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Author Topic: Starting new colonies  (Read 4714 times)
bee-nuts
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« on: January 07, 2010, 06:43:54 PM »

What is the minimum number of frames of beex you can start a nuc with in spring and have it srrong enough to winter in the north (like Wisconsin)?  Example; If you take a frame of bees with say half brood and half pollen and honey, and add a frame of honey and pollen (no bees) and a mated queen, will it or can it grow fast enough to winter on its own?

Thanks for any insight in the matter

bee-nuts
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doak
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2010, 08:45:21 PM »

I would start with no less than one frame of capped brood, 2 frames of uncapped brood and eggs, one frame of honey/pollen and a frame of drawn comb. With this set up, with two to 3 frames covered
with bees and a good queen, Go to 10 frames in a week, no more. "IF" the queen is good.
You may even get a little honey or a split in a good year. My put. :)doak
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kbfarms
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2010, 09:31:10 PM »

So if you do a split like this, should you leave the new hive sitting for several hours to 24 hrs without the queen before you put her in?  I've read that leaving split without a queen for several hours increases the chances of the bees accepting her and reduce the chances of supersede.
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2010, 11:13:15 PM »

I would start with no less than one frame of capped brood, 2 frames of uncapped brood and eggs, one frame of honey/pollen and a frame of drawn comb. With this set up, with two to 3 frames covered
with bees and a good queen, Go to 10 frames in a week, no more. "IF" the queen is good.
You may even get a little honey or a split in a good year. My put. :)doak

I missed your reply somehow.  I am getting six mated mite resistant queens this spring and I want to make up nucs with the only goal of them building up enough to make it through the coming winter.  I guess I am wondering if you can start these with a frame of brood and a frame of stores and feed for a while?  I am not really worried about honey to much, just increase.

kbfarms

I made two splits last last year.  One with there own queen cell and one with an introduced queen.  I was told to leave it queen-less overnight so they knew they were queen-less and desperate for a queen.  I introduced a mated queen the following after noon and it worked great.  When I introduced the queen in a cage, every bee turned around and balled it.  It is crazy how fast they smelled her and went strait for her.  I wish I would have had a cam.  I was worried because I had read about balling the queen.  You should search balling or queen balling.
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2010, 11:34:09 AM »

I would use capped brood if possible, it will begin hatching sooner to nurse the new brood.
I don't think the queen will lay more eggs than the nurse bees can handle. This is the main risk of "not" having enough worker/nurse bees.

If you are limited with bees on frames of brood, I would reduce the amount of nuc's and increase the Number of frames with bees/brood. Half as many nuc's twice as many frames of brood.

Then if you don't have a good nector source along with a naturally good year, it wouldn't matter any how. Nothing from nothing leaves nothing.JMHO :)doak
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2010, 01:07:22 PM »

I had six colonies going into winter.  4 in one yard, one in two other yards.   last I cheeked the four were alive in January  One I expect will die out (I think its may be queenless).  The other two were in great shape.  I will get my queens in late may or early June.  By then I should have plenty of bees and unless we have a record drought I know I will have flow most all of the season.  I want to have twenty hives going into this next winter.  Hopefully I can do this without having to buy packages or nucs.  I plan on keeping my my new stock of mite tolerant bees in one yard and putting the rest of my mutts in the other two.  I split one hive three ways last year after it swarmed once already and got three nice colonies going into winter.  I guess I will just have to see how it goes.

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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2010, 07:24:40 AM »

 When I introduced the queen in a cage, every bee turned around and balled it.  It is crazy how fast they smelled her and went strait for her.  

So what was the reason?
Are you saying when you put the cage in?

Note...If this is the case, then it should be noted for new beekeepers that this is normal. Bees will automatically cover the cage. Some bees may be very accepting of her, while others may see her as a foreign queen. I mention this because "balling" is usually seen a negative component of beekeeping. While bees covering the queen cage is not in my mind exactly balling, and is not a negative.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2010, 07:30:12 AM »

 When I introduced the queen in a cage, every bee turned around and balled it.  It is crazy how fast they smelled her and went strait for her.  

So what was the reason?
Are you saying when you put the cage in?

Note...If this is the case, then it should be noted for new beekeepers that this is normal. Bees will automatically cover the cage. Some bees may be very accepting of her, while others may see her as a foreign queen. I mention this because "balling" is usually seen as a negative component of beekeeping. While bees covering the queen cage is not in my mind exactly balling, and is not a negative.
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2010, 04:45:57 PM »

Initially I was worried that they were not happy with her presence.  i read about balling and if I remember correctly that they can do it to either protect the queen or to kill here.  I was worried that they would kill her when they let her out but it all went well.  The cage also had a couple attendants in it and I was told I could remove them or leave them in with her.  I was worried I would lose the queen if I tried to get the other bees out so I left them in and hoped they would except them all after they all got used to each other.

