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Author Topic: Split to make it's own queen  (Read 4429 times)
challenger
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« on: November 02, 2008, 09:43:19 AM »

First post - I started 3 hives in late Spring 08. 2 of the 3 were in late May and one in late June which in S.E. NC is well past the Spring Nectar flow. A lot of money in sugar syrup and I now have two 2 deep hives that are jammed and the last one established is good after giving it 5 gals of 2:1 "winter" syrup. I have no plans (fingers crossed) of using chemicals on these bees. I use screen bottoms-w-integrated/removable WHB trap bottoms which I keep in almost all the time except when it was very hot. I use diatomatious earth and not oil in these. It kills anything that gets in it and isn't messy or nearly as costly. I have had a small number of varoa and extremely low number of hive beetles and I use a home made version of "honey-b-healthy" which I swear by.

My intention is to split both of the stronger hives very early Spring-maybe even late Feb. and make either one more from both or make two more form each and I would like to have these splits make their own queens. I am of the opinion that strong hives will make strong queens. I know this will  knock back the ability of these hives to make honey but I am wondering if others have done this and if so what was the impact of the population when the nectar flow came around. The way I see these 2 strong hive I should be able to stock the splits-w-a ton of bees but w/o the proper number of foragers and a very young queen I don't know if there will be the drive to bring in nectar like a hive needing to feed lots of brood would.

Any advice is appreciated.
Howard
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2008, 10:01:16 AM »

I have had a small number of varoa and extremely low number of hive beetles and I use a home made version of "honey-b-healthy" which I swear by.
Varroa is not an issue the first year because of the break in brood cycle.  The 2nd year will tell how well your methods work.

Quote
I am of the opinion that strong hives will make strong queens.
True if conditions and timing is right. Strong hives can produce mediocre or poor queens too.  I'm not a big fan of walk away splits, but they can work.

Quote
I know this will  knock back the ability of these hives to make honey but I am wondering if others have done this and if so what was the impact of the population when the nectar flow came around. The way I see these 2 strong hive I should be able to stock the splits-w-a ton of bees but w/o the proper number of foragers and a very young queen I don't know if there will be the drive to bring in nectar like a hive needing to feed lots of brood would.

Since you still have a winter ahead of you, you are making some pretty optimistic assumptions.   Splits can definitely be strong enough for a fall flow,  but once again, there are many factors involved.   Using mated queens give them at least a months jump though.

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challenger
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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2008, 08:02:20 PM »

I have had a small number of varoa and extremely low number of hive beetles and I use a home made version of "honey-b-healthy" which I swear by.
Varroa is not an issue the first year because of the break in brood cycle.  The 2nd year will tell how well your methods work.
Why would varroa not be an issue the first year? Are you referring to a split or the 3 I started last Spring? There was no brood cycle interruption in the 3 I started and I did have Varroa like almost every hive I have heard of in this area however they didn't get to numbers that were of any concern.

Quote
I am of the opinion that strong hives will make strong queens.
True if conditions and timing is right. Strong hives can produce mediocre or poor queens too.  I'm not a big fan of walk away splits, but they can work.

I know where you are coming from on this-it's a gamble. Even if the queen is made by the split it might be a meal for a bird. I am trying to look at some of the ideas from Ross Conrad in The Organic Beekeeper. I am not an organic fanatic by any means. It just seems to me like a lot of the methods of pest control are bandaids at best. It seems there is a leaning toward trying to keep colonies that are surviving a couple of years perpetuating-w-as much of the gene pool within the colony as possible. I even read an article that surmised that resistant breeding will be the only way to keep honeybees as a viable resource.
Quote
I know this will  knock back the ability of these hives to make honey but I am wondering if others have done this and if so what was the impact of the population when the nectar flow came around. The way I see these 2 strong hive I should be able to stock the splits-w-a ton of bees but w/o the proper number of foragers and a very young queen I don't know if there will be the drive to bring in nectar like a hive needing to feed lots of brood would.

Since you still have a winter ahead of you, you are making some pretty optimistic assumptions.   Splits can definitely be strong enough for a fall flow,  but once again, there are many factors involved.   Using mated queens give them at least a months jump though.

