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Author Topic: Splits and swarming... Effect in the colony.  (Read 167 times)

Offline Bob Wilson

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Splits and swarming... Effect in the colony.
« on: January 13, 2020, 11:00:34 pm »
There is always a lot of talk about splitting hives in spring. Doesnt that have the same effect as swarming. Doesn't it divide the hive and reasonably insure that the colony will be too small for good honey production.
Then I also found during researching that other beeks split their colonies in the fall after pulling honey. That would seem to give the two divisions time to recoup before spring?
I ask because I want another colony. I only have one, and I left them all their honey last year. But I would rather just trust in swarm catching this year, if it means a split with no honey again for 12 months.

Offline paus

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Re: Splits and swarming... Effect in the colony.
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2020, 12:11:26 am »
Maybe you can swarm trap. WARNINGTHIS IS ADDICTIVE.

Offline jvalentour

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Re: Splits and swarming... Effect in the colony.
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2020, 01:10:50 am »
Bob,
Go to M. Bush's site and read about splits.  Then go for it!  It's fun!
Something I do for splits that I have not seen mentioned is in the "home hive" where the queen has been removed, go to a 9 frame set up.  Widen up the spaces between the frames so the queen cells have plenty of room to grow.  I cannot tell you how many queen cells I have damaged with tight frames.  This is your spring split.  Then do it again around the summer solstice, but make the late split strong.
You will have multiple queen cells in the "home hive" to make several splits depending on the strength of the hive. 
I use the term home hive to describe the hive of the original queen.  There is no real beekeeper term I am aware of that describes.
Be sure you have the woodware and frames to support a split.
In my experience,, splits do not affect honey production if you are making one or two new hives per year.  There are others who will split a winter survivor hive that is strong in to many nucs.  Nothing wrong with that unless you want honey.
Be prepared to feed or share capped comb with the late split.
Enjoy your bees.

Offline cao

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Re: Splits and swarming... Effect in the colony.
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2020, 11:14:20 am »
You can split a hive in the spring and still get honey.  It depends on timing and how aggressive you are with the split.  I find that if you pull the queen and a just a couple of frames early in the spring when the flow is starting, it doesn't slow the hive down much concerning honey production.  If you go back into the original hive and make more splits with the queen cells produced is when you will suffer in the honey production.  One small nuc pulled from a strong hive early in the spring should not hurt your honey harvest.

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: Splits and swarming... Effect in the colony.
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2020, 05:55:44 pm »
I reckon CAO. I just sems counter intuitive.
Whether removing the queen and brood for a split, or the queen leaving with a swarm. Either one seems to diminish both new colonies, which means a smaller workforce when the flow arrives.
Of course, I am thinking about this from the perspective of my single, small, first year colony not even a year old.
Sooner or later the concept will "click" in my brain and I will understand it.
Thanks.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Splits and swarming... Effect in the colony.
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2020, 06:49:03 pm »
You can split a hive in the spring and still get honey.  It depends on timing and how aggressive you are with the split.  I find that if you pull the queen and a just a couple of frames early in the spring when the flow is starting, it doesn't slow the hive down much concerning honey production.  If you go back into the original hive and make more splits with the queen cells produced is when you will suffer in the honey production.  One small nuc pulled from a strong hive early in the spring should not hurt your honey harvest.

Bob, Cao is accurate. It does depend of timing along with a person's area. I suppose I must be in a good area as I caught a swarm last season and placed it in a 5 frame nuc box. I added two drawn out frames and staggered with three foundationless frames, in no time at all the empty frames were drawn out!  The queen was a laying machine! I added another five framer on top with the same set up and results. Next I transfered into a 10 frame etc. then soon added another 1o framer. checkerboarding. I was surprised at how strong this little spring swarm became in such a short time and the amount of honey that this once, little swarm produced, along with going into winter very strong.  I do like fall splits also but you have to really pamper them in my experience, and especially watch for the ever present threat of SHB.  An advantage of early splits is the SHB do not seem to be nearly as big a problem as later splits in my short experience.
Blessings, Phillip

Offline MikeyN.C.

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Re: Splits and swarming... Effect in the colony.
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2020, 07:16:43 pm »
Bob, if your bee's make it, and I really hope they do. Hope u have someone at home during the day when at work.
They will swarm I'll guarantee and it will happen when u least expect it. So as said put some swarm boxes around and hopefully you'll catch'em. If they don't hit swarm boxes, walk around and look in tree's , every afternoon. Trust me it happens. Even the best can't stop it or get to hive before it happens. Hoping for the best , for u. I'm going on 5 yrs. IMO the best is feral. What I have alive is feral swarms, everything I've bought has not made it.
And we are talking $$$$$.  Not sure exactly were u are in GA. But there are great beekeepers in GA. IMO it takes about 4-5 yrs. to really understand your situation. You can read till you're blue in the face, but seeing is the best teacher.

Offline cao

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Re: Splits and swarming... Effect in the colony.
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2020, 01:55:36 am »
Bob, if your bee's make it, and I really hope they do. Hope u have someone at home during the day when at work.
They will swarm I'll guarantee and it will happen when u least expect it. So as said put some swarm boxes around and hopefully you'll catch'em. If they don't hit swarm boxes, walk around and look in tree's , every afternoon. Trust me it happens. Even the best can't stop it or get to hive before it happens.

With about 40 hives in my backyard last year, the walking around looking in the trees was a daily routine for me.  Once you see drones flying the game is on.  I was able to be home much of the swarm season last spring.  I noticed that most of the swarms liked leaving the hive around 10:00 a.m.  If it rained for a few days or more, the next sunny day was almost guaranteed to have a swarm.

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: Splits and swarming... Effect in the colony.
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2020, 09:04:12 am »
Thanks everyone. I intend on giving the colony plenty of room in the hive to avoid swarming, and place out my 2 bait boxes for a second one.