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Author Topic: My first split  (Read 1149 times)
gregted
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« on: September 29, 2011, 12:49:00 AM »

Hello all,
My name is Greg and I currently have 1 hive but want to increase my apiary numbers so I have some questions.
I have 1 brood hive with no honey supers from a swarm some years ago and I want to split these 10 frames into 2 or 3 hives.
I have just received my first queen in the mail yesterday ( Sep 28 2011 ) and of course it is raining here in Toowoomba Qld today.
I have a 5 frame nuc with 5 new frames + foundation ready for the split tomorrow or the next day depending on weather.
I know I should take 3 frames of brood + bees, 1 frame of honey and 1 frame of foundation to the new nuc ensuring I don't have the original queen.
My problem is I don't have any frames of honey, so I will mix up 1 kilo of sugar into 1 liter of hot water and let cool then add this into a ziplock bag to the top frames of my nuc and slit the top of the bag to assist feeding.
Does that sound ok?
I also want to know if I can knock up another 1 or 2 nucs and do the same with the remaining frames in the original hive to wind up with 3 new hives instead of the original 1.
I will then have 1 hive with the original queen, 1 nuc with the young mated queen from the post, and 1 queenless hive which I would like to leave to their own resources to see a hive requeen.
My logic is if 1 nuc can survive then 3 nucs should survive equally a well.
If this is successful then can I do this again later this year or should I leave them alone till next year.

Great forum. Lots of advice and ideas.

Chat soon.
Greg
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swiftden
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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2011, 02:10:50 AM »

Greg

Just because you dont have a honey super does not mean you dont have honey. Most brood boxes will have honey on atleast the outer two frames and some on the others.

No reason why what you have suggested wont work. Hopefully you have some young brood for the queens less split to raise

Good luck

Regards Allan
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gregted
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« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2011, 03:11:28 AM »

Thanks for the advice Allan.

I have another idea to throw out there to help with increasing numbers of hives in my yard.

I had made up one 10 frame as 2 nucs years ago with a rebatted slot down the middle to take a divider made from thin ply and a bottom board to suit. I then placed a reduced entrance at opposite ends. My logic was easier transport of 1 box versus 2 nucs.

I remember seeing a similar idea on the web but they had taken it further with 4 dividers turning a 10 frame box into 4 nucs of 2 frames each. In this way, I could divide 1 10 frame box into 4 nucs and add mated queens or let them do their own thing and make their own queens.

My concern is with the four nucs taken from the same hive, would the bees get confused and not know which box to go into?
I never tried this model but am curious to see if anybody has tried this...

Greg.
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yantabulla
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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2011, 03:34:38 AM »

Greg your second option would work in theory but I think you may be pushing them a bit hard.

One possible problem I can think of is all the field bees wanting to get back into the original entrance.  If you haven't managed to get enough nurse bees on the brood frames they may struggle to cover the frames.  It could leave them vulnerable to beetles if they are weak.

The type of set up you are talking about is more suited to queen rearing with the colony strength increased by shaking nurse bees in from stronger hives.

Painting a different design on each face of the super will aid with orientation. 

I would be playing it safe while your numbers are low & just do the single split.  You can still do another one later in the year & end up with 3.

Yanta
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BlueBee
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« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2011, 03:42:58 AM »

You can force the old field bees to stay in your new nucs if you move the splits to a new yard a couple of kilometers away.  However I agree, it would probably be best to let your parent hive build up more before taking more splits.
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gregted
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2011, 04:00:53 AM »

Thanks for your advice Yantabulla and Bluebee,

I think i will divide the remaining 7 frames into another nuc and get a mated queen for this hive and leave the remaining frames in box 1.

Should I transfer the 5 frames from my nucs to a 10 frame box in a month or so and let them fill these out till next year or can I divide them later this year?

I guess all this will depend on the season ahead.

I would like to get into rearing my own queens to save some money and get the experience also. Any advice??

I have just gone on our local register for swarm collection so I may be busy soon..

Greg
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2011, 04:30:57 AM »

http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm
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Michael Bush
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gregted
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« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2011, 12:09:16 AM »

Just completed my first split and added my mated queen to my nuc.

Couldn't find the queen, looked 3 or 4 times but found bees of all ages and drones and some swarm cells opened and capped but very little brood cells. Maybe 20 to 50 in all frames.

I didn't find any eggs or larvae in any frame but introduced the mated queen to the top of middle frames with plug pointing up anyway.

