Spring Divides (gypsi, you readin?)

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by riverbee, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    from the crossroads thread:

    "I'm going to need a mentor, this will be my first year to try doing splits, and I worked too late to make my bee meeting. When my local mentor tried to help me by phone last year I ended up killing 9 frames of brood. So I'm reading my book and you at least need to read the forum, Riverbee "

    i started this thread just for you gypsi.....:grin:
    and for anyone else who has questions about spring divides, you can all post and buzz our brains with questions about how each of us divides our hives in our locations.

    i know you are reading a book gypsi trying to get up to speed, i have another short article for you to read that discusses basic methods of spring divides. first and foremost, decide the purpose of the divide and what do you want to accomplish? swarm prevention, increase (more bees), honey production (more honey) or other reason. i know what you will say, i just want to know how to divide a hive.....:lol: but these are important factors, and your decision will also be based on your hives.

    there are many ways to divide hives, this article discusses some basic methods that work well.

    from the article:
    "before going into the apiary, you need to decide what purpose you have in mind for these new splits. Are they for swarm prevention? Will they go into honey or queen production? Are they to be sold off? Or, are they just more pets to look after? There are slight differences when making up the splits for each of the above cases. Also, the strength of the original colony will play a role as well. They may not be strong enough to make splits yet, or so strong as to be able to make more than one."

    here is the article:

    SPLITS FOR DIFFERENT REASONS

    so fire away the questions! or contribute how you divide your hives, or would *teach another to do it. :grin:

    i may employ one or more method when dividing hives, and it is always based on the criteria i mentioned above, purpose, goal, colony strength and health.

    i'll jump back when the thread is rolling, also *easier to answer questions specific to another beeks 'criteria', one method might not suit another.
     
  2. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you Riverbee!

    My goals: colony health and honey production, swarm prevention. I am at 5 hives, plan on selling at least one, possibly more, to reduce the number I am feeding this summer.

    So I want strong healthy but preferably not swarming off into the distance. And I have never had honey, so I would like honey.

    I will be looking in the hives around noon tomorrow, well between noon and 2, to see what I find.

    If I see queen cells I obviously need to do something but I am not sure quite what...

    Gypsi
     

  3. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    going to need to learn to make queens. And yes, I have big fat sassy drones!
     
  4. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    :lol: big fat sassy drones you say?!
    queens, learning this myself, grafting and such.....anyway, you can use queen cells for divides, but another subject, so let's just stick to the divides.
    so you have a few goals for your divides, swarm prevention, honey production, and maybe selling one or more (nucs?) (honey production will depend on your weather and blooms but you can still shoot for it; and dividing a hive will help greatly to swarm prevention; sale of a nuc, you want a proven laying queen to make someone happy with what they get.)

    your 5 colonies health/strength will factor in how you divide them, so walk us through this:

    *each of the five colonies setup (deeps, mediums,how many frames)
    *equipment you have available, nucs, deeps, etc to divide hives into
    *age of your queens
    *what you think the health and strength of each colony is (this helps determine what you take away from each hive)
    *are you going to purchase queens for the divides?
    *depending on the divide, do you have a place to move divides to until they build up? if you hit a dearth after a divide, they will be robbed out left near stronger hives.

    your homework assignment to post back.........okay your mission......:lol:

    btw all, this is not an exclusive thread here or riverbee's column on spring divides:lol:

    also:
    queen cell identification
    there are queen cells in my hive what should i do, post #1
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  5. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I have now got a queen clip in my bee jacket pocket. I found a queen outside hive 3 last winter, and couldn't get her back in the hive, and she didn't go home. some queen laid fertile eggs in the top box afterward, but they failed to have enough bees to cover them, and I lost the darned hive.

    So I have a hive to replace, and I would like young queens from my strongest hive, which also happens to be crawling with drones. (actually all of the 4 remaining hives seem to have drones..... I was afraid of doing too much damage in opening the hives deeply, so except for the dead one, I didn't. Not yet. Perhaps I should but right now there are a lot of confused bees looking for that hive they were happily robbing out.
     
  6. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I thought maybe I could just steal a couple of frames of brood and a couple of frames of stores and a fair number of bees and put them in a nuc and they would make a queen? I have PLENTY of stores all of a sudden. Plenty of comb.

    All my hives are deep plus medium, except hive 5 which is a double deep. So I lost a deep plus medium, I have 8 frames of deep comb with some stores, 10 frames of medium comb loaded with capped sugar water except 2 the robbers had gotten to. And the hive was healthy.

    I'm pretty sure the queen the took off froze instead of making it home. We were out insulating the hives when my neighbor spotted her with a small circle of attendants outside. And a winter queen would be poorly bred. If at all.

