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Author Topic: When is "too late" for making summer splits in New England?  (Read 4099 times)
Oblio13
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« on: July 06, 2013, 05:33:16 PM »

Here in central New Hampshire, I always figured a split needed sealed brood no later than mid-August in order to build up enough to overwinter. That makes right about now the cut-off if they're making their own queens.

I've got some nucs coming on strong, and in about two weeks I'd like to mine a couple frames from each of them to start more nucs. That would give them sealed brood by the end of August, and they'd have September and probably part of October to build up.

I'd like to try overwintering them on four deep frames on top of another hive.

Anyone have experience successfully making splits that late?

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BlueBee
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« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2013, 01:33:43 PM »

Used to live in Durham for a while.  Durham’s climate is similar to my bee keeping climate where I am in Michigan.  You just get a little more snow thanks to the ocean.  I do miss some of those big storms.

I have done walk away splits the first week of Aug and had laying queens the first week of September.  It takes the queen a while to mate and get laying.  The whole process takes about a month.  They will lay through September and up until about mid October as you say.  A two or three frame split made the first week of August will still only end up about 2 or 3 frames worth of bees come November (as summer bees die).  That makes them less winter hardy than 5 or 6 frames of bees.  

If you start your splits now, you can probably get to 5 or 6 frames of bees by mid October and those winter better.

I successfully wintered a number of 4 frame medium nucs last winter without putting them over any other hive or adding supplemental heat.  I used a well sealed foam bubble over them to do that.  In the future, I will probably use supplemental electric heat for anything under 6 medium frames and getting a late start going into winter.  Electric heat is a good insurance policy against a cold winter. Smiley    
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BlueBee
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« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2013, 01:44:55 PM »

Oh, by the way I just made about 10 splits this week and plan to make more in August  Wink
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gdog
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« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2013, 03:52:19 PM »

Bluebee

what kind of sealed bubble did you have? any pictures?
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BlueBee
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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2013, 01:39:51 PM »

Yeah, sure I have a picture or two somewhere.  May try to post when I get time. 

The basic concept was to try to trap as much of the bee’s heat as possible.  There was a guy from England (Derekm) on here that argued that a “heat bubble” design is a superior way to accomplish that.  A “heat bubble” design is something that traps the heat the bees generate and prevents it from escaping (as quickly).  My implementation was basically a solid foam shell over each small wood (OSB) 4 frame medium nuc with only a small bottom entrance.  Heat rises and the foam shell traps the heat inside; keeping the bees warmer on cold nights.  Under each nuc was also foam, so the entire nuc was surrounded in a 1.5” foam shell.  The foam was glued together so there was little, to no, air infiltration heat losses in the system.

That was in contrast to how most people tend to winter their bees.  Most people have a top vent, or top entrance.  Derekm argued that a top vent/entrance created a chimney effect and much of the bees heat (just a few watts in total) escaped and didn’t help in moderating the temps inside the hive.

My conclusion from running the heat bubble experiment on about 12 nucs last winter was that they DO trap more of the bees heat and if the bees to volume ratio is good, they are successful.

However there is a one very big downside to the heat bubble design (at least as I implemented it), it has terrible moisture/condensation problems.  If the bees to volume ratio drops too much before spring (winter bees die out over time), you are liable to end up with a wet moldy mess.

I will not be using the “heat bubble” design anymore because of the condensation problems.  I will be using a small top vent to expel moisture.  If I end up with small nucs going into winter again, I will be using a top vent and giving them some supplemental electric heat on the really cold nights.   

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derekm
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« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2013, 09:40:38 PM »

Not enough foam you need 3 to 5 inches of foam... You need more insulation than you think to allow for differences in surface area
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2013, 04:22:26 PM »

Michael Plamer keeps making up his nucs earlier rather than later.  I'd say the end of July is about as late as I'd go and mid June would be preferable.  If you provide laying queens, maybe mid August if you get lucky and have a late first freeze...
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
jayj200
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2014, 08:43:16 AM »

Just what I been sayin
there is your evedance
the heat bubble works just needs ventilation (small hole 1/8 or 1/4 inches)
yes modify my thinken as i go
is my spellin OK?
what do you think?
jay
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