The reason!  I dont know if it was that they did not like the new smell or if they were happy to smell her, like the person who I got her from said was probably the case.  It was my first queen introduction and I did not expect this kind of reaction at the time.  All I can say is it was/is weird to watch all the bees turn and flow in unison toward the queen cage.  I was very impressed with her brood production too, but that another topic.
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specialkayme
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« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2010, 03:55:37 PM »

I had six colonies going into winter.  4 in one yard, one in two other yards.   last I cheeked the four were alive in January  One I expect will die out (I think its may be queenless).  The other two were in great shape.  I will get my queens in late may or early June.  By then I should have plenty of bees and unless we have a record drought I know I will have flow most all of the season.  I want to have twenty hives going into this next winter.  Hopefully I can do this without having to buy packages or nucs.  I plan on keeping my my new stock of mite tolerant bees in one yard and putting the rest of my mutts in the other two.  I split one hive three ways last year after it swarmed once already and got three nice colonies going into winter.  I guess I will just have to see how it goes.

bee-nuts

I'm a little confused on how many hives you have right now. You said that two are in great shape, and one is going to die out. What is the condition of the other three?

Assuming best case scenario, you have five hives. Are you expecting to do a four way split to each hive this year? That's the only way you are going to make it from five hives to 20 in one season without purchasing nucs or packages, unless you are capturing hives.

If that's your plan, I think it's a little over-enthusiastic. You can usually expect to split each hive once a year. Sometimes (if the hive is booming) you can get away with a three way split. And if you are having a REALLY good year, or a REALLY strong hive, you might be able to split a second time (like around August), but expecting to be able to do that with EVERY hive, with a 0% loss rate, that might be reaching a bit far.

If I were you I'd take it easy. Do a split to the strong hives in June. Leave the others alone. By August if you have enough pollen and honey you can try to do a late split. If you push it too far, you'll end up with no hives, and alot of dead bees.
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2010, 04:39:43 PM »

4 in one yard, one in two other yards."  Thats six  Thats four in one, and one in another and again one in another.

A strong hive (a feed one) can make four nucs in May.  Each nuc can be split in four again in July.  Thats 16.   You can combine three of the first nucs in june and pinch there queens and get tones of honey from it while they make their queen and wait for her to lay.  Then split the last one four ways and have four going into winter.

I dont care about honey. 

Have I done this.  No.  I dont have to.  Thats what credible documented research tells me.  I want twenty hives going into winter.  Easily done. 

Last year I split a hive in July three ways.  I did not feed any till fall and they all were pretty full of bees (two deeps).  It was one of the worst years ever for honey production in the area. 
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specialkayme
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« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2010, 05:03:34 PM »

a strong hive (a feed one) can make four nucs in May.  Each nuc can be split in four again in July.  Thats 16.   You can combine three of the first nucs in june and pinch there queens and get tones of honey from it while they make their queen and wait for her to lay.  Then split the last one four ways and have four going into winter.
 

Where did you get that information from?

I have never been able to get 16 nucs from 1 hive in 2 months. Nor have I ever heard of anyone else being able to get similar numbers.

Langstrove himself only recommended splitting a hive in half each year (three way split at most).
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David LaFerney
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« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2010, 09:08:14 PM »

a strong hive (a feed one) can make four nucs in May.  Each nuc can be split in four again in July.  Thats 16.   You can combine three of the first nucs in june and pinch there queens and get tones of honey from it while they make their queen and wait for her to lay.  Then split the last one four ways and have four going into winter.
 


Where did you get that information from?

...


MDA Splitter for one.
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"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." Samuel Clemens

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specialkayme
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« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2010, 09:44:26 PM »

a strong hive (a feed one) can make four nucs in May.  Each nuc can be split in four again in July.  Thats 16.   You can combine three of the first nucs in june and pinch there queens and get tones of honey from it while they make their queen and wait for her to lay.  Then split the last one four ways and have four going into winter.
 


Where did you get that information from?

...


MDA Splitter for one.


Ok, I get what you are talking about.

My concern with that method is the fact that Bee-nuts is in Wisconsin. Do you think that all of these hives are going to be able to build up, fast enough, and still have enough supplies to make it through winter?

I'm in NC, and we are having a bad year so far. I also know your summer doesn't come till a month after mine starts. That cuts (I'm guessing) two months out of the season.

Sure you can split a hive a dozen times, but if their brood size isn't big enough, or they don't have enough stores to make it to the next year, what's the point? I'm not trying to hold you back, just being realistic. Sure it could be done, but can you do it? Don't you think if every commercial beekeeper could turn 100 hives into 1,600 in two months they would do it? Package and nuc prices wouldn't be rising like crazy, and there wouldn't be a shortage of bees.

