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Author Topic: Is spliting now a bad idea?  (Read 3106 times)
bee-nuts
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« on: June 21, 2009, 05:33:52 PM »

My bees swarmed on me (Northern Wisconsin)  I am a new beekeeper with very little experience.  I did not realize how fast colonies could become crowded and swarm.  I have no brood, larva or eggs, and believe I found hatched queen cells but I still have no eggs.  I went through one of them today which is three deeps, deep and two are still loaded with bees and are now drawing out the foundation in the top now that I pulled the queen excluder out.  Ya I know that was a big mistake (putting the excluder in).  They have tones of honey and pollen packed away.  I know I have at least a month of blackberry bloom yet.  I wanted to make some nucs this year.  I am not really worried about my honey harvest.  I just want to learn how to work and manipulate them this year.  I am told I should have new queens in them if I have hatched swarm cells.  I did also find one superseded queen cell in middle of one frame.  However, would it be the end of the world if I take each hive and split them in two dividing the honey and pollen stores, adding one box of foundation to each and A new queen in each as well.  I have two other yards I can move them to, then bring them back after a couple weeks.  I'm positive I will have nectar flow till frost.  I have studied the plants around here.  There also is about a ten acre field that some one planted full of white and red clover nearby.  There is lots of alfalfa and soybean as well.  I also will have lots of milkweed, golden rod and field thistle.  Other than the money for the queens what would I have to lose.

Beeks, please give me your thoughts on this.   
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wisconsin_cur
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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2009, 09:26:50 PM »

My understanding is that the red clover will not result in a lot of nectar, at least most years but otherwise it sounds like you are in a good place.  I will wait to hear from others to hear their response as well as I am watching my bees fill up their second brood box and am trying to decide if I want honey this year, try a late split or just have them draw out more comb and keep the honey in the comb to help expand next year. 
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The Back Porch
bee-nuts
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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2009, 12:49:15 AM »

Yes the red clovers nectar is of no importance unless it is very dry and the corolla tubes are stunted so the bees tongue can reach the nectar but they are a pollen source.  White clover however is a great nectar source.  Right now though my bees don't care for the white clover, just the blackberry blossoms as far as I can tell.

As far as your bees go I would highly recommend you add more supers before you think they are out of room, even if you don't want the honey, the bees can use it come winter.  If they put up enough honey for winter and still have enough left in spring you wont need to feed them sugar water either.  And unless you want to be in my situation, you may prevent them from swarming.  I don't know what part of Wisconsin you are from but if you have woods, wetland and dairy farms near your bees you may have nectar till near or up to frost. 
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2009, 06:58:54 AM »

Yes the red clovers nectar is of no importance unless it is very dry and the corolla tubes are stunted so the bees tongue can reach the nectar but they are a pollen source.  White clover however is a great nectar source.  Right now though my bees don't care for the white clover, just the blackberry blossoms as far as I can tell.

As far as your bees go I would highly recommend you add more supers before you think they are out of room, even if you don't want the honey, the bees can use it come winter.  If they put up enough honey for winter and still have enough left in spring you wont need to feed them sugar water either.  And unless you want to be in my situation, you may prevent them from swarming.  I don't know what part of Wisconsin you are from but if you have woods, wetland and dairy farms near your bees you may have nectar till near or up to frost. 

Thanks, we are near Eau Claire and have all of those things within 1 mile.
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luvin honey
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2009, 04:29:32 PM »

Thought I would jump in on this purely WI thread Cheesy I'm in WI, too, and am wondering the same thing. I'm thinking of doing a split, as I have 2 hives available. But, this is my first year. Glad to hear that wetlands, fields and prairie would keep a hive in pollen and nectar until frost, as I have all within 2 miles of me.

So, bee-nuts, how about a walk-away split? Let both new ones raise new queens? Or, would the colony crash before the queen was raised, mated and laying since you say you have no eggs? Sounds like you have nothing to lose in getting new queens and going that route. It's either that or letting the whole colony crash, right? Do you have any other hives you could use brood comb from to add to this one?
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trapperbob
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2009, 06:37:49 PM »

My only concern here is you say they swarmed and there were definitely queen cells. This could mean you have a unmated queen in the hive or out on her mating flight I don't recall how long you should wait before she would start laying but if you put a new queen in there you may lose her to the hive because they might ball her since they know they have one already. Maybe some of the others here can help with the timing.
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2009, 07:46:02 PM »

Iam in Ga and still splitting, you just have to feed the hive you grafting from and the builder hive youareputting your frames in, it help to feed all hive in this yard to cut down robbing..
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2009, 07:53:43 PM »

Mine are booming and split right now would probably do well here.
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Michael Bush
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2009, 03:45:02 AM »

Michael Bush and TWT:  Did you read my post well.

"I have no brood, larva or eggs, and believe I found hatched queen cells but I still have no eggs"  Thats as of Tuesday last week.  They could have swarmed almost a month ago for all I know.

Sunday I went through one and still no eggs.  In the morning (Tue.) I will attempt to go through the other two.  If I find no eggs Im tempted to order 6 Queens, take next day off work, make six deep super nuc's, move them 4-5 miles, pick up queens, and introduce queens next morning.

