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Author Topic: Going, going, gone!!!  (Read 1118 times)
luvin honey
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« on: June 29, 2009, 11:17:26 PM »

I have 2 booming hives. They started as 3-lb packages in May. After a solid start for one and a hesistant start for the other, they now have 16-bar brood nests (4-foot topbar hives) and are starting to store some honey with a bit of drone brood towards the back. One is 2/3 full, the other heading for 3/4 full.

I'm in zone 4, central WI. It's my first year, but another WI beek here says that with woods, fields, garden, prairie and wetlands I could expect something to be available until frost.

1. Should I consider a walk-away split? I am thinking of 2-3 bars of brood from each hive and 1 bar of honey from each, plus a few empty bars for them to work on. Plus, I would feed them. Does this sound about right?

2. Will this be enough time for them to build up before winter?

3. My 4 hives (only 2 occupied right now) are all permanently screwed onto 2 x 4s mounted on cedar posts. They are only 1 foot apart from each other. Would this be a problem with the new hive being so close to the old?

Thanks for your advice!

« Last Edit: July 02, 2009, 02:54:13 PM by luvin honey » Logged

The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2009, 01:42:02 AM »

It will work, try placing the bars for the nuc as follows, 1 bar of honey from hive 1, and empty bar, 2 bars of brood from hive 1, 2 bars of brood from hive 2, and empty bar, and a bar of honey from hive 2.
The bees will cluster on the brood frames and expand out to the adjacent empty bars.  The stores are accessable at all times.
Place additional frames as needed moving the storage frame out and putting in an empty bar next to the brood, the bees will decide when they have enough brood bards and will change to storage.
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luvin honey
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2009, 10:09:33 AM »

Thanks so much, Brian D. Bray!

Do you have any thoughts on moving the split so nearby? I don't have another option, but is there anything I can do to help them accept their new home?

Any suggestions for ensuring the queen is not on the brood combs (I have not yet been able to find my queens and they are unmarked). Or, doesn't it matter? Would the old huge hive simply do the same job of raising up a new queen?

What if I get into the center of my 2 old broodnests and find queen cells? Should I move those combs in the split?

Thanks!
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
luvin honey
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2009, 04:56:40 PM »

I really think they're getting ready to swarm!! The larger hive is somewhat bearding on a very cool day. Very little foraging, although the smaller hive is foraging as usual.

I peeked in the observation window and saw 1 queen cell hanging off the side on the top third of the comb.

What do I do now? Try to catch the swarm? Do the split? Do both?

If I split before they swarm, do I make sure to NOT take the queen cells in case they swarm anyway? Or doesn't it really matter which hive I leave queenless?

Thanks!!
« Last Edit: July 02, 2009, 02:48:25 PM by luvin honey » Logged

The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
luvin honey
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« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2009, 02:52:05 PM »

Well, they've gone and done it Smiley I'm actually kind of excited because I really felt this one coming and it gives me some confidence in my ability to read the situation and figure out what might be happening---that, plus about 1000 pages of wisdom and information on here!!

So, this morning around noon they swarmed. It didn't seem like a huge swarm. Through the observation window, the hive population is definitely down but not devastatingly so.

My original question stands--Should I still split this hive? They are still a very large hive with at least 16-bar brood nest plus 4-5 honey/brood. Any advice on how I would do this?
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
bakerboy
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2009, 05:53:19 PM »

If it was a small swarm, you may still get a split out of it :

Look carefully through the brood nest. Do you have lots of sealed brood and nurse bees, or do you have mostly nectar ? If you have lots of brood and bees, you could do a split, just make sure each split has a queen cell. If you have mostly nectar and pollen, forget the split for the time being.

There should be a number of queen cells on the edges of the combs, try very hard NOT to break/cut/tear them during your inspection: they are the future of this hive and any potential split. They can be hard to distinguish when covered with bees, look carefully and maybe nudge the bees out of the way for a better look.
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luvin honey
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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2009, 10:01:53 PM »

Thanks, Bakerboy. That is very helpful! I didn't make it in yet again tonight but absolutely must tomorrow if the weather is good. I will be extra cautious about the edges of each comb to protect those queen cells.

They are still large colonies. Both are 2/3 filling the box. Way less crowding in the hive that swarmed, but still plenty of bees to continue the work, which they are doing. I think I will go for a split unless anybody thinks it is too late in the season for it to build up and overwinter.

Are there any problems with pulling brood and bees from 2 different hives? Will they fight?
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
sc-bee
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« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2009, 10:48:41 PM »

Swarmed ---- should be cells!!! May even be after swarms depending on strength.

Find cells and make splits as mentioned above. Don't forget to leave a couple of cells in the parent hive.
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luvin honey
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« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2009, 10:51:49 PM »

Thanks much! That was my main question--what to do with queen cells? Do I need to be concerned about accidentally pulling a new queen from the old hive? Or, as long as the old hive and new split both have queen cells is it about a horse apiece?
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
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