When to make splits

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Daniel Y, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    What time of the year is it usual to make splits.
    I have a hive I woudl like to split before fall but right now it is doing well and making honey.

    I am not sure how strong the hive should be to even consider splitting it.

    I also have the option to just make a nuc. this would not be a complete splitting of this hive due to it currently has 3 deep supers. two contain brood and one is full of capped honey.

    I believe that in our climate I still have 2 months or more of good weather. I am in a city so nectar flow seems to be continuous up to now. no idea what it will be for the next couple of months. We do have sagebrush that blooms in the late summer early fall.

    Anyway I can't decide if it would be better to try and make a split, make nucs or what??? now or wait until spring.

    I also have a swarm in a top bar hive that is not doing as well as I would like to see. I was thinking of doing any farting around with that and leave the hive that is looking good alone.

    Anyway I read all the time that people have split this and split that. but never really gotten a grasp on when and why a split is made. I was not expecting to have to deal with this sort of stuff until next year.
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Probably the time most splits are done (up here) is in early spring, that is to maximize hive numbers to go into pollination of blueberries and apples (beginning of June). It is also done then in order to make up winter losses.
    Late summer splits are becoming fashionable as well, making up those expected winter losses before hand.
    I guess for you I would say that it sounds like you are safe in doing a complete split of the strong hive (did you want a honey harvest?). Purchase a queen for the split so as not to set them back too far. If you were comfortable with it you may want to try overwintering nucs but I would be inclined to have a little more experience first. I am considering trying it when I have more numbers. I lost roughly 40% of my hives last winter and don't want to gamble on overwintering nucs this winter, opting instead to head into fall with strong colonies.
     

  3. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    I have been thinking about this task also. I do not plan to split any of my first year hives this year but I have a strong trap out on a house I am waiting on. It is in a nuc. I have heard the vocabulary of "wintering over a nuc" but don't understand it completely. Is it as simple as it sounds? Placing the nuc in the bee yard and hoping for the best over the winter? Candy board included?
     
  4. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Try wrapping/bundling nucs to each other with plastic hive wrap or tarpaper, to maintain heat and cut down on winter wind. Make sure they have open separate entrances of course.
    Last winter I had two 5 frame nucs survive winter by bundling them in one 10 frame box with a divider in the middle and two entrances. This winter I'm going to take two hives with new queens and only 10 frmaes each, in two deeps side by side, and I'll wrap tarpaper around both.
    Insulated covers are a big help to prevent condensation of moisture dripping onto the bees.
    I don't feed any of these bees, either in Fall or winter.
     
  5. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    I am in the process of making 3 more hives. Slowish process due to I build them as I find the materials. But I am certain I will have them complete by next spring. In the mean time I do have 4 nucs I have managed to get done.

    What I woudl like to recreate is the situation I started with back in mid May. I purchased a wintered over nuc that had a mated laying queen and was already building up. I placed the 5 frames of the nuc in a 10 frame body with 5 additional frames of foundation. They took off like a rocket and 2 weeks later or so I was adding a second deep and 10 frames of foundation. A month later they had that fully drawn and filled. I have since added a med super and another deep with 10 more empty frames. When they are complete that will give me three deeps with drawn frames to work with.

    Rather than buying nucs next spring I woudl rather make my own. I just don't know what to anticipate the impact on the parent colony to be. I have a location to winter the nuc where they will be sheltered from the winter and is one of the warmest locations in my yard. Last to freeze first to sprout growth sort of thing. In addition we have very mild winters to start with.

    IN order to do this I must first rear queens and get them mated. I am not sure I am not already late for doing that. Then I need to get the details on how to make up the nucs and that sort of thing. Right now I only have the knowledge that such things are done. But not the details.

    If I have to choose between the new hives or honey for this year I will take the hives.

    I suspect I have as much as two months from now for the original colony to recover from whatever it is that is done. Not sure they will this late in the summer.

    I also have that swarm that I might use to populate one of the langs. I am not that interested in the top bar. Just not my thing I guess.
     
  6. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Keep in mind that comb building slows down as Fall approaches. Just because your hive built out comb so fast all spring and summer doesnt mean it can continue to build up in the dry hot later part of summer.
    Sounds like you big hive is strong enough though to have 5 frames of brood, bees, and honey/pollen to spare to make a nuc with. I wouldn't try to make multiple nucs from it this late, but one good nuc should be ok I'd think. Best to not push your luck, because you definitely want that one strong hive to survive the winter for you. The other question is - will a new nuc have enough ability to become established before winter comes?
    Soon the drones will begin to drop off in population or get old. If you are going to make a queen, I wouldn't wait til september.
    Keep in mind that you can make LOTS of nucs next Spring from what you have, if your hives survive this coming winter. :)
    But heck yes I'm an experimenter, and I'd make a single experimental nuc right now, but I wouldn't wait another 2 weeks.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    What time of the year is it usual to make splits.

    tecumseh:
    the traditional time is in the spring time but a lot of folks (including myself) have begun making up some splits in the late summer or very early fall. you kind of want to have a couple of issues of brood prior to your first cold spell. each season's has it's merits and problem. basically in the spring time adult bees are the limiting factor although on any hive with large number of bees feed will also likely be in limited supply. fall time nuc rearing is somewhat easier in regards to locating feed although if you wait too long brood may also be in limited supply.

    the difference in size of the split often revolves around the larger the split the less attention and feed that will be required in the winter and spring time. if you have significant persistent winter time cold snaps then a slight larger population and box is likely a better choice for the split to make the winter.