Within 2 or 3 minutes there were dozens of bees clustering around the queen cage.

And now we wait......

I"ll wait a week and see how they are going.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2011, 03:38:09 AM »

HmmmÖÖ.did your original hive swarm?  

This could make your first split a little more challenging for a few reasons.  First, virgin queens are hard to spot.  You might have ended up moving a virgin queen (or another queen) into your nuc.  Iíve done that before even after looking the frames over twice.   Didnít bode well for my purchased queen.  

Secondly if your parent hive (and now your nuc) has little to no brood, itís going to take quite some time to get them up to strength.  20 to 50 brood cells?  The problem for the nuc will be a drop in population as the field bees return from the nuc to the parent hive.  You may not end up with very many bees in your nuc to raise new brood and ward off the wax moths.  

Iím not trying to be downer here, but you will have to keep a close eye on how things are going.  Luckily it looks like you live in a very bee friendly climate.  Youíll want to keep checking your parent hive to make sure it has a mated queen at some point.

Iím a bit of a worry wart when it comes to installing purchased queens.  I donít install the cage between frames, I just set the cage horizontally on top of a hives frames.  I use a taller top cover when doing this.  This allows me to peak into the hive to see if the queen has been released (or killed) after a few days.  I donít have to pull frames to check this or remove the cage when introducing in this manner.  

Good Luck
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gregted
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I used to be indicisive, but I'm not so sure now..


« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2011, 05:26:42 AM »

Thanks Bluebee,

I also thought my original hive might have swarmed but I was wondering why the old queen didn't leave a better hive behind.

There were 2 or 3 frames nearly fully filled and capped with honey and in the other frames 5 or 10 brood cells together in the middle then the entire frame empty. Other frames had brood cells scattered here and there. As I said before no larvae or eggs anywhere.

I am curious why there would still be some swarm cells if the hive has swarmed and a virgin queen was in residence.

Everything I have read and heard lately tells me to leave them for a week but do you think I should look in a few days?

I had the queen delivered on Wednesday so she was caged on Tuesday and I only installed her today, Friday. So she has been in the cage for 3 days before being installed.

Will this be an issue with the bees getting to her before they get used to her scent?

I had some local advice to put the nuc with the mated queen cage in the original position of the original hive and move the original hive away. This would strengthen up the nuc when the field bees arrive home. Hope this is right.

Thanks for any help offered. I am very interested in doing this right and getting my apiary up and running.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2011, 11:11:25 AM »

Yes, you got good local advice about swapping the positions of your nuc and parent hive.  That will get more bees into the nuc.  The original field bees will now fly back into your nuc.

As for your mated queen, I would also follow conventional advice, thereís nothing wrong with that.  I was just mentioning that I do it a little differently; putting the queen cage above the frames where I can peak without really disturbing the colony.  As with most things bee keeping there are multiple ways of doing the same thing. 

It sounds like your parent hive may have swarmed some time ago since you had so little brood left to emerge (and no larvae).  Maybe those remaining queen cells are dead and the brood left behind mostly hatched?  If not, then they swarmed within 7 days but didnít leave much brood for some reason.

Another thing about bee keeping, they love to throw us curveballs!
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gregted
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I used to be indicisive, but I'm not so sure now..


« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2011, 05:47:03 PM »

The quote I like is " Good decisions come from experience, experience comes from bad decisions".

I think all this is much more interesting if something goes wrong and i have to learn something new.

I'm hoping I've got the hive soon enough for the new queen to lay some eggs before all the old bees die out. i guess
I'll find out in a week.

She should be out of her mailing cage and laying if I've got this right.

Should there be eggs in my original hive by then if I've got a young virgin or will that take a bit longer?

Alternately, should I just reunite these 2 colonies in a week and let the mailed queen take over?

So many questions, so little bees......
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BlueBee
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« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2011, 11:04:10 PM »

In my bee yard it typically takes about 30 days from egg to a laying queen.  If a virgin just emerged from a queen cell say 2 days ago, then I would expect eggs in about:
30 - 2 days Ė 16 days (egg to emergence) = 12 days from now.

Like with everything else bees, the time to mate and get laying will vary.  Bad weather will delay things.

As for a combine, you might want to have your local beek take a look.  Itís kind of hard to make that call over the internet.
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gregted
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I used to be indicisive, but I'm not so sure now..


« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2011, 11:20:52 PM »

Thanks Bluebee.

I'll keep an eye on things.
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