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Author Topic: Northern VA - Should I split my hive already?  (Read 1159 times)

Offline Javin

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Northern VA - Should I split my hive already?
« on: June 28, 2012, 09:48:34 PM »
Hello, All.

Got my package of bees on March 28, and checked on them today.  I currently have five (all medium) hive bodies on the hive, and on today's inspection noticed this, going from top to bottom:

1 - Mostly full of honey, half capped.
2 - Completely full of honey, mostly capped
3 - Mostly but brood, tons of it, and about 1/3rd capped honey at the tops of the frames
4 - Tons of brood.  Nearly completely full.
5 - Almost empty, except a lot of pollen, a little brood

So a ton of questions:

1.) If they've done this much in three months, and there are TONS of bees, do I have to worry about overcrowding?  Will they be likely to swarm if they keep going at this rate? 
2.) Should I go ahead and split the hive?  Would that be safe to do at this time of year?
3.) Should I add another hive body (I hate to go over 5) and just let them put in more honey? 
4.) Is it safe this late in the season (is it late in the season?) to harvest the hive body that's full of honey? 
5.) Is this "normal" growth for a hive, or do I have an unusually good queen?

Thanks for any help you can offer!

-Aaron

Offline FRAMEshift

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Re: Northern VA - Should I split my hive already?
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2012, 11:16:28 PM »
Your flow is almost over and you are about to go into a dearth.  If you split, you will need all the honey to get the two hives through the dearth and then winter.  If you don't split, you could harvest the one capped box.

If you want another hive (I would want at least two hives so they can share resources), you could split and maybe feed in the fall to make sure they have enough stores.
"You never can tell with bees."  --  Winnie-the-Pooh

Offline BrentX

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Re: Northern VA - Should I split my hive already?
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2012, 11:43:53 PM »
I agree with Frameshift.  Your hive is doing well, and does not sound overcrowded.  Adding another super is not a bad idea, but watch closely to see if they can draw it out.  The flow will be decreasing as July comes on, there is not much time for additional comb building or honey making. 

In mid July harvest the capped honey.  If you want another hive split after that.  Watch the honey building through the fall.  Go into winter with three mediums full of bees and honey.  Feed sugar if the bees have less than a full medium of capped honey going into winter (end of October).

Offline Javin

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Re: Northern VA - Should I split my hive already?
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2012, 01:04:16 AM »
Thank you so much!  I would far rather get a second hive out of this than a harvest.  I'll take your advice and do the split (hopefully next week or two) and leave their honey for the winter.  I'll feed as necessary if they start to get light on the honey.

As a COMPLETELY random side-note, I have only ever been stung once (when pulling apart the hive with no smoke OR gear - yeah, was asking for it) but I actually started keeping bees because I was diagnosed with premature rheumatoid arthritis as a teenager.  Tonight (it's late) one of our bees must've gotten confused and ended up circling our back porch light.  I figured it was time to put the bee sting therapy to the test, and snagged her with some tweezers and had her sting my wrist.  Strangely, the pain was gone within minutes.  The first time I was stung, it hurt for DAYS.  Even now, there's a light "warm" sensation to my wrist, but no pain.  Is it normal to so quickly become immune to the pain, or is it possible that she didn't give me the full wrath of her sting?

Edit: I left the stinger in for 10 minutes after getting stung.

Offline FRAMEshift

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Re: Northern VA - Should I split my hive already?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2012, 09:29:25 AM »
The pain and the swelling reaction are highly variable.  You will have a better idea after you have been stung 100 times. :)  But as for me, I don't seem to get used to the pain.  It always hurts. 

I'm hypersensitive to bee venom (as in anaphylactic type reactions) so I take regular shot of venom from an alergist. That has made a huge difference in my local swelling reaction as well.
"You never can tell with bees."  --  Winnie-the-Pooh

Offline Javin

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Re: Northern VA - Should I split my hive already?
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2012, 12:51:16 AM »
It took a few days for the swelling and itching to subside.  The actual sting itself didn't really hurt, though.  Anyone else tried this?  I assume the swelling/itching is an allergic reaction since it takes a day to get going.  I'm hoping if I keep it up, that part of it will go away.