True that I am making some optimistic assumptions although I am well aware of the fact that I could go out one day and see it has all gone to the gutter so I'm not seeing through rose colored glasses. Given your response that I'm looking for a fall nectar flow I am embarrassed to say I was actually hoping for a Spring honey harvest but only from the "donor" hive(s).

Additional advice/comments are very appreciated.
BTW-do you see any SHB up there? Too cold I hope. They are creepy,lazy disgusting little opportunistic pests. I feel like the SHB bottom trap is a saving grace. Every time I inspect my hive I rarely see a single one but I know smoking the hive for inspection causes them to drop into this trap because I see them rolling around suffering in the Diatomatious Earth-poor things:)
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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2008, 08:33:34 PM »


Why would varroa not be an issue the first year? Are you referring to a split or the 3 I started last Spring? There was no brood cycle interruption in the 3 I started and I did have Varroa like almost every hive I have heard of in this area however they didn't get to numbers that were of any concern.


I just assumed you started with package bees.

Quote
I know where you are coming from on this-it's a gamble. Even if the queen is made by the split it might be a meal for a bird. I am trying to look at some of the ideas from Ross Conrad in The Organic Beekeeper. I am not an organic fanatic by any means. It just seems to me like a lot of the methods of pest control are bandaids at best. It seems there is a leaning toward trying to keep colonies that are surviving a couple of years perpetuating-w-as much of the gene pool within the colony as possible. I even read an article that surmised that resistant breeding will be the only way to keep honeybees as a viable resource.


I'm a strong proponent of raising your own queens.  I find local acclimatized bees to be the best choice.   I just find better results if queens are raised in more of a controlled environment with the best of conditions.  When you do a walk away split,  the bees may not have, or choose the right age larvae, the comb may be too hard for them to easily convert the cell from horizontal to vertical and they may have to float the larvae out on watered down royal jelly, etc. etc.

http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeeping/queen-rearing/

If your not into rearing your own queens,  I think you would be much better off to wait until your strong hive builds swarm cells and then split.

Quote
Given your response that I'm looking for a fall nectar flow I am embarrassed to say I was actually hoping for a Spring honey harvest but only from the "donor" hive(s).


A lot of ducks need to line up for you to split and get a Spring harvest,  especially if your thinking on getting more than 1 split from a hive.

Quote
BTW-do you see any SHB up there? Too cold I hope. They are creepy,lazy disgusting little opportunistic pests. I feel like the SHB bottom trap is a saving grace. Every time I inspect my hive I rarely see a single one but I know smoking the hive for inspection causes them to drop into this trap because I see them rolling around suffering in the Diatomatious Earth-poor things:)


I personally don't have any in my yards, but thanks to the commercial beekeepers, they are around this area.  I do think the cold does affect them so they aren't nearly as bad up north as down south.   


rob...
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« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2008, 06:18:13 AM »

Definitely wait until there are adequate drones available, and adequate bees, brood etc. available.  If you want splits to thrive they need to have a good supply of bees, brood and stores.  I'm not sure where Hampstead is, but up in the NC mountains you're probably two weeks ahead of me and down in the lowland you're probably a month ahead of me.  I wouldn't by splitting until mid May at the EARLIEST here.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm
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challenger
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« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2008, 08:42:50 PM »

I am doing a poor job of explaining my goals but I've gotten good at being unclear. Maybe this will help:
Location=S. E. NC. The bees here never experience "Winter". We have enough warm days all winter that bees are flying more days during winter than not-typically anyway.
First Nectar/foraging in late Feb/early March but the most intense Spring flow is over by the beginning of June though some trickles in until late June then nothing until Fall which is a gamble for trying to get a fall crop. Sometime Goldenrod produces lots of nectar along-w-several other plants and sometimes not. This year my hives stored honey from plants very late-up until last week. You can smell the goldenrod nectar when there is a fair amt. coming in (doesn't smell too good but they like it I suppose).

