks have nurse bees both in abundance AND in continuous feeding mode, this coming year I'm also going to try raising a few queen-cells within each brood-factory to hopefully take advantage of those conditions. Should prove interesting. :)
LJ
definitely open to this idea as I am still laying the groundwork for my apiary and will definitely have brood factories...have seen all of Micheal's videos...love it all. In essence, what you suggested works very well with what has been suggested here, that is to use the original queens in the 20 boxes to continue making brood and bees for the rest of the summer...wow, such great suggestions!
 

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All great ideas for.splitting, but I question whether 20 single deep hives will have suffiecent resources to create 100 nucs. That would have to assume that every single frame was suitable for nuc making, something I do not see in my own apiary. Go with the brood factory idea and create 20 nucs per week or so using purchased queens. Or do a flyback split and harvest queen cells to create the nucs, just dont do them all at once. Huge amount of unecessary risk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi JWPalmer,
I've always been a risk taker, not braging by any means because sometimes you win big but sometimes you lose big. It seems it is the only way I go. However I have a sensible brother and a sensible cousin who would tend to dispense similar advice and I always appreciate that and i always try and take it a little bit to heart as well. Thank you!
 

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If you do end up splitting everything into nucs it becomes apparent pretty quickly which ones have a queen. Usually the boxes with an extra pound of bees hanging off the front are the ones with the queen.
 

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Last summer I took a simaler plunge. I split 9 hives into 60. Before splitting I fed and built them up to double deeps full of brood. I did it in stages over about a month leaving the established queens as brood factories or splitting a hive into for or five nucs leaving the parent queen with no brood but to receive all of the feild bees as I did everything in one bee yard. It was July which is after our flow is over so I open fed about 1000ft away to keep the little Nucs from being robbed. I built them all up to either single ten frame deeps our double five frame for winter and have only lost one of the Nucs so far.
 

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definitely open to this idea as I am still laying the groundwork for my apiary and will definitely have brood factories...have seen all of Micheal's videos...love it all. In essence, what you suggested works very well with what has been suggested here, that is to use the original queens in the 20 boxes to continue making brood and bees for the rest of the summer...wow, such great suggestions!
i started Michael Palmers method 2 years ago with 9 colonies. Im at 41 now. I run 18-20 of the 4x4x4 MP overwintering nucs which i use to replace deadouts, use for increase, sell the excess ones, and use for brood factories and to stock my cell builder for grafting and raising my own queens. I could be at double or even triple the colony numbers using Michaels methods but time is the limiting factor for me.
This is i think my 6th or 7th year of beekeeping i cant remember exactly.

He is right when he says the biggest issue is what do you do with all the extra bees!!!!
 

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All great ideas for.splitting, but I question whether 20 single deep hives will have suffiecent resources to create 100 nucs. That would have to assume that every single frame was suitable for nuc making, something I do not see in my own apiary. Go with the brood factory idea and create 20 nucs per week or so using purchased queens. Or do a flyback split and harvest queen cells to create the nucs, just dont do them all at once. Huge amount of unecessary risk.
THIS!
 
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