Splitting question

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by arkiebee, May 28, 2012.

  1. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Hi Guys - Just so happened when the state bee inspector was out inspecting my hives, one of them was fixing to or already had swarmed. We saw LOTS of queen cells with live little queens just dying to get out. So he split my hive for me by splitting the large hive bodies in half. In fact it was so close that when he moved one of the hive bodies for me, we saw a little queen peep out on the front landing board and then went back in. I know to check both hives for eggs (we did this last Wednesday) probably this Saturday?? But my questions is this: This hive had 3 supers on top (I had just put the third one on a few days ago) and I wondered WHEN should I add a second DEEP to both splits?? Both hive bodies are FULL of bees and in fact I was just out there and the largest one had bees outside bearding big time. It has been incredibly hot here, but those supers are full of honey too, so I wonder if it is a space problem too? The hive bodies I have all are new foundation and since it is getting towards the end of the honey flow (with this drought we are having) should I even put another hive body on them now or not? I know it takes a good honey flow and lots of energy to pull foundation - but they also will need the space too?

    We have had a great honey flow here, but if it doesn't rain they will be using the honey for themselves. All my hives are really huge right now and have lots of honey.

    Thanks for your wise advise!
     
  2. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    I am thinking that the flow here in North Central Arkansas is about over if not completely over, and in my estimation they aren't likely to get any more honeybound than they currently are. Also, as they consolidate the nectar and move it up to finish curing and capping it, that will free up some room. My bearding has increased here a lot, too, but that is not just because of the heat, although it's connected, in my opinion. The heat is causing the nectar to dry up in the flowers, so the foragers don't have much to do. Instead of being gone all day like they were, they are home and hanging around outside. Unemployed foragers doesn't cause swarming, but foragers plugging up the brood nest leaving the queen no place to lay eggs causes a lot of unemployed nurse bees, and that is a recipe for swarming.
    That's how I'm looking at my bees with the way I have them configgered, your situation might differ, of course.

    Is Amon still the state guy here? Did he tell you anything about the current conditions in Arkansas that might be useful?
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    So he split my hive for me by splitting the large hive bodies in half.

    tecumseh:
    man with service like that we could use that kind of bee inspector here.
     
  4. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    I don't get it. I know it's just me, but why not double the brood chambers for adequite egg laying space, and supply a few supers for nectar storage, in a timely fashion. For the swarm cells to be that advanced, this condition has existed for a few weeks to a month. Had you given them the space then, probably would not have to see your workforce split up. For me personally, nothing gives me more satisfaction then to see a colony absolutely booming with bees, bringing in the "goods" and seeing how big I can make that colony both size wise and population wise. The more bees that stay with the hive the more nectar/ honey they collect. Splitting for the purpose of making more colonies, got that. Splitting because if you don't your going to lose half or more the workforce creates 2 mediocre hive out of one strong hive and maybe they will get strong enough for the fall flow that you won't have to feed them overwinter. just my convoluted thinking again.
    Barry
     
  5. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    I'm certainly no expert in this but to answer your question if I had a similar situation I'd put on the extra deeps right now. I'd pull all the honey supers that are full and leave one honey super per hive with maybe 2 or 3 frames with capped honey, just in case the drought continues.
     
  6. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Both brood chambers were full of bees, brood, and food from one end to the other. I think I will go ahead and put on that extra hive body this weekend, but all I have is new foundation left. I mean if I started a new package of bees and they had 7 - 8 frames drawn then that's when you add a new hive body anyway. (That's my thinking anyway) This hive was absolutely huge, and Aman said that if we didn't split it now, I would have probably lost 1/2 of those bees in a swarm. Aman is still our inspector - he is doing a great job. I am glad he was here - those hive bodies - full - are HEAVY! He did all the lifting for me!:razz:
     
  7. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Did he just happen to be there or did you ask him to come by or what? He doesn't live too far from me, but I wasn't sure if inspectors normally just come randomly or if you need to ask them to or what...
     
  8. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    He will come and look at your bees if he is in your area. I just emailed him and asked him if he could come by and inspect my hives when he was in this area. I live north of Harrison, and he checked mine and another while he was up here last week. If you ask him, he will come by and check your hives.
     
  9. afterburn001

    afterburn001 New Member

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    I just did the same thing with my large hive. Now I hope that the new queen that the mother hive raises is as good as the old one. I hated to do a split on our most productive hive but at least I got experience in this situation and hive #7.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    afterburn001 writes:
    I hated to do a split on our most productive hive but

    tecumseh:
    there shouldn't be any buts about that. I can't think of any good reason why you wouldn't want to preserve and replicate the hives that have flourished and prospered.
     