First and foremost is the goal of keeping my bees from swarming and in doing so rearing a new healthy & strong hive-w-the genetics from my three healthy (so far) hives. Honey from the new hive is secondary at best.
Here are my questions put maybe phrased-w-a little more clarity.
If I get to Feb and see bees boiling in a 2 10 frame deep colony and I remove 2 frames of open & sealed brood, hopefully a frame-w-swarm cell(s) and 3 frames total of honey/pollen and maybe some more brood will I leave enough bees in the donor hive for a honey crop?

If not then could I remove some resources from a second colony that is thriving and, in effect, have 2 donor colonies making this new one? I've been told that taking frames of brood from more than one colony is OK to do so long as you shake the nurse bees from only one of the donor colonies and brush off any bees from the second donor colony leaving them in their own hive.

It would seem to me and I know I know very little, that making a split-w-a lot of brood and associated/required resources would be like buying a "Super nuke" w/o the queen especially if I can get swarm cells from two hives as part of the makeup of the nuke. If this is possible and done early enough I am thinking I would feed the nuke heavy so there is wax production-get frames drawn and, if this attempt is successful I could still get honey from this new colony and during the rest of the summer feed it until it is 2 deep & strong.

In this region one can start a hive in July-w-a package and still be OK if enough money is spent on sugar. The queens in my hives were still laying fairly strong as of 2 weeks ago-w-only food from plants coming in. Even yesterday I saw a lot of pollen coming in all the hives. I wish I could tell if bees were carrying nectar???
Thanks for all you great advice and remarks. I appreciate your patience.
Howard
Hampstead, NC

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« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2008, 10:50:09 PM »

If I get to Feb and see bees boiling in a 2 10 frame deep colony and I remove 2 frames of open & sealed brood, hopefully a frame-w-swarm cell(s) and 3 frames total of honey/pollen and maybe some more brood will I leave enough bees in the donor hive for a honey crop?
                   YES cheesy cool RDY-B
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« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2008, 11:28:37 PM »


It would seem to me and I know I know very little, that making a split-w-a lot of brood and associated/required resources would be like buying a "Super nuke" w/o the queen especially if I can get swarm cells from two hives as part of the makeup of the nuke. If this is possible and done early enough I am thinking I would feed the nuke heavy so there is wax production-get frames drawn and, if this attempt is successful I could still get honey from this new colony and during the rest of the summer feed it until it is 2 deep & strong.
 
> Run the new hive as a single and harvest a box of honey-spin the honey and use that drawn comb to add the second brood chamber-then feed if nesecary  cheesy cheesy RDY-B
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« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2008, 05:21:20 AM »

This is the only type split I do, this may be just me but seems the best results I have found when letting them raise their own queen has been when the small flows are going before the main flow in spring (tulip poplar) and the hives are building very fast (and have plenty drones) is to take the queen on the frame she's on and 1 frame capped brood, 1 frame of larva, 1 frame of honey and 1 frame of foundation and put in a nuc (queen frame and brood frames with attached bee's) , just make sure you leave a frame of eggs in the main hive, let the main hive with all those bee's raise a queen, oh and I guest its because not many young bee's but it seems a queen less hive will gather more honey.

And the laying queen will build up that nuc into a hive in no time. the main large hive with a flow going will feed the larva plenty, if you end up with a couple frames with eggs on them and you have a few mores hive, take the extra frames with eggs on them and steal a few frames of bee's from the other hives and make some more nuc's.

by taking queen and stealing frames of brood with bee's attached is like imitating a swarm, some times it needs to be done more than once but it does keep them in check, I dont have much swarming because I take frames from my hives most of the year to start nuc's.. some beeks might do other ways but this has worked for me and made some fine queens.

I do graft and raise queens and like Robo said you do have a better chance getting a better queen if you graft because you can control things like feeding  and timing, but when a flow is going the bee's themselves can raise some great queens also, I dont care to split hives when there isn't a flow. but this way swarming hasn't been a problem at all the last few years.

