Add A Super of Prepare For A Split

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by litefoot, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Add A Super or Prepare For A Split

    The foraging activity in my 2-deep slowed noticeably a couple of weeks ago, and the upper deep had no comb drawn out whatsoever. I was worried, so I started feeding them again and now they're consuming about a gallon a day of syrup. Amazingly, two weeks later, I went from bare foundation on all the frames in my second deep to 6-7 mostly drawn out frames.

    Now, the focus of my concern is crowding and if I should start anticipating a split. My concern is that it's too late in the season here in Utah. I'm only about 10 weeks from potential freezing tempeatures again and I worry that a split will not leave the two colonies with sufficient time to build up and have sufficient stores for the winter, especially with the drought we've had.

    Or would I just be better off adding a medium super to alleviate the congestion and revisit the question in a couple of weeks? My goal in this my first year is not honey, but to learn the art and to hopefully get the colony ready for the winter. Honey would be a surprise bonus.

    Thanks again for suffering the newbie.:|
     
  2. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Litefoot,
    Since your stores at this point seem to be mostly syrup based and not really honey, I would lean toward recommending a split. You could continue to build up two families toward winter readiness with feeding as much as they'll take.

    My recommendation to split is because of my personal feeling that a beekeeper should have a minimum of two hives, one serving as a backup for the other in case of any trouble. One hive only, if you lose your queen you're "out of the game" and have to start from scratch. Two hives, and you lose your queen, you quickly raise a replacement and you still have two hives.
    PS. We don't "suffer newbies". All of us were once newbies and turned for advice. We're just keeping the ball rolling. :thumbsup:
     

  3. Zookeep

    Zookeep Active Member

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    I agree with EF, its much better to have more then 1 hive and specially going into the winter, but I think in your case I would buy a queen and put her in 24 hours after the split in the queenless hive so you dont miss weeks of egg laying, and then just keep feeding and adding boxes and build them both up for the winter.
     
  4. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Buying a queen will put you ahead of the game for sure. If you split and let them raise their own queen it will be short of 60 days till the first new bees emerge. With a bought queen you can cut that down by 1/2.
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would agree with the above if this were April. With 10 weeks to go, I would say NO. If the hive is HEAVY, like 125 lb., I would stop feeding and monitor the weight. If it continues to gain, place a super on. If it declines, feed sparingly to maintain the weight. If it is light now, they are likely moving up and have lots of room in the bottom box. Check it and be sure there are 8 FULL frames in EACH box before thinking they are 80% full.
     
  6. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Thanks for the good advice. Most of the upper is uncapped syrup at various stages of "fill". Should I give the existing colony a chance to cap most of this off before I attempt a split or does it matter. I've been reading plenty about the mechanics of the split, but other than the usual triggers such a swarm and/or queen cells, I'd like to hear your thoughts about the timing of a split. Obviously, a short summer, such a we have in Utah has to be taken into account, right?
     
  7. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Thanks, I hadn't considered that the bees may be moving "up". Maybe I'm being a bit hasty. I'll do a thorough inspection before I decide anything. And I'll have to do some reading on "weighing a hive" too.
     
  8. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    litefoot,
    "My concern is that it's too late in the season here in Utah. I'm only about 10 weeks from potential freezing tempeatures again and I worry that a split will not leave the two colonies with sufficient time to build up and have sufficient stores for the winter, especially with the drought we've had. Or would I just be better off adding a medium super.... and My goal in this my first year is not honey, but to learn the art and to hopefully get the colony ready for the winter. Honey would be a surprise bonus.

    litefoot, i think you have answered your own question in the last sentence regarding splitting. based on what you said, nectar dearth, and this being a first year colony, i would not split, i would focus on exactly what you said, getting your colony ready for winter, and then next spring, this colony will be more than ready for a divide.
     
  9. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    litefoot,
    what race of bees are you keeping?
     
  10. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    They are Italians.
     
  11. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Take the advice given by those who live in northern climates. They have more experience with what is apropriate for your area than I do.
     
  12. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Ef,
    Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I really value your input.
    Joel
     
  13. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    I would have a good look in the bottom brood chamber see if the queen is being cramped for laying space, often bee will store nectar in the brood frames this uses alot of space, that the queen no longer can use. Look for full frames of honey/ syrup in the brood chamber and relocated them either towards the outside on either side with continuous brood in the middle 6 frames I would shift the full frames( capped honey/ syrup into the upper brood chamber and place open comb or foundation below in the , 2 or 9, 10 places in the bottom brood chamber. as needed they will draw out foundation as needed.
    Barry
     
  14. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Good information. I'll check this when i inspect next time. Thank you.