I have one hive that survived the winer thus far. Last week I added a 10 lbsugar block with two mega bee pollen patties. When would it be appropriate too swap the bottom 10 frame deep with the top one. I am looking to make a walk away split with this hive.
I rotate when the top box is full of brood and the bottom has none. if they both have brood in them I'll add another box for the split. Take the box with the youngest larva for the split the queen might be in that box when i find her there I just take the frame over to the parent hive and run her in the entrance.
Do you plan to use a purchased queen or get one mated from your own area?
Dutchess County is somewhat warmer than where I am in north of Albany (northern Rensselaer Co.), but I don't have reliably good chances of open mating for at least three more months (tail end of May, usually is the first chance.) One can usually buy southern or CA mated queens in late April or May.
Aggressive pollen supplementation will push your brood production, both in quantity and in timing. And in a two deep hive you want to split before it blows out of town in an early swarm, so you may need to do the split before you can expect good chances at open mating. Some commercial nucs producers up here do put pollen sub in their hives in February, but their plan is to bust the whole yard up into nucs for sale in April/May, with purchased queens in all of them. They want lots of frames of brood to make up those nucs, so their goal is not the same as people who want to just make a single split with an open mated queen.
I realize this isn't quite your question, but by adding pollen sub now you have embarked in a direction towards a very early split, not really one of the walk-away kind.
Regarding box rotation: if your site is a warm one, you can do that once it warms up some more - this is probably too early, even in Dutchess Co. The risk in reversing early is that you are frustrating the bees' wise move to the upper, warmer box to raise their brood. So I wouldn't reverse the boxes in a two-box stack until the weather won't condemn the bees (and brood) in the lower box to chilling.
I run three deeps and I typically do my first box reversal at the end of March or early April, but it is very weather dependent - I wait until I can see a 10-day settled period in the near future. And my move merely puts the upper box (the one with brood in it) in the middle position, not the lower one. So, down one place, but not at all near the chilly entrance area - there's at least a deep below it, often a deep and a medium if I have a pollen box in the lowest position. If I was using only doubles, i would do it a bit later. My hives are also very well insulated (3" of foam insulation).
I am adding winter patty now, but not pollen patty until the third week in March. It's OK to take the pollen patty out of the hives, if you can do so very soon. After a week or, so, I would leave it and try to figure out how to handle such an early push. The usual timing for pollen sub is about six weeks from your target point - for what ever is your goal. So, the nuc-producers up here who are aiming at splitting all their hives put pollen on about the second or third week in Feb. and plan to make up the nucs and install queens right around the middle of April.
thank you very much, from what you are telling me it sounds that the biggest risk is having a split that will have a virgin queen do to lack of drones being present to mate. I was wondering if you thought by adding a super with drawn out comb to possibly stop them from wanting to swarm. I can also get a queen in the beginning of April what do you suggest. I really do appreciate the input
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