So do you split a strong colony for increase or---

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by barry42001, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    keep your colony intact and make more honey then either split would make. I was chating with MamaBeek about just that. My personal preference--keep the strong colony intact and add the supers. One truely strong colony will gather, more honey then 2 moderate colonies combined. The biology of the colonies set the nature as to why. Increases made at a time of great colony strength--why is the population that strong--well maybe it's because of the impending main nectar and pollen flow. split the colony at this point--your taking away numbers when numbers are needed most. My preference in any event. If your afraid of swarming and there certianly is a possibility of swarming if you don't take prevention measures discussed in other posts, but if adequite storage space and brood space are available--then swarming possibilities are reduced--not entirely eliminated but reduced substancially, as per my experiences. Any thoughts?????? :wave:
     
  2. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Depends on many factors. But in general, I agree with what Barry said.

    I hear all the time "MY hives are so strong, I'm afraid they will swarm, so I'm going to split them". Which of course is the situation we all hope for in getting good honey crops....strong hives going into the main flow.

    What many do, is split hives right before the main flow. And it is true, two meduim hives will produce less than one strong hive.

    Everyone compares a swarm to a split hive. But a swarm is losing around 40% of your bees, but leaving intact, all brood. A swarmed hive actually recovers much faster than one thinks, and many times the beekeeper is totally unaware it even happened. A split, is removing in some cases, half the bees, and half the brood. This splitting situation leaves both halves much smaller and weakened as compared to the original (or swarm hive), and will produce less.

    So one can look at the split itself. Swarm control can be a split, but really should be a small split. Like removing three frames of brood plus queen, opening up the brood chamber, placing a queen cell, etc. This allows the field bee force to remain intacts, and many times can increase the honey production by having a decline on the resources needed to raise brood at this critical time of honey hoarding.

    Much in swarming can be helped by supering in time before the main flow. On average, most beekeepers are way late in placing supers, increasing swarming.

    So you have three things to consider.....

    If you split (anything more than a few frames) a hive, split at least 4-6 weeks ahead of the flow.
    If it is close to the main flow, split a much smaller amount (three frames), like making a nuc, and leaving the hive intact.
    Leave them alone, and many times a swarmed hive will still outproduce a 50/50 split hive.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    If you are on a path of not treating bees for varroa and such this means you will likely need to keep more hives than perhaps you might wish. my strategy is to use the strongest (and cleanest) hives for producing a honey crop, drones and sometimes a frame of brood or feed for a struggling new hive. anything that is struggling or appears to have excessive varroa number is split from the top down to the bottom board (Larry Conners call this a destructive split). a destructive splits will also interrupt the brood cycle which in turn interrupts the varroa's cycle.

    it takes a strong hive approaching swarming condition to capture a honey crop. a new beekeeper needs to learn how to manage this balancing act. an appropriate method of accomplishing this task will likely vary from location to location.
     
  4. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    :lol: Figures....beekeepers have been doing this for years, but it takes someone coining a fancy term, and somehow they get mentioned for the procedure :roll:
     
  5. m.s.

    m.s. New Member

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    Before I ask this question, let me say I know what a swarm is and packaged, yet, I don't see much difference.

    So, if I may, what is the difference between a swarm and packaged bees.


    Swarm = original queen branching off naturally for survival or seeking independence.
    -
    After swarm = Virgin queen branching off.
    -
    Packaged = man made with either a proven or unproven mated queen.
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Swarm... Unknown amount of bees, old queen. Unknown genetics, unless from your own hive. Unknown health...Possibly diseased.
    Afterswarm... Same as above, except young queen.
    Package... Known genetics, young queen, known amount of bees. Less chance of disease if from a reputable dealer.
    Queen not the same strain as the worker bees. Shaking and travel stress.

    PRICE
     
  7. m.s.

    m.s. New Member

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    Ahem, I've always thought a "swarm" has a mated queen, young or old though some reading here and there suggests that's not 100 percent true. I ought to be more careful with what I say. I'll stick with a mated queen until I see it with my own eyes.

    Thanks!

     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I'll back you up on that. If she's not mated when she leaves the hive, she most likely is by the time they settle in new quarters.
     
  9. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper New Member

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    Package... Known genetics, young queen, known amount of bees. Less chance of disease if from a reputable dealer.

    Keep in mind experinced bee keepers are having more and more problems with the queens supplied in packages. I've never seen a reason for them being superseded soon afte they are installed in a hive. It also seems to be the biggest complaint I hear of the queens in packages from experinced beekeepers.


    :mrgreen: Al
     
  10. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Do you think sellers are putting their older queens in the packages they are shipping out so they can keep the young queens?
     
  11. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Packages...known genetics....hmmmm

    A dirty little secret in the bee industry is the wholesale dumping of tens of thousands of australian package bees used in almond pollination, snapped up by package producers needing to boost their numbers, then unsuspecting beekeepers getting them in their packages.

