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I am a second year beek with a single hive (one deep and one shallow) that I started from a package of Italians in April. (The components are left over from an established hive I bought from a local beek last year that never seemed to get going, likely due to a lot of rookie mistakes, and absconded.)
My hive seems to be boiling over with bees and I fear that the queen may be honey bound, as the deep is full of well-patterned brood (and honey and pollen) and the shallow is full of strictly honey. I also have one completely full honey super and have just added a second honey super.
1) When do I know it is time to make a split?
2) And if I DO make a split, when is the latest I should do so to make sure that both hives make it through the winter?
3) Or should I just add another deep to enlarge the brood chamber and make a split in the early spring?
4) Should I just be happy that I have a hive that is doing so well and keep adding honey supers?
Any feedback would be appreciated.
 

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Concentrate on the 1 hive you have and getting them through till next spring. Put the empty deep(as long as it is disease free)you have underneath the present hive on top of the bottom board. That will give the queen a place to lay as the bees push the broodnest down. If your honey supers are drawn out and you have plenty of flow left put on 2 supers on top. That will relieve congestion, give plenty of room for the queen below, and give the bees room for nectar above.
 

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Thanks, Shannon! That sort of leads me to another question: What's the best way to find out when my local nectar flows occur? I checked out some local beekeeping club websites and the county extension web site without much luck. Any other suggestions?
 

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I have that SAME question (about local nectar flow and when is too late to split) ... thanks for the thread! :thumbsup:

Peace,
Joseph
 

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1) When do I know it is time to make a split?
2) And if I DO make a split, when is the latest I should do so to make sure that both hives make it through the winter?
3) Or should I just add another deep to enlarge the brood chamber and make a split in the early spring?
4) Should I just be happy that I have a hive that is doing so well and keep adding honey supers?
Any feedback would be appreciated.
First, you shouldn't be splitting from a package, they need to build up. Second, being in Denver I would suggest you get a second brood box on your hive. The Italians are going to burn through your honey in the fall after the flow starts and will be starved out long before winter sets in and they are down to the winter cluster. In this area and with Italians you need two brood boxes if you want them to make it. You are on the right track with number 3. That's the way I would go. Once they fill out the second deep keep adding supers until the second week in Aug. After that, just let them pack out the hive for the winter.

As far as flow it depends where you are in the Denver area. Lots of wildflowers blooming from Spring to Late Summer so there are lots of micro flows going all during that time. Lots of sweet clover this year everywhere and it's flowing now and will till mid/end summer. If you are near alfalfa fields look for a good flow on the second cut. I am sure they have done the first cut already. They usually leave the second cut longer and it usually has a much better flow anyway.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the response to my somewhat scattered query.
So does, "After that, just let them pack out the hive for the winter" mean that I should get a second deep and after mid August harvest my honey supers and leave what's stored in the two deeps for the bees for the winter? (I've read that Italians can be voracious breeders and can catch you off guard in the fall by being overpopulated going into the winter.) The "second week of August," is that the time after which I'm safe to harvest honey from my honey supers? Or with this being a relatively new colony should I leave more honey than what's stored in the two deeps?
I understand that the bees need more room, but you sort of lost me at the part about the bees "burning through all of their honey during the fall flow" and being "starved out" before they form their winter cluster.
Again, thanks for the reply, and it's a relief to get one from a CO beek!
 

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Last year I started with a package of Italians and got them to fill two deeps before winter. They over wintered fine on that amount of food. This year I have the same hive in a deep and two mediums. I'm thinking about overwintering them in one deep and one medium and keeping the second medium for me... not sure yet though.
 

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Sorry for not being clearer. If I were you I would pull my supers and add a second deep. Let them fill that out with bees and honey. If they do this before the middle of Aug. they you can place the supers back on. If they haven't, then leave them bee. By not taking anything from them by mid Aug. you are leaving them enough time to gather nectar to pack out their hive for winter. If you leave them on too long, you get more honey, but they won't have enough stored in the brood area to get through winter. Keep an eye on them going into late fall. Italians tend to shut down slower once it gets cold and the bigger fall colonies can eat lots of stores. After the first frost check them and feed 2:1 if they don't have their combs filled. It will still be warm enough in the days for them to feed and by then they will have started to get closer to their winter cluster.

You can go ahead and harvest the supers of honey they already pulled out but hang onto the shallow in case they need it in the spring.
 

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If the flow is going to give out in ten days, it's too late to make a split. :) It's always a gamble the later you get, but if you get a good fall flow, July might work fine. Even August if you get a good fall flow and a late freeze... now where did I put that crystal ball...
 

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If the flow is going to give out in ten days, it's too late to make a split. :) It's always a gamble the later you get, but if you get a good fall flow, July might work fine. Even August if you get a good fall flow and a late freeze... now where did I put that crystal ball...
Thanks MB! I Googled "nectar forecast" and got as much help but with more "ifs" :)

Seriously, I'm beginning to lean towards waiting for spring on this ... it's not a 'split' per se as much as a way to populate the TBH I built with only 15" top bars combined with a strong unwillingness to destroy the brood along with the frame that "chop and crop" would require :( ...

Somewhere on the forum, I got the inspiration to 'scab' a couple of my 15" top bars under a couple of Lang-sized bars and intersperse (i.e., checkerboard) them with the brood nest in my strongest Lang ... should work if I keep a close eye on them, right? :scratch:

Thanks again for being so open-handed with all of your hard-earned expertise!

Peace,
Joseph
 
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