  11. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    I gotta agree with tec. If it's that good, why not split?
     
  12. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    I thought he just meant that he hated to split them while the flow was on, but was forced to so as not to lose half of them in an imminent swarm.
     
  13. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    IMHO, that's the time to split them. The flow is on, so they have plenty of groceries to use to draw out new comb-they have room to expand, which may-I say again may-curb their urge to swarm. Sometimes you just can't stop them from swarming.
     
  14. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Only a portion of my hives are honey production hives. The ones I am using to raise queens or do splits/divides with, yeah, the flow is the right time for sure. But honey production hives I need to build up for the flow, not on the flow. They need a strong population that is matured to forager age when the flow is going on. If a honey production hive swarms, it's because I did something really wrong. For me, a colony doesn't even get to be a honey hive unless I have a minimum of two (deep) boxes of drawn comb waiting to go on them in early Spring. If I feel like doing the extra work, I'll build up the population and then pull the queen and a few frames to start a nuc and then the donor hive can concentrate on broodless honey production while the new queen gets created.

    But no, IMO having to bust up a honey producer to stave off an imminent swarm is a bitter pill you swallow and learn to not have happen again, or at least not often.
     
  15. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    dr buzz writes...
    They need a strong population that is matured to forager age when the flow is going on.

    tecumseh:
    absolultely correct but removing a small nuc with the old queen really doesn't alter the field population at the time of the split. matter of fact removing the old queen and halting brood production can actually increase nectar collected and honey stored. there is no bitter pill to swallow here.
     
  16. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    What is a split, and what is pulling a queen and 3 frames?

    Is there a difference, or are they the same thing?
     
  17. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Absolutely right. That's exactly what I described that I do sometimes:
    What I described as being a bitter pill was doing a bust up to prevent an imminent swarm. I think there is a terminology gap and I should have been more clear:
    To me, a bust up is splitting a colony into several nucs. So to be forced to bust up a honey production hive to stave off an imminent swarm means you found out that you have several swarm cells getting worked on, and either to prevent a primary swarm or (if they already swarmed) to prevent several hive-depleting secondary swarms (if that's something you feel might occur) you need to do more than just remove the queen and so you do a bust up and create several colonies with the swarm cells and everything from the original hive. IMO, this is not something to celebrate, it was unplanned and you have taken a production hive and simply made increase on bees for next years honey crop. Simply taking the queen and a few frames is good, can be planned and performed in an orderly fashion, not at the last minute in an emergency in an attempt to keep the trees from inheriting your bees.
     
  18. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    I think if we break out the forensics on the thread, afterburn said he regretted having to "do the same thing" as arkiebees had the bee inspector do for him, which was "split the hive bodies in half." That is what is regrettable to have to do on a flow, IMO.

    ---I think we are all agreeing that simply taking the queen and a few frames is a good way to prevent swarm prep from starting in the first place, and can actually increase honey production. We can call that a split.

    ---Dividing what was going to bee a honey producer hive (and still might be) in half on the flow is not optimal and will probably decrease honey production. Some folks will also call that a split, others will call that a divide. Not optimal, could have been avoided, I'd call it a bitter pill.

    ---Splitting your honey production hive into several smaller units using swarm cells and all the frames because a swarm was imminent is what I call a bust up, others would say it was splitting the hive into several nucs. This would mean, to me, that you will get no surplus from this hive, because it's now several weak hives that need to build up on the flow.

    To me, splits, divides and bust ups should all be done because you planned them in advance for a reason. The same actions can be taken if you find that swarm prep is underway, and they might be called the same thing, but emergency splits, divides and bust ups aren't nice things in my book, but that's just me.
     
  19. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    an Iddee snip..
    is there a difference, or are they the same thing?

    tecumseh:
    this archaic language of bee keepers is a bit trying from time to time??? for me a split means dividing a hive pretty much down the middle while removing 3 or 4 frames of bees (with or without the old queen) is 'taking a nuc'. the process dr buzz describes above of totally breaking down a hive into X number of parts I call (I think I first heard the term used by Randy Oliver) as a 'totally destructive splitting'. this process for me I typically perform on hives that show evidence of not resisting varroa and most especially any hive with a bad disposition (in both cases I prefer to locate the old queen and kill her)
     
  20. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Before I asked that question, I sensed the hair rising on some backs. After the question, I sensed an understanding came about.

    MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.