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Author Topic: increasing amount of hives (lost 6 had a question)  (Read 2769 times)
House Bee
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Gender: Male
Posts: 341

Location: sewell n.j.

« on: March 09, 2013, 10:38:05 AM »

i live on a family farm and decided to keep bees. i started with 2 hives 4/2011 and came across a guy that was retiring and he sold me 10 hives for a reasonable price. all those hives made it through the winter of 2011-2012.
spring or 2012 i bought 16 packages and caught 2 swarms.
fall of 2012 i had 30 hives.
march of 2013 i am down to 24 hives (so far march ain't over yet!)

i have the options of getting more packages to replace the 6 i lost so far or start making bees with the ones i have.
MY GUT FEELING IS to make more bees with the 24 hives i have and i feel more at ease to do that!
i was even thinking about not harvesting any honey this season and splitting what i have.

what would you do?

i like to get to the point to where the farm is self supporting with my hives and they dint have to rent hives no more..
Vance G
Queen Bee
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Posts: 1155

Location: Great Falls,Montana

« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2013, 12:29:33 PM »

I don't know your country or honeyflows, but if I don't split my bees in the spring, they do it themselves and go live in tree or old building wall.  Since I am going to have to split, I plan to produce some bees for sale and am feeding pollen patties and sugar to stimulate colony expansion and have queens ordered to support those plans.   If I were you, I would talk to local beekeepers and find out the best time to do that split and still get a crop.  I really find Mel Disselkoen's discussions on splitting helpful.  His material is at  Good luck.
Field Bee
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Posts: 520

Location: Marysville, CA

« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2013, 01:58:54 PM »

What would I do you say?
It sounds like you want a total of 30 hives, you'd like some honey, but increase in hive numbers is more important of a goal. Here's what I'd do...

Keep all hives strong for honey flow. At the beginning of a main flow in your area, raise queen cells from your best 1 or 2 hives, and use them to make splits from your worst performing hives. Replace the queens in your worst performers at that time also, with one of your home raised queen cells. This way you will get honey for your table or for the Farmer's Market, and you get hive numbers built up again for over winter. You choose the numbers, you can work up to way more than just 30 hives total with what you have now to work with. Pretty exciting huh? Best of luck!

Sitting in the shade, drinking lemon aid.
Enjoying the breeze while counting the bees.
Queen Bee
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Gender: Male
Posts: 1095

Location: Pinopolis, SC

That's my pooch.

« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2013, 04:48:41 PM »

If I were you, I would talk to local beekeepers and find out the best time to do that split and still get a crop.  I really find Mel Disselkoen's discussions on splitting helpful.  His material is at
+1 on what Vance said. I'm going to put Mel's methods into practice this year. I understand that before you can split a hive overnight temps have to consistently be above 50degF or the queen cells might not make it. Initially I plan to do simple walkaway splits and then using Mel's OTS queen rearing method raise as many queens as I can for fall splits and queen replacements. I want to make as many colonies as I can in August. That should give them time to brood up for winter and take advantage of the Goldenrod flow.
Good luck to you

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