But I don't know anything about Wisconsin beekeeping. I'll stick to my warm weather.
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2010, 10:35:16 PM »

Im not going to try to split a hive into 16.  I only gave that as an example.  If I were to replicate what he does I would probably end up with enough brood for three splits instead of four in may.  I am hoping to have twenty hives going into winter and am not scared to feed.  If I come out of winter with two colonies, I will be buying a few colonies in April to split in may  or whatever I need to do.  I may not end up with 20, maybe none.

I dont know anything about your area either.  What I do know is you can have a flow from march through September here if you are in the right location, have decent weather, with little real dearth.  I have plenty of yards if I want them.  I have different types of forage in each yard I have now  We dont have much mono culture here.  As soon as my girls can fly they got pollen and nectar.  I read many places may have only one major flow each year, that must suck no matter how warm it is there.  In Canada, they can put hundreds of pounds of honey on in one summer in a very short season and guys up there winter two frame nucs side by side in insulated boxes.  How many nucs could you winter then from one hive?

The only thing that will stop me is, money, time, and bad luck.  I am not worried one bit and I dont fear failure.  If I fail, I will learn something.  I have nothing to prove, and make no bets, but I dont see why on earth I should slow down.  Im having to much fun!
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doak
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« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2010, 10:47:37 PM »

Don't know how this would work. You may be able to go backwards as easy as forward if you try to get to much from a limited source. Remember, every situation may not turn out as before.
As in, you cannot rely on every Queen being a success either in surviving or production.
I don't know how others see it but I would not want to split to small to late.

If your (credited research information) came from paper and not the known on site action, Then I would have a hard time putting much faith in it.

Don't miss understand me. Research papers are a good thing. If they come from actually doing
and not calculations.
Don't know any other way to help with your plans.
If you don't get a solid reply from someone who has been successful with what you are talking about,
then I would say if you have the resources and feel confident in yourself. The only to find out is to go for it.

Hope I haven't been to negative. It's just the way I see it. :)doak
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specialkayme
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« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2010, 10:49:19 PM »

A constant flow for 6 months out of the year? Lucky you.

I'd probably agree with doak, but if you don't want to put the brakes on, don't let me stop you.

Just keep in mind, sometimes you can learn just as much from one lost hive as you can from 20. The only difference between the two is one leaves you with one less hive, the other leaves you with no hives.
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David LaFerney
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« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2010, 10:55:52 PM »

"Don't you think if every commercial beekeeper could turn 100 hives into 1,600 in two months they would do it? Package and nuc prices wouldn't be rising like crazy, and there wouldn't be a shortage of bees."

On the MDA splitter PDF there are at least a couple of places where he even says "IF they all make it..."  so it's certainly not a sure thing.  

Also, when you increase the number of colonies you also increase the amount of equipment required, and the amount of feeding you have to pay for, and the amount of work that has to be done by an astronomical amount.  So going from 100 to 1600 hives is probably really hard to do because of all that - even if it is possible.  

I'd imagine that going from 4 to 20 in a season is an ambitious goal, but if everything aligns It surely is possible. If everything aligns.

Is there a shortage of bees?  
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doak
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« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2010, 11:16:38 PM »

If you would like a hobby that will give you rapid increase you can do it with Rabbits and or, Red worms. That is how I got my Alias. "rabbitredworm".
No kidding. :)doak

OH! by the way, in combination. Raise the worms under the Rabbit pens. Been there done that.dk
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2010, 11:39:27 PM »

I may very well go backwards.  I am lucky I have bees alive now.  It got cold way to early last fall and many folks here could not feed or treat there bees for that reason.  I hear lots of bees are going to starve.  I am lucky I started feeding when I did (I should have never stole any honey) and if i did not put sugar on my bees I may have ended up with nothing before it gets warm enough to put syrup in.  Maybe I will still lose them.

Im not going to just walk out there and start pulling brood and making nucs with no respect for there welfare.  I do believe 20 hives from what I have now is quite reach and I know it.  I dont think its impossible though and I am going to try.  I know its going to cost me money and I may run short.  Hopefully I am fortunate and am able to do it with splits, purchased queens and some of my own.  Im also hoping to catch a couple swarms.  All in all, my goal is twenty.

I ask questions for a reason.  Even if I believe I know something, I still like to hear others opinions.  I love the variable in them too.  One person will say never open a hive under fifty degrees, another will say it dont matter because they dont heat the hive anyway.  Who is right and who is wrong?  Some people know everything but know nothing.  My mind and opinions have changed so many times one way or the other since I started reading and keeping bees that I would not be surprised if I wanted AHB come spring, LOL!

Thanks for input as always.

bee-nuts
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