Does this sound like good Idea.  Even If I find eggs I still want to make at least one split unless it is a bad thing to do.  Please help me with this.  I really would appreciate it. 
Again, money spent and honey is not on a list for me to worry about right now.  Learning and Apiary growth is my top priority.

luven honey:  Two reasons I will not make walk away splits right now. 

1 - I have no eggs or even larva so they would have no means to make a queen. 

2 - I dont like the sound of walk away splits because you may get a poor queen.  You also need lots of drones to insure your queen has enough sperm to make it through winter.  My hives have a low drone count which I find amazing being that they swarmed.  I would rather raise queens or buy them so I have eggs that were destined to be queens from the moment they are laid.

To whom it may concern:  I grew up in the area I have my bees.  I know what plants grow there plus have the knowledge of my elders who farmed there and have the knowledge that they learned and from there elders when they grew up.  Every area is different but Trees depending on the area can give you nectar and pollen in huge amounts.  Farmers need hay crops, grow soybeans, and hopefully have clover.  Wetlands tend to have lots of bloom in late summer and fall like Golden Rod.  In my area I have field thistle which blooms till frost.  My uncle used to let a commercial beekeeper put his bees there in fall.  The beekeeper claimed that he could take all his honey and the bees could put up enough honey off the field thistle to survive the winter.  I guess he said "when I found field thistle I thought I was going to be rich" then laughed.  I'm sure he never realized his riches and is why he laughed.  He has now passed away so I guess all the field thistle is mine.  Anyway I guess my point is, if there are any old guys around, preferably farmers, I would get to know them if you can because from them you could learn more in a week what grows around your area then you may on your own in a lifetime.  For you local WI beeks just search nectar sources in google and you should find a link for norther nectar sources.  If you don't know what they are the old boys should.  Then you know some of what You got and what to expect.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2009, 06:46:13 PM »

I'm not sure about "for all I know" but 21 days after a swarm is the earliest I'd expect to see eggs and 28 would be much more likely and a little more than a month would not be unheard of if the queen cells were just capped before the swarm left.
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Michael Bush
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kathyp
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« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2009, 08:27:29 PM »

Quote
move them 4-5 miles, pick up queens, and introduce queens next morning.


why??  i make mine in the same yard.  nucs and splits.  some drift, but not much.



http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,22666.0.html

this hive, note the date, had no queen when i moved it.  i had given it brood/eggs twice the two weeks before.  it did have a couple of queen cells when i moved it, but they looked iffy.  today, when i took the queen i had just purchased out to the hive, i found a nice fat queen laying away in there.  this is a swarm that i picked up 2 months ago.  it probably had a virgin queen that was lost to the birds during her mating flight.  it has take this time to get a laying queen in there.  this hive had no drones in it.  obviously, she found some  smiley.  just because you have no drones, does not mean that there are none around.  just because you think you have no queen, you have no queen.

order queens if you feel you must, but be prepared to have them killed if you are wrong...it's one of those judgment call things that adds to the learning experience.
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2009, 03:38:55 AM »

Thanks for the advice.  I went through another of the swarmed hives today.  I found a frame with a patch of larva about the size of a DVD on one side and  the other side was half full of milky cells that I'm assuming are eggs with royal jelly.  It was smokin hot today so I will come back friday or so and check others.  Hopefully Ill be in good shape in all.  Brood nests are packed with Honey and pollen so I need to open them up somehow.  I think splits may be a good way to do it.  Gotta learn some how. I will put a queen excluder in and come back in a week and find out which super has the queen and split and add box of foundation and of course a queen to queen-less box.

Again, thanks you for advice.  I really appreciate it.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2009, 02:06:16 AM »

Michael Bush and TWT:  Did you read my post well.

"I have no brood, larva or eggs, and believe I found hatched queen cells but I still have no eggs"  Thats as of Tuesday last week.  They could have swarmed almost a month ago for all I know.

That is the classic sign of a swarm having occurred.  Be advised that the old queen may well have swarmed before the new queen hatched. 

Quote
To whom it may concern:  I grew up in the area I have my bees.  I know what plants grow there plus have the knowledge of my elders who farmed there and have the knowledge that they learned and from there elders when they grew up.  Every area is different but Trees depending on the area can give you nectar and pollen in huge amounts.  Farmers need hay crops, grow soybeans, and hopefully have clover.  Wetlands tend to have lots of bloom in late summer and fall like Golden Rod.  In my area I have field thistle which blooms till frost.  My uncle used to let a commercial beekeeper put his bees there in fall.  The beekeeper claimed that he could take all his honey and the bees could put up enough honey off the field thistle to survive the winter.  I guess he said "when I found field thistle I thought I was going to be rich" then laughed.  I'm sure he never realized his riches and is why he laughed.  He has now passed away so I guess all the field thistle is mine.  Anyway I guess my point is, if there are any old guys around, preferably farmers, I would get to know them if you can because from them you could learn more in a week what grows around your area then you may on your own in a lifetime.  For you local WI beeks just search nectar sources in google and you should find a link for norther nectar sources.  If you don't know what they are the old boys should.  Then you know some of what You got and what to expect.

Many old timers have a lot of non-book lore learned from years of experience.  Some old timers are still doing things the way they were taught years ago and haven't learned from their experience.
It's important to know which type of old timer you're talking too or trying to learn from.
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