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Author Topic: Planning for expansion  (Read 426 times)
dfizer
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Location: Ballston Spa, New York


« on: February 20, 2013, 09:58:14 AM »

Hello -

Once again I find myself in need of advice.  It looks as if my three hives are going to make it through the winter (keeping fingers crossed).  With that being said, I am planning on the coming year and would like to grow my apiary... organically.  By that I mean I'd like to have more hives at the end of this year than I have now.  I do not want to purchase any bees - I'd like to perform splits and allow my bees to grow and divide as they would do in nature. 

I'd like know what to do to enable this to happen.  How do I encourage the hives to produce queen cells or do I even want to do this at all.... as you can tell I have 0 experience in this and don't want to foul it up.  I'd like to know what steps I should take since this is the first year that my hives will make it through the winter.  Please let me know what steps I should take to prepare for this outcome (process) and what to look for as I enter into this spring. 

Last year I kind of performed a split - kind of inadvertently... I had a hive that had a queen cell starting so I took that frame and a few of frames with brood and several hundred bees put all of this in a nuc box left over from the spring when I purchased nucs, and put all of this together and moved it over to my girlfriends house... then hoped for the best.  After the first few weeks (about 6) this nuc was really cranking and it seemed that the nuc was ready to put into the deep.  I transplanted this nuc into the deep and allowed it to grow through the winter and into the fall... by this time the year was winding down so I took a super loaded with honey from another hive and put that super on top of the deep to help it get through the winter - low and behold this hive looks good as of now and I am very hopeful it makes it another month! 

In summary - please advise me on what steps to take that will encourage growth of the hives to the point where I can split them thus growing the apiary. 

Best regards -

David
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gov1623
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2013, 11:11:27 AM »

Last year I split my hives in early spring. I took two frames of brood and one frame of honey for each nuc.    I let the nucs make there own Queen and had 90% success. Nine out of ten took off once the mane flow hit. I like to split before the main flow so i dont have to feed them.  I wintered them all in double our triple nucs. As you probably know there are tons of ways to make splits and expand your apiary, this is just the way i did it. I took 5 hives and made 15 and all made it through winter. But then again i do live in Louisiana not NY and we don't have much of a winter.

Oh and don't forget about swarm traps. I think i put out a few to many last year as it was a good year for catching swarms. I think i still have a couple out with bees in them.
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Who Dat!!!
10framer
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Location: Butler,GA


« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2013, 12:00:13 PM »

you could do what gov just suggested or you could crowd the bees going into spring so that they get the urge to swarm.  do a two or three way split once you see multiple swarm cells.  take the original queen and put her in one of the splits and make sure the original colony and the other split have swarm cells in them. 
the only real difference in that and doing it gov's way is that you shorten the gap where the brood cycle is disrupted.  i'm planning on rapid expansion over the next two to three years and will be doing early splits then start nucs after the main flow is over this year.
good luck!
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Joe D
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2013, 10:14:07 PM »

I bought 3 established hive in fall of 2011.  Last spring in a 7 day period I caught 6 swarms from those hives.  To rapid a growth for the equipment, ran out of boxes before hiving them all.  I know a little more now than then.  Good luck




Joe
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10framer
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2013, 11:41:34 PM »

joe, the learning curve can be kind of steep.  i've been putting equipment together for the last three weeks every chance i get (and i need to be bush hogging and plowing). 
i dropped out for a few years between 06 and last year and missed a few easy swarm opportunities because i didn't have anything ready during those times.  between 2005 and 2011 i think i only got maybe two swarm/removal calls and around 99-2002 i was getting 10-12 swarm calls between march 15 and may 1st along with 4 or 5 removals a year minimum. 
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Joe D
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Location: Ovett, Ms


« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 12:03:04 AM »

Yeap there last year a fellow from less than a mile down the road saw me out in my bee suit and stopped.  He asked if I would be interested in some bees.  They move up here after Katrina, the house they moved into had bees in the living room wall.  I went down and looked at it, told him I would try in a few day.  That's when mine started swarming, his are still in the wall.  Not real sure if I want to or not, get them.
Need to do some plowing and bush hogging also.  Need some diesel too.



Joe


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