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Author Topic: Hive splitting problems  (Read 1371 times)
16vjohn
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« on: May 16, 2010, 04:57:29 PM »

I have spent the better half of the last week doing research on hive splitting. I decided to split my one and only hive. It was very strong with the two bottom boxes already full of brood and honey. I decided to take the top box and use that to start the second hive... subsequently putting an empty box with frames on top of each. The strong hive has flourished. The workers built up the empty plastic frames on a matter of a week. The "second hive" had minimal workers leaving and arriving but inside there were many many bees caring for the brood. I have waited what seems to be around 2 weeks and there are no signs of a queen in the second hive. During my inspection today I noticed that the bees in the second hive have depleeted most of their honey reserves and that most of the brood has hatched out. I inspected every frame carefully looking for a queen cell or signs of eggs. None. In my "newbeeness" I decided to take a nuc frame from the strong hive and swap it into the weaker second hive in hopes that they will use the eggs in that frame to create a queen.

My question for the experts is... did I do it right? What have I done wrong and what should I be doing now? Getting frustrated... don't want the second hive to fail.
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2010, 05:06:46 PM »

Did your second(new)hive have fresh eggs and open brood when you split your boxes?Maybe they raised a queen and she didn't get mated.
Putting a frame with fresh eggs and nurse bees should help if they are in fact without a queen. If there is a new queen in there,the extra brood and bees will help.
Remember it may take up to 28 days from when the egg was layed until a queen is mated and laying.
It woul help to put your location in your profile so you can get better answers with regards to weather and such. Smiley
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16vjohn
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2010, 05:10:49 PM »

Thanks for the quick reply. I had an experienced keeper help me with the split. He specifically showed me eggs and brood in all stages in each box before we did the split. I think what happened is most of the bees hatched and went back to the 1st hive due to queen scent.... It appears that the only bees left in the second hive are nurse bees... very little brood and hardly any workers leaving or arriving. I live in a town called spanish fork about 50 miles south of Salt Lake City in Utah. It's about 75 degrees here now.... The spring was (and kind of still is) a bit brutal. The last week was cold and rainy... which could be an indicator for why the honey is gone.
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kathyp
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2010, 05:17:27 PM »

your field bees may have drifted back.  those that hatched out are now your nurse bees.  one easy way to re-balance is to swap the hive locations.  field bees from the strong hive will return to the weak hive.

be patient on the queen.  doesn't sound like it's been long enough.  did you find queen cells?
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16vjohn
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2010, 05:19:31 PM »

No queen cells at all. I'll swap the hives location tonight and report back.
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iddee
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2010, 05:54:44 PM »

The time frame is everything, and you don't give us much to go on. Can you date each action with the hive? You say you studied last week, then waited two weeks. I can't keep up with your time frame.

7 to 8 days after the split, there should have been queen cells. 14 days after the split, there would be NO queen cells, as she had already emerged and destroyed all other cells. From the 25th day to the 35 day, you should see new eggs.
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16vjohn
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2010, 06:27:07 PM »

It's hard to remember... I know that's bad. I'm a newbie and I am learning to keep records and keep up on maintenance. To clear up any confusion with the time frame, the split was done on the weekend of april 24th. I have done "quick" inspections every weekend since then, mostly because I was waiting on a new veil and smoker to arrive. Today, I actually did a full inspection of each frame. With that time frame in mind, I guess it stands to reason that she is probably alive but not laying eggs yet. I'll give it another weekend... but tonight I am going to swap the hive locations anyway. 

Also, I went out there to check something unrelated and noticed a different breed of bee... much larger with a dark abdomen coming and going at about 0.5hz presumably robbing the honey.  I guess the ultimate question is... should I be patient or is there some kind of action you would recommend? I think if I read another hive splitting article my head will explode.
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16vjohn
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2010, 07:02:51 PM »

Here's a picture of the unidentified bees... are these some other breed, possibly robbing? Or do they look like drones? My drones? Somebody else's drones?

synapsepc.com/Hosting/Images/Cody/100_0271.JPG
synapsepc.com/Hosting/Images/Cody/100_0283.JPG

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kathyp
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2010, 07:20:19 PM »

drones belong to all  grin

that may be a very good sign.  they are often present with virgin queens and around the time hives are going to swarm.  i'm thinking your nuc is not going to swarm, so perhaps there has been some mating going on!

assuming the frame you put in was eggs?  you should see queen cells on your next inspection if you have no queen.  if you see eggs, you are good to go.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
16vjohn
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2010, 11:33:27 PM »

Thanks for the ideas. I'll report back next weekend. I just hope they have enough honey.
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16vjohn
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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2010, 12:02:55 AM »

Swapping the hive location seemed to be enough to trick them. There were an equal amount of bees coming and going from both hives. I did it at night due to previous success but one of the girls expressed her distain for the situation and got me right on the stomach, now I am faced with an itchy reminder for the next few days.  I guess it's good to get stung every once in a while as a reminder of what a great force of nature we deal with here and that respect is paramount. Anyway, thanks for the tips. I'll inspect the hive this weekend and check for eggs. Hopefully the renewed population will be enough to supply the colony with food until the new queen is doing her job.
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