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Author Topic: New to increases- would like some input  (Read 2324 times)
dragonfly
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« on: June 24, 2009, 01:58:25 PM »

I'm not a newbie per se, but am new to "manipulations" in the way of increases, splits, etc.
I am strictly a hobbyist, there's no business interest involved, I don't rob them of the honey, and I have one hive. This one was a survivor from 7 years ago, when I first started beekeeping. I am a minimalist (I know that's not a very welcome style among many beeks- but just so you guys know up front Smiley) I initially wanted to go strictly organic. I lost 4 out of my 5 hives as a newbee in the first two years due to my stubbornness. The hive I have left is naturally tough and appears to be resistant or tolerant of mites.
Anyway, i built the new one-story hive for my colony and today I went to transfer them into it. No problems, but the colony has increased what I estimate to be 25-30% in numbers over the past year. I suspect they made a new queen and she is really productive. There was lots of brood in the hive, and lots of honey stores. Much more production of honey than in past years. This is all good I realize, but this was unexpected, and I figure they are going to start getting crowded and swarm. That's not a problem either- I tend to let them do what comes naturally as a general rule, and I work the hive only to check on their general health and I do regular mite counts to make sure they are not getting out of control.
I have no experience with splits or swarm capture, and am considering trying to do a split.
I know the basics, but was wondering if there are any helpful hints or tricks that I need to be aware of.
Thanks everybody. Smiley
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jdpro5010
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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2009, 03:45:08 PM »

The minimalist approach is to do what many call a walk away split.  Split the hive and walk away.  Let the queenless half make there new queen.  When doing this you would want to check in week or so for some queen cells.  Then check again in 2 or 3 wks for eggs.  If they don't start a queen cell the first time take a frame of eggs from the queen right hive and add them to the queenless hive and repeat the the check in a week for queen cells again.  If you don't have any eggs after 4 weeks (28 days) add another frame of eggs to start the whole process over again tongue
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dragonfly
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2009, 04:08:22 PM »

Ahh, so that's why they call it a walk-away split.  grin I wondered that- really. Smiley
Thanks a bunch. That's probably the route I will take. Should I build a 5 frame box to use for them?
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kathyp
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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2009, 04:14:32 PM »

walk away splits are fine.  certainly easy.  the only thing i would do different from the above advice is to make sure there are eggs in both hives.  you'll have a better chance of getting a queen quickly.  i don't know how long your season is, but for me, that would be an important consideration.  if you know were the queen is when you do the split, so much the better, but not required.
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dragonfly
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« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2009, 06:13:48 PM »

Thanks kathyp- that makes alot of sense.  Smiley
Our spring season is pretty much over. There's a few late wildflowers, but most of my bee balm has dried up. We will have a fall flow that is not substantial, but I always feed in fall just to make sure they are plenty prepared for winter. The winters are mild enough here that the bees fly alot throughout the year, even when there is no significant nectar to be found.
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2009, 10:11:08 PM »

I can't say enough that I'm a newbie, but it sounds like you minimalised yourself into some genetically strong stock. when I split my favorite hive it will be by the walk-away method.
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dragonfly
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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2009, 10:35:31 PM »

I can't say enough that I'm a newbie, but it sounds like you minimalised yourself into some genetically strong stock. 

 grin Yeah, I guess I did. This colony was already pretty tough when I got it. It had survived for 5 years untended, in any way, before I brought them here. If it gives you any idea what they are like, I call them my Rambo Girls. Smiley
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2009, 10:37:46 PM »

 bee "I'm comin' ta get YOU hemlock!"
...I guess you have to have seen rambo (3?) ...
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dragonfly
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« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2009, 11:08:01 PM »

 grin

Gee, I can't even remember when the last one was made. I saw the first two a long time ago, but never managed to catch the last one. I'm sure it will eventually be on one of the "classic" movie channels and I will find it while channel-surfing. Smiley
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2009, 03:32:17 AM »

"If you don't have any eggs after 4 weeks (28 days) add another frame of eggs to start the whole process over again"

I have read this a few times now but wonder how this works when the conventional wisdom says the bees only live 5 to six weeks in gook flows and that the girls can not produce the special food from there head glands needed to feed the larva and eggs after they become field bees.  Is this old wisdom or what.
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charles
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« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2009, 03:14:31 PM »

"If you don't have any eggs after 4 weeks (28 days) add another frame of eggs to start the whole process over again"

I have read this a few times now but wonder how this works when the conventional wisdom says the bees only live 5 to six weeks in gook flows and that the girls can not produce the special food from there head glands needed to feed the larva and eggs after they become field bees.  Is this old wisdom or what.

First off, the new queen larvae only receive the extra jelly during the first 5 days. After that, they get capped. Also, you will have the normal dieoff of older workers, and replacement from what had been larvae and capped brood at the beginning of the split. By the time the future queen gets to laying, there is no capped brood; they will have all emerged and haven't been replaced. You should still have a decent work force as the new queen begins to lay, but there will be a 28 day gap in newly emerging workers. Dieoffs continue unreplaced as the new eggs begin to develop. If this is a problem, install a brood frame from another hive.

I just did a walkaway split four weeks ago yesterday. I'll look for laying this weekend.
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