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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi Guys,

I'm wondering about beehive populations after an early spring Split and then recombine in Summer in time for the main flow, verses the populations when using methods to open the broodnest.

Opening the broodnest and other spring management methods such as Checkerboarding or Pyramiding Up are known to produce larger populations, but spilts mean there are two queens laying, so possibly a larger population as well. (Given that two queen hives are known to have about double the number of bees of a typical hive.) But doing a split means you need to overwinter a queen in a nuc or order a queen in from interstate for best results.

By what I've seen, to open the broodnest you really need to use drawn empty comb, but if you haven't got drawn comb, the next best option is to do a spilt. So does this produce an equivalent population when recombined?

Your comments, experiences?

Thanks
Matthew Davey
 

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All of this depends on the flows. An early spring split can hold back the production colony if buildup conditions aren't right. While the book says a colony will re-build itself in four weeks, I don't think so. If the weather is bad after the split, neither the parent nor the split can build up properly and production is lost...especially in areas with early flows that end mid-summer. Again if the weather is good, but poor later during the good flows, the split colony has lost the early flows because they haven't got the population it requires, or because the later flows failed. This is one reason I went to splitting up non-productive colonies into nucs for over wintering and moved away from early spring splits. Methods like opening the broodnest and reversing work better for me in my area.

You mention splitting a colony and then uniting later to increase population for main flows.

Rather than removing the split to another stand, make the split using the whole top brood box, elevate it over a solid inner cover, and introduce a new queen there. In three weeks to a month, that nuc will be packed with bees and be in possession of a new queen. Unite at the beginning of the main flows. Takes less equipment this way and you don't lose field bees when you move the nuc back to the original stand.
 

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Comment for Mr. Davey and a question for Mr. Palmer:

From what I've read, opening the broodnest and checkerboarding are really two different methods. Checkboarding is a method that requires lots of comb, but opening the broodnest is really about putting in empty frames or undrawn foundation in order to occupy the otherwise bored young bees, so this method doesn't require any comb at all, and actually results in lots of comb being drawn.

Question: Mr. Palmer, if splitting in this vertical way, would you recommend turning the top hive 180 degrees so the entrance is opposite the original hive entrance, or do you find that it doesn't really matter?

Thanks.
 

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Comment for Mr. Davey and a question for Mr. Palmer:

From what I've read, opening the broodnest and checkerboarding are really two different methods. Checkboarding is a method that requires lots of comb, but opening the broodnest is really about putting in empty frames or undrawn foundation in order to occupy the otherwise bored young bees, so this method doesn't require any comb at all, and actually results in lots of comb being drawn.

Question: Mr. Palmer, if splitting in this vertical way, would you recommend turning the top hive 180 degrees so the entrance is opposite the original hive entrance, or do you find that it doesn't really matter?

Thanks.
 

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http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm

The simple version is to make sure you have some eggs in each of the deeps and put them facing toward the old location. In other words put a bottom board on the left facing the left side of the hive and one on the right facing the right side of the hive and put one deep on each and maybe an empty deep on top of that. Put the tops on and walk away.
This side by side concept makes the most sense to me because the parent hive is moved and the foraging bees have to decide which hive to link up with. If you keep the parent hive on it’s bottom board the foragers are going to go with the parent hive. No? I would think that would happen if the hives were one on top of the other.
 

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A few years back I noticed one of the local operations here had single deep nucs on an inverted inner cover over the honey supers. These hives were on four way pallets in a summer location. All entrances were facing the front of the hives. Not sure if they were started from cells and then dropped down to requeen during the first round of pulling.
I have extra equipment so some years I will make a weaker split with a cell and once the queen is laying will two queen a production hive. This boosts the nuc while not slowing down the original hive too much. At the end of the flow I check the hives and if there are two queens I split them apart and winter them as singles and if only one queen then it winters as a double.
 

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Look at the resources you have: Quantity of bees, number of queens, nectar flow, equipment, etc. Figure out which is the limiting factor. Use the not limiting factors to maximize usage of the limiting factor. You may find that the bees know the best time to "Split", follow their clues.

Crazy Roland
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Libhart: I have edited my original post to be more clear. Although you could argue that inserting empty comb, empty frames, Pyramiding up and Checkerboarding are all ways to open the broodnest. That's because they all redefine the boundary of the broodnest and make more space for the broodnest. Checkerboarding is just opening up the TOP of the broodnest by breaking up the band of capped honey at the top that defines the broodnest boundaries.

I have just bought and given a split a Carniolan queen (summer here). I'm hoping, given they build up quick in early Spring (I assume using a good deal of winter stores) that an early split with Carniolan's, provided they have good stores and a good number of bees, that they should build up quite well.
 
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