    So I figured a frame of capped brood from any hive, a frame of eggs from number 2, my best queen, and 3 frames of stores, and bees, from say the one I get the capped brood from? How am I doing?
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would suggest getting the queen from #2 rather than a frame of eggs. Make the nuc with her. Then in EXACTLY 10 or 11 days, go into #2 and get queen cells for as many nucs as you want, but leave 2 for the hive to requeen itself.
     
  8. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Now Iddee, that idea has the ring of brilliance to it. I think I will have to do it tomorrow. Workers are coming back into the hive. I have accidentally ended up with this week off I think.

    Works for me.
     
  9. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hive 1 - deep on bottom, medium on top, Queen Sept - October 2012 so less than 1 year old, VSH eggs for queen, bees calm, quiet, she is still catching up but she is catching up. My former "hot" hive. had 3 frames full in the bottom box midday late January, appear to have more bees now (I moved Hive 2 to help this one catch stragglers)

    Hive 2 - Medium on bottom, deep on top, switched the boxes In late January 2013 as the top box was looking very crowded, and the bottom was empty. Photos later, but I think she is laying near the top. Again. VSH requeened itself Late Sept early October 2012. heavy on propolis

    Hive 3 - dead-out, lost queen in late November, she was outside, I had no queen clip, tried and failed to get her back in hive, cold front on the way. (no idea why she and her attendants were taking a stroll before a cold front) (sept 2012 queen)

    Hive 4 - last year's cutout, queen approx end of March is the young cutout queen, swarm had left, unless they requeened on their own. good population in top medium box, bottom deep box appears busy with a lot of bees. but haven't pulled frames. queen age right at one year unless they requeened themselves.

    Hive 5, purchased VSH queen July 2012, started her in a Nuc, stepped up to a deep In late Sept / early October, merged 2 nucs in a deep on top after screen period after they were hit hard by robbers, dual deeps since early November 2012. Good population, removed frame syrup feeder today and added 2 deep frames. They are notorious burrcomb lid gluers. Very heavy propolis too.

    All were fed fondant with doubled pollen substitute today. no one has syrup except in cells from last year. All still have fairly good stores, taking more hard candy than syrup from cells.

    I have about 2 deep 10 frame boxes available, 1 good 5 frame nuc (a couple of awful ones), about 9 empty medium 10 frame boxes, plenty of frames, including a 50 count case unassembled, I mainly use wax coated plasticell, the bees do well on it. Have 5 summer migratory covers with feeder jar spot (not in use now), all bees have inner covers and telescoping covers for winter right now. If I'm short on anything it is decent bottom boards, I need to pick some up, having trouble finding time to build them.

    And there is now a queen clip in my suit pocket. I knew I was in trouble when she took off...

    I have one hive sold, and would like to maximize honey production as I get some flow (won't be much if we don't get more rain, but I do have a chinaberry tree that is good sized.)

    Gypsi
     
  10. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    How do I get the queen to stay in the nuc? Clip while I move her, but then turn her loose with a queen excluder? And I guess I bring some of her bees with her? I'm going to do this tomorrow. I have about 2 weeks before the oak quits dropping its pollen stringers and I get heavily involved at work.
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    in making up nucs I would suggest you think about something of a feeding program < if you hit the season right just dribble before and during the process but not much required after the new queen has mated and laying.

    as you might know Gypsi I don't really recommend 'walk away' splits* since I know something of the pitfall there. mated queen or mature cells just lowers the risk dramatically <this is really imho nothing more than an expression of the time interval in which the unit perceive themselves as queenless.

    for most people doing splits where the unit requeens itself the least risky approach is to remove the old queen in the form of 4+ frames of brood, bees and feed leaving the old hive to generate the queen cells <larger more populated hives are just way more viable and hardy. if you have a shed or some corner of a garage that you can use for storage and you don't wish to move the 'old queen' in her nuc box to a new location then you can (often times I do) set the box in a nice cool shady spot and close them in for a minimum of 24 hours and then you can set this unit down in the same yard without much problem.

    *perhaps 30 years ago when working with an old beekeeper from the Dakotas I made the observation when doing splits (literally by the hundreds) that some bees didn't seem to manufacture queen cells even when they had the resources to do so. the old beekeeper informed me that 'that is just how some bees are' and of course the general rule say they will but invariable with variation some bees do not.
     
  12. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    All I'm doing is reading until at least tomorrow afternoon.

    Ok, a walkaway split is started with my mature and mated proven queen, 3 frames of capped brood and a couple of frames of stores, screen them and put them somewhere cool for 24 hours? It's hot tomorrow, will be cool on Sunday.