    Bet most who have complained about crappy packages the past two years, didn't even think that they may have weak mite resistant bees, stressed from almond pollination, and genetics possibly originating half way around the world.

    I've never heard so many beekeepers as the last two years, complain about constant/ongoing supersedure, poor buildup, and complete failure of packages.
     
  12. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    al writes:
    Keep in mind experinced bee keepers are having more and more problems with the queens supplied in packages. I've never seen a reason for them being superseded soon afte they are installed in a hive.

    tecumseh:
    well the literature from say 20+ years back definitely suggested nosema a. all fairly well documented in a blind test from half a dozen well known queen producers. some queen producers had failure rates as high as 100%. you can now likely add nosema c. to this list of usual suspects.

    omie writes:
    Do you think sellers are putting their older queens in the packages they are shipping out so they can keep the young queens?

    tecumseh:
    well this has been done before. saw it myself long ago and the queens were from a fairly well known queen producer. we reasoned (at the time) that the queen producer was harvesting queens from the queen excluder when he shook packages. any queens acquired in an introduction cage should be inspected throughly and look like a new queen. the queen should be somewhat small (her abdomen will not be fully developed) and her wings should always be smooth along the back edges. on occasions I have sold 'new' queens to folks that had been in mating boxes for some time (+ 30 days) that looked more like an older queen... I typically tell the customer this before I ship the queen. since most queen producers use baby nucs boxes it is not possible to hold a new queen in such a small box until she physically matures.

    ps the well know queen producer in the above case has been out of business for about 20
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    bjorn writes:
    A dirty little secret in the bee industry is the wholesale dumping of tens of thousands of australian package bees used in almond pollination, snapped up by package producers needing to boost their numbers, then unsuspecting beekeepers getting them in their packages.

    tecumseh:
    humm... that quite a curious little conspiracy theory you got going there bjorn.

    this conspiracy first runs a ground of any kind of sound bioliogical reasoning (ie how do you shake a package from something that start out with little on no resistance to pathodgens in the niche in which it has been set?) secondly (and I suspect more importantly) this conspiracy defies any kind of economic reasoning as almost anyone who reflects upon the relative price of us and australian package would or should notice.

    this is not to suggest to anyone that there are not australian packages coming into this country but their use (as far as I can tell) is for fulfilling pollination contracts in the almonds and thereby reducing pollinator's litigation fees.
     
  14. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    It is usually called a conspiracy, from people who lack information or knowledge.

    This topic was discussed at the HAS this past summer, by a number of individuals, some in high places, and commented with first hand knowledge.

    Here is the situation.....

    Australian bees are brought in by the tens of thousands.

    They are primarily are being used by almond pollinators.

    After getting the pollination fees, the beekeeper (or farmer themselves), needs to make a decision. Either keep these bees, knowing they have almost no previous mite exposure (mite resistance) and treat the crap out of them (requeening would be an option but for finding sometimes tens of thousands of them), or they can dump the packages (which are now hives) on the open market and recoup some (if not all) of their investment.

    They only need to treat, feed or keep alive, the packages until they get paid their fees. Then they dump them. And anyone can see both ads for thousands of packages being sold to commercial types needing bees for California hives, and the ads selling thousands of hives after they are no longer needed.

    The bees mags are full of advertisements in the spring with ads such as "5,000 colonies for sale after almond pollination". Think about it....why are there mass dumping of bees on the market?

    The stories I heard were FIRST HAND ACCOUNTS, of seen trucks of loaded hives showing up in Georgia, to make up for heavy losses experienced by some operations.

    I have also since last summer had a number of discussions with some larger type operators. They acknowledged this has been going on for a few years now.

    So go ahead tec, call it my little conspiracy. It's a conspiracy because nobody is willing to tackle or approach this issue with a ten foot pool.

    This harkens back to 5 or 6 years ago, when even suggesting that commercial types were using illegal chemicals in the hives, was met with denial and outright lies. I think we know enough today with CCD testing of combs, etc., to see that it WAS happening afterall.

    It will be an item going forward that will be discussed. At least one entomologist has commented on this situation and is looking into it.

    Don't ask for names.

    I'm not sure how to address your comments regarding prices differences of Australian and U.S. packages. It has nothing to do with it. Australian packages are available (sorry new beeks...normally only available in large pallet type numbers) starting in November. Anyone can see this in one of the ads in the bee mags. They are brought over starting in November (and throughout the winter), which is in line to catering to pollination needs in California. Since there is no availability of US packages in this timeframe, price is a non-issue, in whatever comparision you may try to make.
     
  15. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    bjorn writes:
    The stories I heard were FIRST HAND ACCOUNTS, of seen trucks of loaded hives showing up in Georgia, to make up for heavy losses experienced by some operations.

    I have also since last summer had a number of discussions with some larger type operators. They acknowledged this has been going on for a few years now.