Now I don't split all my hives but do split a few, taking brood frames from hives to make nuc's for grafted queens keeps swarming down also.
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« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2008, 11:12:29 AM »

Yeah what TwT said I do it some what like that except I use a hivebody instead of the nuc. Other than that almost the same.  Then there are lots of other ways I do to when I wanna bust up a few pallets and make some bees.  Breed queens are a better choice but they will draw and make a good queen themselves.   
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« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2008, 08:52:38 AM »



This seems so logical I cannot imagine why I have not come across this method earlier. I looked up your location and although you are at the same latitude you are inland and, I believe, in a "growing zone" that is one less than where I am. These type of zone maps show us at zone 8 but ther is no doubt we are more like zone 9 according to the AG ext offices in the area. Out of curiosity can yuo tell me when the tulip poplar in your area start blooming. I know this is so variable but I am interested in a ball park/typical time of year. Can you tell me how often you rotate the boxes? I recently read rotating them every other week during the main flow suppresses swarming.
This is the only type split I do, this may be just me but seems the best results I have found when letting them raise their own queen has been when the small flows are going before the main flow in spring (tulip poplar) and the hives are building very fast (and have plenty drones) is to take the queen on the frame she's on and 1 frame capped brood, 1 frame of larva, 1 frame of honey and 1 frame of foundation and put in a nuc (queen frame and brood frames with attached bee's) , just make sure you leave a frame of eggs in the main hive, let the main hive with all those bee's raise a queen, oh and I guest its because not many young bee's but it seems a queen less hive will gather more honey.

Being only the second year I don't have any frames that are drawn to place in either the Nuc or to put in the donor hive. Should I feed heavy syrup so they draw out comb and since this is the situation will I miss out on honey due to the bees having to build comb?

And the laying queen will build up that nuc into a hive in no time. the main large hive with a flow going will feed the larva plenty, if you end up with a couple frames with eggs on them and you have a few mores hive, take the extra frames with eggs on them and steal a few frames of bee's from the other hives and make some more nuc's.
I don't know how things will be in the Spring but my 2 strong hives-one of which is the hive that seems overcrowded-each have, I would say, 7-9 frames that are almost 90% brood out of the 20 total frames per hive. Would you consider this a normal brood content? Of course the frames outside of these have brood as well but it becomes a much smaller pattern.


by taking queen and stealing frames of brood with bee's attached is like imitating a swarm, some times it needs to be done more than once but it does keep them in check, I dont have much swarming because I take frames from my hives most of the year to start nuc's.. some beeks might do other ways but this has worked for me and made some fine queens.

I do graft and raise queens and like Robo said you do have a better chance getting a better queen if you graft because you can control things like feeding  and timing, but when a flow is going the bee's themselves can raise some great queens also, I dont care to split hives when there isn't a flow. but this way swarming hasn't been a problem at all the last few years.

Now I don't split all my hives but do split a few, taking brood frames from hives to make nuc's for grafted queens keeps swarming down also.

So what are you doing about Varroa and SHB?
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« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2008, 06:25:34 PM »

This seems so logical I cannot imagine why I have not come across this method earlier. I looked up your location and although you are at the same latitude you are inland and, I believe, in a "growing zone" that is one less than where I am. These type of zone maps show us at zone 8 but ther is no doubt we are more like zone 9 according to the AG ext offices in the area. Out of curiosity can yuo tell me when the tulip poplar in your area start blooming. I know this is so variable but I am interested in a ball park/typical time of year. Can you tell me how often you rotate the boxes? I recently read rotating them every other week during the main flow suppresses swarming.

our poplar bloom at different times, mostly from late april to mid may , I dont rotate boxes, just when I need to add a super I put it under the full supers, the main thing I seen about suppressing swarms was always have enough room, I usually start each hive with 2 supers and then check and add another when they are about to fill the second.

Being only the second year I don't have any frames that are drawn to place in either the Nuc or to put in the donor hive. Should I feed heavy syrup so they draw out comb and since this is the situation will I miss out on honey due to the bees having to build comb?
 

heavy syrup (2-1) is for fall feeding to help them with stores for the winter, best syrup for comb building is regular (1-1) syrup.

I don't know how things will be in the Spring but my 2 strong hives-one of which is the hive that seems overcrowded-each have, I would say, 7-9 frames that are almost 90% brood out of the 20 total frames per hive. Would you consider this a normal brood content? Of course the frames outside of these have brood as well but it becomes a much smaller pattern.

sure depending on how early your are seeing this, sounds like a good hive to come out of winter with, the tell-tell sings I use to do the kind of split above is when I see ever hive with drones, its kinda tells you how for along other hives in the area is, if your hives have drones then probably the others in your area have them also.



So what are you doing about Varroa and SHB?
[/quote]

I do nothing for either, I dont treat for anything.
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« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2008, 01:01:22 PM »

Challenger,

By and large this is the only way I make my splits. Opposite of TwT, however, in that the split, rather than the parent colony, has to raise its own queen. I usually take brood, honey/nectar, pollen and bees from two or more colonies to make one split. I take these splits from the parent colonies more than once during the buildup. This is an important component of my mite control (often the only) in that you are removing mites from the parent colony in the sealed brood and on the bees, and inserting a partial brood break in the parent colony by removing open brood and eggs. The split gets a long brood break while raising their queen. In the following and successive years the split becomes a parent colony and the cycle is repeated.

The qualifiers in my case are that (1) I make my splits STRONG. Strong enough that they start building comb in the box of foundation that I put above them, or storing nectar in the comb I put above them. (2)I provide plenty of stored pollen and nectar to the split. I have great success with this method. Most of the queens I produce this way do a great job. Very few of these colonies turn up queenless; if they do I just stack them on a neighboring colony above the supers.

Quote
A lot of ducks need to line up for you to split and get a Spring harvest,  especially if your thinking on getting more than 1 split from a hive.

I think this depends on your location and how strong you make the split. In my area a strong split made in March and allowed to rear its own queen can easily make 3 shallow supers of honey before the flow ends. Because I don't take too much from one parent colony at one time, they are able to maintain strength and produce a good honey crop as well. In fact, it seems (to me) that the parent colony kicks into high gear after the split is taken. Foundationless frames inserted into the middle of the brood nest as replacements are drawn literally overnight.

This works down here in the South; it may not work further north.
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« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2008, 10:30:34 PM »

Challenger,

By and large this is the only way I make my splits. Opposite of TwT, however, in that the split, rather than the parent colony, has to raise its own queen. I usually take brood, honey/nectar, pollen and bees from two or more colonies to make one split. I take these splits from the parent colonies more than once during the buildup. This is an important component of my mite control (often the only) in that you are removing mites from the parent colony in the sealed brood and on the bees, and inserting a partial brood break in the parent colony by removing open brood and eggs. The split gets a long brood break while raising their queen. In the following and successive years the split becomes a parent colony and the cycle is repeated.

Removing the queen from the parent hive and having them produce a new queen has the advantage of killing the swarming tendency as "Big Moma" has lef the building.

Quote
The qualifiers in my case are that (1) I make my splits STRONG. Strong enough that they start building comb in the box of foundation that I put above them, or storing nectar in the comb I put above them. (2)I provide plenty of stored pollen and nectar to the split. I have great success with this method. Most of the queens I produce this way do a great job. Very few of these colonies turn up queenless; if they do I just stack them on a neighboring colony above the supers.

Another way to do a strong split is to take frames from multiple hives.  In such a procedure no one hive is overly depleated of productivity, the split has as much strength as you want it to have, and the mix of frames of bees/brood/stores from multiple hives causes confusion for a day or 2 that prevents fighting between the bees.  Although in this case you don't want to introduce the queen until a few days after the split or let them develop their own, they do, afterall, have diverse egg/brood sources to choose from.

Quote
A lot of ducks need to line up for you to split and get a Spring harvest,  especially if your thinking on getting more than 1 split from a hive.

I think this depends on your location and how strong you make the split. In my area a strong split made in March and allowed to rear its own queen can easily make 3 shallow supers of honey before the flow ends. Because I don't take too much from one parent colony at one time, they are able to maintain strength and produce a good honey crop as well. In fact, it seems (to me) that the parent colony kicks into high gear after the split is taken. Foundationless frames inserted into the middle of the brood nest as replacements are drawn literally overnight.

This works down here in the South; it may not work further north.[/quote]

The colony kicks into high gear due to the hive being opened up with new frames replacing those removed to make the split.  If you use this technique to keep the brood chamber open you can better control the swarm tendency and motive the bees.  Putting empty frames into some portion of the brood area keeps the bees focused on building up the hive.  Once it's built up fully in the brood area, it will convert to swarm mode.  Continually pulling the outside storage frames out to use as harvest or to bait supers, and widening the brood chamber by putting the new frame in it keeps to bees working.  Inmost cases bees drawing comb in the brood chamber will not swarm... mostly but sometimes they do anyway.

In the North we are a couple months behind those in the south, we do our splits Mid-April to mid-May.
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« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2008, 10:37:58 PM »

This is a very good and informative thread, love to read all about these things, keep it going.  Have a wonderful and great day, love life, great health.  Cindi
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« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2008, 03:34:03 AM »

Quote
Another way to do a strong split is to take frames from multiple hives.  In such a procedure no one hive is overly depleated of productivity, the split has as much strength as you want it to have, and the mix of frames of bees/brood/stores from multiple hives causes confusion for a day or 2 that prevents fighting between the bees.

As I mentioned in an earlier post,

Quote
I usually take brood, honey/nectar, pollen and bees from two or more colonies to make one split.
and
Quote
Because I don't take too much from one parent colony at one time, they are able to maintain strength and produce a good honey crop as well.

I like this method for the same reasons you mentioned, Brian. I enjoy watching these strong splits take off and turn into big colonies!
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« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2008, 10:13:53 AM »

I want to thank every body for posting. I'm going to do a split this spring some time and all these post help me out and make me think about how to do it. This is like waiting for my first bee's. Scared and excited at the same time.
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« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2008, 01:49:23 PM »

Challenger,

I usually take brood, honey/nectar, pollen and bees from two or more colonies to make one split. I take these splits from the parent colonies more than once during the buildup.


I use to do it this way all the time and I still do but not much but when I do this I take frames from different hives to make a nuc and I might have 1 frame from 5 different hives to make a nuc, but I have had better build-up taking queens and frames from mother colony because she will have a full 10 frame hive times the new queen gets to laying good, with our long dearth it helps them get built up faster during main flow and the small flows until the dearth hits, sometimes if I really wanted to and not take frames of brood from them I could get 4 full hives before the dearth from 1 hive, and thats not taking to much from the hives either.

 
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« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2008, 09:38:28 AM »

Some times I'll take a pallet that has some dead hives on it and bust them up.  Dad calls this trashing them out and here is how we do it.  Put the pallet in the  middle and ring 5 frame nucs around it mouths to the inside.  Dad has me to then take 1 frame from the hives & put it in a nuc next frame next nuc and so on until you have all the frames divided between the nucs.  We want each to have brood, honey and such divide the hive so each nuc has some. Before I do this I estimate how many queen cells I need.  I use the cells because they are cheaper than the bred queens and I work on averages. ($3 each compaired to $13 or more for a bred queen) Meaning all I make like this may not make a hive.  Also here in the south we can get the cells easy enough.  I only put 3 frames in the nucs so when my queens come out the cell and start laying I can find her quicker.  After the nuc has a laying queen I put 2 empty frames on the edges to make 5 frame nucs.  When you empty the hives on the pallets move it and the old hive bodies out so the bees don't drift back to the boxes and the nuc mouths to the inside so they will drift into one of the nucs.  I also have bees in my  back yard all the time so there is a good supply of drones for breeding the new queens.  With the nucs I have out back if a hive dies on a pallet I just carry a few nucs next trip to the location and set it in place of the dead out.  I know don't slap me please because I didn't let them draw and make the queen and that was what the question was.  But it seemed we kinda got onto how we make splits.  All very interesting.
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« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2008, 12:08:00 AM »

yes circle splits are very effective and they can be done at the same location-no need to move from yard to yard -they can be done with one colony or a pallet-rotate the nucs to maintain even drift if necessary-bees love circle splits- cool RDY-B
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« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2008, 10:55:37 AM »

There was a great thread last January about making circle splits.  Have a wonderful and awesome life and day, great health.  Cindi

http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,12758.15.html
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