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Author Topic: xtra Queens  (Read 1138 times)
T Beek
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« on: February 03, 2012, 05:39:00 AM »

I purchased extra queens (the price was right) with packages I've got coming this Spring and am now wondering what to do w/ them huh until needed.

Is it possible (or even rational) to split a 3 # package in half, making two colonies from one package?

The original intent was to bank the extras until needed in some NUCs w/ bees from my current colonies, but w/ these crazy temps and another 4 months until Spring I don't know if I'll have any bees from my current hives to borrow brood from.  One of my colonies is showing an awful lot of dysentery already.

Thus is my dilemma.  Any suggestions will be appreciated.  Thanks.

thomas
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T Beek
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2012, 07:51:32 AM »

63 views of the question and 'no' advise or answers provided?  That doesn't happen to often around here.

What's up w/ that Beeks?  This should'nt have stumped everyone, should it?

 Sad

thomas
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AllenF
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2012, 08:17:33 AM »

Need more info.    Are you placing the the packages on drawn comb?    If so and depending on the time of the year you get the packages, with heavy feeding and away from other hives, it may be possible to split a 3 pound package, but I would not.    4 pounds yes.    Can you split your existing hives with the new queens?
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2012, 08:40:56 AM »

I am guessing expected temperature ranges may play a large role in how far you can split the packages. But remember your bee numbers will be dwindling from day 1 until the emerging bees outnumber the daily loss in mature bees.
I don't know what I'd do. perhaps try to order another queenless package to insure good numbers?
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T Beek
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2012, 08:51:07 AM »

A lot depends on whether I have 'any' survivors once Spring arrives.

I've got enough open/stored comb for a couple hives right now, but may have a whole lot more if my current bees don't make it to Spring.  As said above, that was/is the intent;  to add the extra queens to bees taken from my survivors.  

But what if I have no survivors?  The dilemma.  I'm trying to prepare for this very real possibility.

I've put packages (even some 2 pounders many years ago) on completely empty frames successfully before, but NEVER a split package of 1 1/2 pounds w/ an extra queen.  That is the question.  That and how to keep them (queens) happy if and until they are needed (with or without bees to care for her).  How many bees does it take to care for a queen in a small (NUC) colony of 'split' package bees?  2 frames?  One frame?  Is it rational to even do such a split w/ a new package?  

Do any beeks practice this method of splitting up packages?  I know many who feel more is better (bees that is), but what I'm seeking is whether it would result in a wash for all concerned and if so, an explanation as to why.

Thanks.

thomas
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buzzbee
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2012, 08:53:57 AM »

Wanna borrow my magic 8 ball ?  grin

It's a tough call. Is there anybody near you that may make some splits if you can't use them?
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T Beek
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2012, 09:11:21 AM »

Good advise BuzzBee.  Thanks! 

I really have no one very close but I do know some beeks in the 'region'  Wink who may be receptive to an 'exchange' of this sort and I also have a 'line out' (actually committed by me anyway) to hopefully purchase a NUC colony that could be used depending on when or if I get it, but am currently waiting for a return confirmation that it will be available.  Still a bit early to promise local bees up here yet, I suppose.

thomas
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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2012, 09:35:52 AM »

Keep the sugar on and I think you'll be okay. Hope for early bloomers!!
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T Beek
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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2012, 10:47:26 AM »

Hope and a prayer for an early Spring, that's all there is right now.

Dry sugar is about all my bees have left to survive on until blooms begin, they must be getting tired of it by now  Undecided

I guess I'd still like to hear from 'anyone' who has successfully split a 3# package though and any hints they care to share. 

My current plan (if my bees don't make it) will be to split them up and hive one of them like a normal package, while confining the one w/ the 'extra' queen (and split bees) together for a few days before releasing them. 

This makes the most sense, unless I can make a trade, or (best case scenario) my wintered bees make it and I can just make up NUCs as 'originally' planned. 

If Spring arrives early none of this fretting will have mattered one bit, more of that hope stuff  Smiley.

thomas
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BlueBee
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2012, 02:51:12 PM »

Never tried it, so this guess probably isn’t worth much.

How about putting a divider in a box and hiving ¾ of the package on one side with the primary queen and hive ¼ of the package on the other side with the extra queen.  Just enough bees to keep the extra queen alive until brood can eventually be added from the other side to boost the numbers.  Being in the same box they could share heat which might be a good thing in Wisconsin.  As the ¾ side broods up combs, start moving some of those combs over to the ¼ side to really get them going.   
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T Beek
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2012, 03:43:23 PM »

Thanks bluebee, that's what I'm talking about and looking for.  I think we're rolling now  Smiley.

You make a very good point in that keeping them close yet separated, they can share heat.  I supose I could also stack them on top of one another for the same purpose and result. 

Thanks again.

thomas
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2012, 08:54:06 PM »

I would split them if I had the extra queens.  I would keep two strong and two weak.  Like 2 that are a little over two pounds and two just under a pound.  I would do this so two can get going well then once they are moving along and start raising drones I would steal brood from them to get the others going.

For one thing two queens could be crappy anyway and the spares could be the good ones for all you know.
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2012, 09:02:36 PM »

and one more thing, the year before last we had green grass here in Chippewa county by the 12th of march.  We had about a foot of snow on the 8th left but it warmed up so fast my bees were bringing in pollen and open yard was greening up already by the 12th.  It did not cool back off and bees were swarming by end of April.  With the weather we have been having I wont be surprised to see another early spring.  In fact Im crossing my fingers for it. 

Upper 20's n 30's in the 10 day forecast, that's half way through February, then only a few weeks till Mid march and the girls could be on a flow by then if this keeps up.
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T Beek
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2012, 07:31:40 AM »

Bee-nuts; you've renewed my faith that all will be well.  Thanks!  And thanks to all who responded.

thomas
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