    So go ahead tec, call it my little conspiracy. It's a conspiracy because nobody is willing to tackle or approach this issue with a ten foot pool.

    tecumseh:
    you line of logic and evidence is highly flawed bjorn. you claim 'first hand account'???? so tell me how one individual might watch packages arrive via air in California (where they quickly become hives but still witnessed first hand) and then be in place to see and verify that these same packages (now hives) showed up in Georgia? seems like you first need to discern the difference between someone's fantasy and actual fact.

    as to 5 thousand hives for sale after the almonds???? perhaps the reason is the same one used by southern beekeepers for generations which is... a lot of bees and a lot of brood and no crop on which to place them. so we kindly sell them to yankee beekeepers who cannot keep their hives alive.

    actually I 'suspect' a lot of the hive sold in this manner is a slick means of generating a bit of income while ridding yourself of comb that have been exposed to stuff and risk that you would like to pass on to someone else. no first hand evidence... just a guess for certain.

    bjorn writes:
    'm not sure how to address your comments regarding prices differences of Australian and U.S. packages. It has nothing to do with it.

    tecumseh:
    once again you have failed the basic taste test bjorn... which basically is that conspiracies are usually about $$$ (or sometime the power acquired from $$$).

    DE-nile (not a river in Africa) is always a good ploy when someone cannot (or will not) confront basic questions.
     
  16. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    I think I outlined the details very clearly for any person of rationale could understand. Regardless of your claims of flawed this or that, the details are in the "pudding" so to speak. And this is the same line of logic so many claimed for years that illegal chemicals were not used, among other little secrets in the industry.

    I suspect in the future, producers will take it upon themselves to state that they do not do this, just as some now claim "pollen free" in their supplements (came about by some getting busted for using tainted pollen from China) and others stating "We raise our own queens/bees" or other statements of chem free or other claims concerning one issue or another,...... of which could be assumed in the past, but not now in the future.

    I do have wonderment, in the fact I have had multiple discussions of those having details of this happening, as well as this very discussion with other beekeepers. And NOBODY has taken the stance of denial that you have. Perhaps that "smell" test you make reference (I smell before I taste :thumbsup: ), is somewhat clouded by your close association with certain large package providers in Texas. Now that could just possibly fit the consideration of any smell or taste test, don't you think? :lol:
     
  17. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    How can two people disagree so strongly on the difference in 6 and a half dozen?

    Yes, there are packages coming from Aus.
    Yes, they are used to pollinate almonds.
    Yes, they are strangers to mites.
    Yes, they are, many times, sold afterward.
    Just because you say something with a different set of words, doesn't mean it will have a different meaning.
     
  18. cow pollinater

    cow pollinater New Member

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    Sorry Bjorn, gotta go with tec on this one. Ussually what we see after almonds is older equipment and comb for sale out here. The other thing we see is guys who do pollination only will buy a package in May, let it build and take it to the almonds the next spring with no inputs and then sell it as a one year old unit and then repeat... Much cheaper than paying to send them back to wherever they came from.
    The aussie bees just fill equipment that is already rented for a certain price. Even the big guys who sell both aussie and quality queens aren't offering aussie genetics for anything but a box full of bees for pollination.... They don't want to ruin their reputation selling junk. They offer live bees when live bees are needed and that's it.
    (and no, I'm not pro aussie bees... they're junk)
     
  19. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    CP how do the Aussie bees hold up whe they meet the mites??

    So the Aussie bee packages are just flown in to fill boxes for the almonds and if they die out it is no big deal?

    G3
     
  20. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Sorry CP. Your stuck on the details, and may be missing the bigger picture.

    What beekeepers are supposed to be buying (from package producers), is genetics and quality, built on an operation doing all the correct things thay are supposed to be doing. When a beekeeper calls an operation, they are being sold a bill of sale, which at the moment, may not be what it seems.

    You may say that nothing more than old equipment and comb is being sold. As if that is fine unto itself. The fact that it is bees from almonds, on old comb, probably chemically tainted, being sold to operations in Georgia, then passed off as some quality bee product....would be seen by most beekeepers as bad enough.

    So lets take out the Australian connection, even though there is a problem. Lets assume that these operations are just buying stress bees after almonds, on old comb, tainted with chems....all something you seem to be suggesting is just business as usual.

    I bet that probably answers some of the questions on the crappy packages of late. And I bet even if we kept the story as that.....most would be shocked to find that out they really are buying.

    Fact....Bees are being shipped after pollination to some package producers. Fact, they do not advertise these bees for what they are......CRAP! And for all the dirty little things going on...someone is supposed to believe you that "we only sell stressed crappy bees on old comb...but NOT anything from Australia". As if somehow for the almighty dollar, some magical line is now drawn on that detail of the bees not being genetics from Australia.

    Forgive me if I don't buy that bridge you may be offering sometime soon..... :lol: I'll give you credit, at least you came as far to suggest that stressed bees on old comb is being dumped on the market. Now if you dig deeper, without bias, you may actually find the rest of the story.... ;)

    Are you really expecting people to believe that tens of thousands of Aussie packages are being sent to California year after year, and yet none of them are being sold afterwards? Amazing..... :rolling: