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Author Topic: split strategies  (Read 1381 times)
Tyro
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« on: December 13, 2009, 09:25:29 AM »

I have read often about making splits using 2 frames, 3 frames, 4 frames and even a single frame of bees.  How do these different number of frames correspond best with strategies (for instance, is there a best # of frames for making a new hive versus making a nuc for queen production)?  
Thanks

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2009, 02:24:38 PM »

Bees have an economy.  It depends on available resources in the hive, resources coming in and workforce both to gather those resources and to maintain the heat, humidity and safety of the hive.  In other words they have to guard the combs from ants, wax moths, small hive beetles etc.

Once the overhead of maintaining a hive is met, then there is a surplus of labor to haul in a crop for winter, build more comb, clean the hive etc.

So the results of this are that a hive hits, what is commonly called "critical mass" after which things build quickly and before which things do not build quickly.  Ideally for the purpose of increase, you want a split that has "critical mass" from the start so they will build quickly and put away a crop for winter.  This is usually about one deep full of bees and brood and stores or two eight frame mediums full of bees and brood and stores.  Any split smaller than this will struggle for a time before they really take off.  I make a lot of nucs smaller for purposes such as banking a queen, or mating queens, but I don't intend for them to build up enough for winter.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm#earlysplit
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Joelel
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2009, 10:01:06 PM »

I have read often about making splits using 2 frames, 3 frames, 4 frames and even a single frame of bees.  How do these different number of frames correspond best with strategies (for instance, is there a best # of frames for making a new hive versus making a nuc for queen production)?  
Thanks



You can start a new hive with a package of bees in the spring with two or three lbs. of bees and a queen and no brood or honey. You can start a nuc spring and summer. In a nuc, the more frames of honey and brood you give them,the faster they will build up. It all depends on how fast you want them to build to a strong hive. You can buy four queens and split a strong hive into five or less.
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D Coates
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« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2009, 02:53:42 PM »

Do you have SHB's up there?  If not you can make splits with nothing more than a frame with a queen cell on it.  If you find a hive that's about to swarm (Queen cells in various states of growth)  I try to find the current queen and pinch her.  Once I've done that I find all of the queen cells.  Let's assume there are 3 frames with queen cells and the hive is well populated.  At this point I'd move 2 queen cell frames to one nuc each.  I'd also drop in a frame of capped brood per nuc.  Shake off another frames worth of bees into each nuc and you've got a split.  Put some food on them and don't check them for 2 to 3 weeks unless you notice something's clearly wrong.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2009, 03:04:58 PM by D Coates » Logged

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Tyro
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« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2009, 03:22:15 PM »

No SHB - they come in with the commercial guys in the spring and I actually saw a single beetle in one of my hives this past summer, but when the -40F comes, the beetles don't make it.  ND would be an ideal place to keep bees, if the summer weren't only 12 days long!  I like the strategy - but it would have to happen early in the season, or they wouldn't have time to build up for the winter.

Thanks to Michael for the link on his site as well.

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mudlakee
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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2009, 08:16:52 PM »

You get 12 whole days of Summer. Must be nice.  Tony
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Tyro
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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2009, 08:22:32 PM »

they aren't much, but man do they get HOT! 

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mudlakee
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« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2009, 01:46:28 PM »

If it gets to 80 around here everyone brakes the ice and opens their pools. Have a great and Merry Christmas  Tony
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