Splitting and Recombining to Maintain Hives

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Skyhigh, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

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    I've been reading about making splits as a form of swarm control if one sees swarm cells. I've also been reading about combining hives (using newspaper) if one or more hive is weaker. Do people use these two methods if they want to maintain only a certain number of hives but not lose their queens through supercedure or swarming?

    I'm going to have two hives with clipped, marked queens. If, sometime down the line, I notice queen cells (either for supercedure or swarming), could I go ahead and make a split with my marked queen (moving her and a couple frames of brood and bees into a nuc), let the original hive continue on its merry way and raise a new queen as it would, then off the new queen and do a newspaper combine reestablishing the old queen? Or, is there something in this process I'm not considering? (I'm assuming that the old queen isn't just in need of replacing in this scenario. I'm also assuming I don't become bee-crazy and want to establish countless numbers of hives around my house. ;) )

    This is part of my plan to reassure family and neighbors that I know what I'm doing. (Devious, huh?)
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I think 100 to 300 hives is considered sideliner, not commercial beekeeper. Just tell them you don't intend to go commercial with your hobby. :D

    Yes, you can do that. The only reason it won't work is..... You can't bring yourself to kill one queen, so you end up with another hive, and another, and another, and another,.................
     

  3. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    If you split inthe Spring or summer, keep that extra queen in a little 'holding tank' 5 frame nuc. Use that nuc to build and donate comb and donate eggs to other hives all summer. In the Fall, you can evaluate the whole situation and combine or move things around to achieve the number and strength of hives you want to go into winter with.
    Never kill a decent laying queen if you might possibly need one before winter! I lost one of my three summer-made nucs and I was real happy I hadn't killed that 'extra queen' in the third nuc!
     
  4. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

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    Okay, too funny! But, I'll definitely remember that, Iddee. "I'm not going commercial. I promise!" :lol:

    Omie,
    I'd love to follow your example! It sounds like so much fun and educational and one could even say it's environmentally conscious and good for the bees... But, I think while I'm here in Florida, I'll console myself that I can do beekeeping all year, but have to stay away from queen rearing. Otoh, I can see the advantage of maintaining even just one nuc and do as you say, thus having the backup queen and all the additional fun possibilities available even if I don't keep the new queen in the original hive (I could requeen or possibly leave a first generation daughter, but I'd want to mark her...) I've yet to focus on maintaining nuc sized hives yet, but can only imagine they might be a challenge. Still, this would only be an option for the first time (or two?) that I needed to prevent a swarm or supercedure.

    Ideally, I would like to be able to maintain whatever number of hives without having to worry about losing the queens until I am ready to replace them.
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    :goodpost:
    Omie is gettin' good at this stuff :D .

    Omie writes:
    Never kill a decent laying queen

    tecumseh:
    and definitely never kill a queen that has bee successful enough to come to some swarming edge... this almost by definition tells you the queen and hive have been ultimately successful.
     
  6. Baxter

    Baxter New Member

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    Great stuff, great bee keeping strategy

    Thanks