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I have 5 hives with my best being 16 deep framesl of brood, in 2 -10 frame boxes. They already have drones flying like crazy and have 2-3 frames capped drones! This same hive has already filled a medium full of nectar where I had to add another. I have queen/swarm cups but nothing with an egg/larvae in it, yet. The other 4 hives have some drone brood, but nothing compared to this hive.

We're still getting night temps in the high 40s/low 50s with day temps in the 60s. We'll still likely get plenty of rain but the rain usually brings warm temperatures. Santa Cruz isn't exactly know for extreme cold or heat.

My #1 goal this year is to breed the queen of the above mentioned hive. This is her 3rd year and each year she comes out of winter absolutely killing it! Her daughters are incredibly gentle and obviously productive!

Too early to split? Perhaps do a 4 frame split in a nuc so I have plenty of bees to keep the hive warm? In past years I've had great success raising queens with 3 frame splits, with lots of nurse bees, but those are during warmer temps.

Should I go for it?
 

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If I had those temps and "drones flying like crazy", I would split. Just make sure you have enough bees to keep everyone warm. I assume you are taking out the queen in a split, and letting them raise queen cells? Also keep in mind I know nothing about keeping bees in California...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If I had those temps and "drones flying like crazy", I would split. Just make sure you have enough bees to keep everyone warm. I assume you are taking out the queen in a split, and letting them raise queen cells? Also keep in mind I know nothing about keeping bees in California...
It seems everything grows out here! When I moved out here from Northern Utah I was shocked to learn that after you summer garden died off, you just replanted it for the winter!

I just posted in my local club forum and others are having drones as well. It sounds like there would be plenty of drones flying to get well mated queens. We are also in full bloom so no lack of resources! On top of the hive starting queen cups at the bottom of the frames tells me I should do something.

We have a couple days of rain moving in, after a few days in the mid 60s. I'll wait until the forecast gives me at least a few more good days before doing the split, likely next week.

I still haven't decided how I'm going to do this one. I could either take the queen out with a good amount of brood and have the main hive produce another queen, or I could split the hive into a couple nucs and move those nucs out of the yard and have them raise their own queen. OR I could split it out into two nucs and place the nucs where the main hive was (leaving them about 18" apart from the center of the original hive), moving the queen and remaining brood to another location? My goal is to get as many hives as possible out of this queen - again for her amazing traits . I also failed to mention that this hive in three years has never been treated!

I may try my hand at grafting again, later in the spring, as I need my other hives to build up in order to give me the extra resources to make it happen (cell builder, finisher hive, mating nucs, etc, etc)
 

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i would consider splitting the queen out with 2 - 3 frames of mostly capped brood, a frame of honey, a frame of beebread, and move it out of the yard for a week or two.

leave the parent colony as strong as possible and in the same location. let the strong colony make queen cells and then go back in a week to make more splits with those cells.
 

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I definitely believe in leaving the hive in the original location to raise a queen as they have the older bees which bring in resources, just trying to plan beyond this initial split.

Maybe I'll remove the queen as you mentioned and leave the original hive to make up some queens, then go through it 12-14 days later and split that out into 2 nucs. I could always leave those nucs in the original location and slowly move them apart day by day. When the hive with the queen builds back up, I could repeat the process...or this will at least give me a head start on a few extra hives and I can start grafting in a month or so.
 

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waiting 12 - 14 days comes with the risk that you will have a virgin emerge and destroy additional cells. 7 to 10 days would be safer.

depending on how many cells are made, you could make up to 4 or 5 nucs from the parent colony, especially if the goal is to get as many daughters from this queen as possible.

this would increase the odds for you as all of the virgins may not end up returned and/or mated. that, and the old queen can crap out at any time.

in the event you only get a couple of cells you could make a couple of small splits from the parent colony, leave it fairly strong, and introduce another frame or two of eggs from the queenright split.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
As long as I can keep the majority of the bees coming back to the split. My thought on having 2 is that it's easy to divide them out by placing the nucs in the old location. If I do multiple, getting them spread out evenly can be challenging - unless I shake out additional nurse bees to account for the drift.

Having another beeyard would be ideal, but the location I was using recently got sold so I'll have to maintain them in one yard until I can figure out another location.
 

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i would consider splitting the queen out with 2 - 3 frames of mostly capped brood, a frame of honey, a frame of beebread, and move it out of the yard for a week or two.

leave the parent colony as strong as possible and in the same location. let the strong colony make queen cells and then go back in a week to make more splits with those cells.
X2
This is what I do. Will be making my 27th nuc by the end of tomorrow if the last few haven’t hit the trees.
 

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ah, i thought you mentioned another location in your second post.

yes, shaking in nurse bees and/or adding resources from other hives would be a decent way to equalize the numbers after splitting.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
ah, i thought you mentioned another location in your second post.

yes, shaking in nurse bees and/or adding resources from other hives would be a decent way to equalize the numbers after splitting.
I did list that as an option, didn't I...oops! I'm so used to having another location I didn't really think about it. I may have another yard available but it's about 30 minutes away - not exactly convenient for managing the splits.

I'll divide the queen out with what I think is enough resources to keep that hive very strong, gotta keep her strong and happy! I'll let the remaining hive draw out some queen cells and decide how many splits I'll do from there. All the nucs will remain in the same general area and I can always swap locations, for at least a few days, to make sure they balance out along with shaking in nurse bees either from the parent colony, or another one nearby.

Sounds like a solid plan. I'm currently only planning on this one split before I resort to grafting and make up mating nucs from my other hives.

Thanks everyone!
 

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Swarming usually starts this week in nearby San Mateo, so you should have no problem. Unless it remains rainy and you get some poor mating. I heard of one swarm up here already. We split hives full of queen cells on 2/11 and 2/19 as we made spring inspections, have not checked them yet for mating.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Swarming usually starts this week in nearby San Mateo, so you should have no problem. Unless it remains rainy and you get some poor mating. I heard of one swarm up here already. We split hives full of queen cells on 2/11 and 2/19 as we made spring inspections, have not checked them yet for mating.
My first swarm last year was caught on 1/11. We've had a lot more rain this year which is keeping the girls home - and obviously delaying swarms. I think the general consensus is that it's okay to give it ago. Monday is looking warm and clear with a small storm moving in on Tuesday. It's all sun in the forecast after that. Regardless, night temps aren't very cold and I built up some follower boards out of insulation. I'll put those in the nucs to give them 3-4 frames of bees after I have queen cells from the main hive.

Plenty of bees to work with so no reason they shouldn't come out strong.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So I ended up doing two walk away splits into nucs. I found the queen from the original hive and put her frame into a black box. I then took 3 frames of brood (made sure there were some eggs), a frame of honey, and added an empty frame to the outside. I then shook 3 frames of bees into each nuc to pack them with bees - knowing a good number would fly back to the original hive. Then added the queen back into the original hive.

It's been 10 days and I just checked the nucs. They look amazing! The brood has mostly emerged and there are 2-3 huge queen cells in each one. I did add some pollen patty and have been feeding but they have been working hard on that empty frame (foundationless) and barely touching the honey I gave them.

Meanwhile in the yard, I've seeing a lot more drones from my other hives. I was a little worried the only drones I had flying were going to be brothers of these new queens but that fear quickly went away today inspecting my other large hives.

Spring is definitely here for us!
 

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I did some splits today (7 in total). I took the queens and 3 frames with brood and two more frames with reserves for the 7 nucs that I took to another apiary. On the spot the hive was orphaned and I made OTS. At this location is beginning to bloom of heather and hope that the orphaned hives produce a little more in this condition. The nucs with queens will be used to palmerize hives dedicated to production in a flowering that will start within 15 days to 3 weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
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I did some splits today (7 in total). I took the queens and 3 frames with brood and two more frames with reserves for the 7 nucs that I took to another apiary. On the spot the hive was orphaned and I made OTS. At this location is beginning to bloom of heather and hope that the orphaned hives produce a little more in this condition. The nucs with queens will be used to palmerize hives dedicated to production in a flowering that will start within 15 days to 3 weeks.
Nice!

I used to have access to another property so I could do splits much easier. I've had to learn, the hard way, that I need to shake a whole lot of bees into the hive I'll be moving to another part of the yard - knowing many will fly back to the original location.

Fingers crossed though, I may have found someone willing to share their 20 acres with my bees - and they are about 15 miles away.
 

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Well, it is a year later and I have the same question you had. Can I mate queens now? Are you seeing drones? Thanks from Aptos!
 

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Well, it is a year later and I have the same question you had. Can I mate queens now? Are you seeing drones? Thanks from Aptos!
I already did my first round of queen cells and have mated queens! The flow is heavy right now and drones are everywhere!
 
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