    Also I have a 2 year old here tomorrow, and 2 helpers working on the lot. I have learned if I need repairs done out there to do it BEFORE I annoy the bees. Going to be hotter Saturday, when my daughter intends to drop me her 8 year old and 12 year old. Cools off on Sunday. Then I could put the nuc somewhere cool for 24 hours, then set it up in the bee yard

    Then 10 days after that, or 11, is when I go through the robust but now queenless hive and remove queen cups, leaving them 2, starting nucs with the rest as I grab bees from other hives? You have a couple of days to educate me, I'll try to crack a book, but this evening I learned that the bathroom floor will hold a half inch of water if that child is unattended.
     
  13. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    "starting nucs with the rest as I grab bees from other hives? "

    gypsi,
    this is my method of madness when it comes divides in spring.....i use one of or all 3 of these methods for divides. also i use all double deeps.

    #1. with the strongest colonies, i may do an equal divide, so if i have 5 strong colonies to divide, i wind up with 10, and the queen-less box gets a purchased caged queen. everything is divided equally between. i just take the top deep off , set it next to the bottom deep and proceed to divide the frames equally, and maybe shake some extra nurse bees into the deep i am dividing into. you want make sure both boxes have enough nurse bees. feed.

    #2. maybe i don't want an equalization and 5 more hives, maybe i want to keep a colony or other colonies strong for the honey flow and some comb honey but divide it enough to keep her from swarming. this requires a bit of knowledge of what's in your hives. i'll take a deep (or two, etc...,) and i'll gather 3-5 frames of brood of all stages, maybe from one hive, or collectively from the strong hives, meaning a frame or two from hive 1, a frame or two from hive 2, etc....and frames of pollen and honey, also removed from each of the various hives, and extra shakes of nurse bees. you want to make sure there are enough bees to cover the brood. so, a mini deep if you will. this new hive deep gets a caged queen, and feed. this is also a good way to utilize bees to draw foundation. * a note on this, i use 9 frames in my deeps rather than 10.

    #3. nucs. i use 5 frame nuc boxes. so, 2 frames of brood all stages, a frame of honey, a frame of pollen, and an empty drawn frame. shakes of nurse bees. caged queen. feed.

    the only time i will use queen cells are in nucs. as tecumseh said, regarding the walkaway splits, and queen cells. i would follow his advice, sometimes it just doesn't happen, or you wind up with an inferior queen.

    if you are interested in selling a nuc or two throughout summer, another method is to go through your hives and take 1 frame only from each hive to make up the # of nucs you want, but i would use caged queens for this, so that the queen is laying with a good pattern, and lots of bees, at the time you sell them to another.

    hope this helps., and makes sense :grin:

    btw happy weekend with them grandbabies!.....:lol:
    hear ya on the 'unattended' and 'water' thing!........
     
  14. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It helps River, but I'm just not comfortable buying package queens from any old place, I have just about perfect quarantine going around here, and Tom (my queen supplier) won't have any for awhile, probably late April earliest, by which time I will likely be popping off swarms. I have so much money into bees it is looking a lot like scuba-diving, nice hobby if you've got the cash. (I ended up with an aquarium service making my fish buy their own food)

    Additionally I don't know that I have buyers for nucs. Might happen, might not. I have x for cash this year, and the a/c ductwork is shot, at minimum I have 2 circuits to add, a nice thick layer of insulation and change those ducts.

    I need to make it pay for itself at least somewhat. I can't even get a livestock tax exemption out of my situation.

    So if I were going to get them to requeen themselves, is Iddee's suggestion common practice? Tecumseh, will it work in Texas?

    Gypsi
     
  15. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    gypsi, tec can most likely give you some good advice on good queens in texas.....btw, get used to having money into bees......:lol:

    will let iddee and tec answer this question for you:
    "So if I were going to get them to requeen themselves, is Iddee's suggestion common practice? Tecumseh, will it work in Texas?"


     
  16. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm used to having money in fish and trucks and bees. Went down to one truck this year. reducing fish and making part of them the ones I eat. And I will be reducing my hive count somewhat, so I don't have to feed them. making ready to move means lighten the load.
     
  17. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    However, I'm not sure if I should do splits this week. We have highs in the 50's, lows in the 30's, for the coming weekend. I have drones but do not wish to harm my colonies by being in a hurry.
     
  18. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would wait until it warms a bit. I prefer the '70s.
     
  19. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm setting up a 10 frame swarm trap. Have a funny feeling we've had so many 70's, that the bees may be about to split themselves. It's 70 today, but I killed some brood trying to do a checkerboard early last spring. 9 frames of it, not willing to take that kind of risk. So a swarm trap and more research..
     
  20. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    gypsi,
    i am with iddee on waiting on your splits until your weather warms a bit.