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Author Topic: Early spring hive management  (Read 575 times)

Offline BurleyBee

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Early spring hive management
« on: November 22, 2020, 11:02:31 am »
I?m trying to come up with a solid plan for this spring.  This past spring was my 1st coming out of winter and I did well, but made a ton of mistakes.  That?s fine because I learned a ton from my failures, but I would like to have a better understanding of what it takes to get my hives prepared properly for honey production.

I currently have 4 double deeps and a single. 
I have frozen and stored 7 deeps worth of drawn honey/brood comb.

I would like a goal of 10 production hives with 5 resource nucs.  My main question is about splitting.  I know this is a broad question, but on a good early spring double deep, how many splits do y?all make off it without hampering honey production?  My best hive this year was an overwintered Nuc that I put in a deep, then dropped a deep of drawn comb on top.  It exploded.  So it just seems from that experience, that if you have resources, you can knock a big colony back with splits and still have a nice crop.







Offline TheHoneyPump

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Early spring hive management
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2020, 02:49:35 pm »
On a well managed double deep hive with young vigorous queen in perfect spring conditions, pollen and nectar/syrup flow, ... I have take up to four stuffed 4 frame nucs from it and the mother colony goes on to make 260 lb honey crop.
Generally speaking you can make 2 off of it.  Meaning one hive becomes three hives.  That should be your target for your 2nd year.  Timing is everything.

Hope that helps.
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Offline BurleyBee

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Re: Early spring hive management
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2020, 07:45:09 pm »
How many frames of bees/brood do you typically leave the mother colony with?

Offline minz

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Re: Early spring hive management
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2020, 10:50:16 pm »
you could hit the goals easy if you grafted up some queens and had a queen castle.
You would drop one partial frame of brood with each queen cell and let them build up to nucs.
You could also let the bees start making swarm cells. If they are on wax foundation, cut them out and put the queen cell into the queen castle.
You can make a queen castle from a deep pretty easy by putting in dividers.
The end result is you use a partial brood frame, drawn frame and cell. You have drawn foundation the next limiting factor is bees. Making the 2 frame divisions fixes that.
Your issues will stopping swarming and stealing their cells will help you with that. It will be taking their cells every 10 days.
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Early spring hive management
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2020, 08:01:30 am »
Burley,
I have had 0 success with queen castles. I have tried a 3 section (3 frames each), 4 mini nucs (4 1/2 frames in the 4 corners), even 5 frame nucs do not work well here.
What does work real well is using double screens.
Below is a copy of what I have posted in the past on how I make splits now. I have real high success rate.
As mentioned below, this is a slight variation of a split that LJ came up with.

 
Altmiller Splits.

One of the problems with making splits is that it stresses out the bees and when they are stressed, they put out stress pheromones. When this happens the Small Hive Beetles know it and are attracted to this hive. If there is a dearth, the other hives will rob it out.
Per LJ, if you keep the splits on the original queen right hive with a double screen above the bottom brood box , with the Queen in it, the boxes above are protected by the queen right hive.
You can put single screens between the brood boxes above the double screen. When you do this, you want to wait 30 days. One problem is that the queen right will probably swarm in 3 weeks or less.
With the Altmiller Split you move the queen to the bottom hive, add a drawn super (foundation or foundation less will bee good) then add a double screen (window screen) then a brood box with all stages of brood, (cut slots in old comb with eggs and day old larvae), then if you have another brood box, add a single screen with a front entrance, then add your next brood box and a top entrance.   Now all three hives smell like they are queen right. After 30 days inspect each box, if they have a mated queen, split the hives into their own boxes.
The double screen stops the retinue bees from being able to pass queen pheromones up through the hive. The bees above the double screen no longer think they have a queen and make emergency queen cells and raise them. The queens have mated and returned to their own hives. All of the entrances have been on the front. It probably would not hurt to turn the middle hive opening around to the back.
This works much better than walk away splits and mating nucs when there are a lot of hives around or nearby.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Brian MCquilkin

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Re: Early spring hive management
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2020, 02:09:07 pm »
BurleyBee: I think your goals are realistic. When I'm making splits I look for the weaker hives. Splitting them down gets rid of the weak, increases the strength of my colonies, and adds growth to the apiary. I dispatch the queens in the weaker colonies and give all the new splits a new queen. Splitting during a good flow sure helps. 
Despite my efforts the bees are doing great

Offline BurleyBee

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Re: Early spring hive management
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2020, 05:26:18 pm »
I made some castles out of deep boxes and used them over a double screen.  I wasn?t great at grafting but was able to get a few queens.  I appreciate all the info.  Still trying to get the hang of queen rearing.  May buy some mated queens to get me a jump.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Early spring hive management
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2020, 05:35:27 pm »
How many frames of bees/brood do you typically leave the mother colony with?

When done and walking away. In two deep boxes.  10 to 12 frames of loosely clustered bees with 3 to 5 frames of brood, mostly open larvae and eggs.
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Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Early spring hive management
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2020, 04:59:34 pm »

...move the queen to the bottom hive, add a drawn super (foundation or foundation less will bee good) then add a double screen (window screen) then a brood box with all stages of brood, (cut slots in old comb with eggs and day old larvae), then if you have another brood box, add a single screen with a front entrance, then add your next brood box and a top entrance.   Now all three hives smell like they are queen right. After 30 days inspect each box, if they have a mated queen, split the hives into their own boxes.
    Jim, this is really helpful.  But I want to turn it into a checklist so I get it right. I use mediums so that may or may not play into making sure the original hive has sufficient space over the next month. Please correct as needed to make sure I have it right. 
     I'm tired of being on the run from pre-swarm conditions, and making up nucs with swarm cells in a hurry, and ferrying away a nuc with Queenie to a far away place.

Bottom box(es)
1. From parent hive, pull two frames with eggs laid in light-colored comb that is not heavily cocooned, or else if it is dark comb, make little snips so a good Q cell can be drawn out.

2. Probably at the same time, it would be good to expand the brood nest size with drawn comb at the edges.
       Leave 40% drawn/empty frames in the parent hive, or if all 10 frames are packed, then add a drawn or foundationless super, so over the next 30 days the original bees feel there's room to grow.

3. On top, stack a double window screen that has a gap of 3/4" between screens (or a Snellgrove board). 

4. On top, stack a box from the SAME HIVE (?) or a mix of bees/brood of  various ages from 3 or more hives, so they don't fight. Put the eggs frames in this box with a good amount of stores.
      Entrance - faces different (?) direction. 
      Perhaps an Imirie Shim would be a good entrance, with a little brightly colored tack-on landing board to help a new Q back from a mating flight...

5. On top, stack a single window screen.  Any reason why we wouldn't just use another double screen? So all the equipment is the same?

6. Repeat Layer #4 above.  Face the entrance either to front or to side...?

7.  Now this layer cake is getting pretty high since my hive stand is a pleasant-for-working 26" bench.  And I wanted to add slatted rack this year.

8.  Let it cook 30 days and check for eggs in layers #4 and #6.

Did I get this right?

« Last Edit: November 25, 2020, 05:32:39 pm by FloridaGardener »

Offline BurleyBee

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Re: Early spring hive management
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2020, 07:30:28 am »


What y?all are describing I found in this video.  It flew over my head the first time I saw it but makes more sense.  Was planning on building some double screens before spring.  May just go at it this way.