How late would you do splits?

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Beebe 

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As above; given an average healthy colony, how late in the season would it be a reasonably succesful project to remove the queen and raise nucs from the emergency cells? Let's base this on a beekeeper about halfway up the UK. I know there are better ways to increase and that there are options for obtaining commercially raised queens; but sticking with my parameters, I'm guessing that about now would be good?
 

mbc 

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As above; given an average healthy colony, how late in the season would it be a reasonably succesful project to remove the queen and raise nucs from the emergency cells? Let's base this on a beekeeper about halfway up the UK. I know there are better ways to increase and that there are options for obtaining commercially raised queens; but sticking with my parameters, I'm guessing that about now would be good?
I wouldn't want to raise nucs from emergency cells after February myself.
 

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As above; given an average healthy colony, how late in the season would it be a reasonably succesful project to remove the queen and raise nucs from the emergency cells? Let's base this on a beekeeper about halfway up the UK. I know there are better ways to increase and that there are options for obtaining commercially raised queens; but sticking with my parameters, I'm guessing that about now would be good?
Demaree?
 

BugsInABox 

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I wouldn't want to raise nucs from emergency cells after February myself.
Early to really know - but brood wise I seem to have a cracking (though ugly) queen from my recent walk away.
 

Beebe 

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Maybe.
My recent split is what got me thinking. I appear to have got two excellent, mated queens out of it. It was timed very well with the onset of the good weather.

We have an excellent local supplier of bees and equipment up here and they sell locally raised queens, claiming no specific line or breed for them. They are selected to be "hardy, good tempered and prolific with a low swarming tendency". Given the remote and high elevation of the apiary and the fact that it's only twenty miles from me, I think I'll make up a few nucs for next year and get into raising queens of my own next spring.
 

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Maybe.
My recent split is what got me thinking. I appear to have got two excellent, mated queens out of it. It was timed very well with the onset of the good weather.

We have an excellent local supplier of bees and equipment up here and they sell locally raised queens, claiming no specific line or breed for them. They are selected to be "hardy, good tempered and prolific with a low swarming tendency". Given the remote and high elevation of the apiary and the fact that it's only twenty miles from me, I think I'll make up a few nucs for next year and get into raising queens of my own next spring.
Can you please let me have their contact details (PM me if you like). If Its who I think, I have never yet had a response to any of my emails, neither before covid or recently; so I have assumed they were no longer in business.
 

ericbeaumont 

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how late in the season would it be a reasonably succesful project to remove the queen and raise nucs
Nucs must be strong when wasps appear in late summer, so working backwards from August suggests now is the latest safe date to split.

Mating weather will also impact on success; as you say, better option is to buy in queens and make nucs at the end of the main flow (assuming you want to make honey).
 

RichardK 

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I was trawling videos on this topic recently and my take from what I saw was you want to have 2 good months of laying in order to go into winter strong enough. Obviously location & weather affects this. One video was more specific ... 1st July. After that buy a mated queen.
 

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Can you please let me have their contact details (PM me if you like). If Its who I think, I have never yet had a response to any of my emails, neither before covid or recently; so I have assumed they were no longer in business.
No problem; it's Neil and Evelyn Spence at Highland Bee Supplies. I agree that they are a PITA to contact. And if they had responded properly back in 2019, maybe I wouldn't have landed with a duff nuc of Buckfast from Kent, which rather delayed and spoiled my start in beekeeping.

I think that they really know their stuff and run a pleasingly rustic business and give good service. Maybe recently they have upped their game with answering calls and returning email enquiries. They are definitely still in business. I picked up a queen last week with one day's notice. She's lively and survived the several days in the cage and was adored by my own bees when I released her.

I'm giving the website link. I suggest bombarding them by their online form, email and phone. I ended up with Evelyn replying to all my separate enquiries....they must have thought they hit the jackpot with so many requests in a short time. I have read elsewhere that they can be hard to contact. Time will tell with the queen, but I suspect I am onto a winner with their selected local bees.

Link here:
 

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Nucs must be strong when wasps appear in late summer, so working backwards from August suggests now is the latest safe date to split.

Mating weather will also impact on success; as you say, better option is to buy in queens and make nucs at the end of the main flow (assuming you want to make honey).
That's the way I think I'll be going. Thank-you
 

oliver90owner 

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Beekeeping is easy - until the beekeeper interferes with the normal running of the hive. Expecting emergency cells to stand in for proper beekeeping practices is plainly, shall we say, less than optimum (more politically correct than saying ‘plain stupid’?).

A proper beekeeper would arrange for good queen cell production from a suitable colony (strong, healthy and with suitable traits). These could be transferred to splits late in the year (late August/early September?) as long as the beekeeper were to take adequate precautions, against wasp attack in particular. Nucs are easy enough to take through the winter.

The obvious way is to rear queens early and have them available for re-queening or colony increase as and when appropriate. Waiting until the last moment is a ridiculous plan, thought up by an inexperienced keeper of bees. Increasing by emergency cells from splits also demonstrates inexperience, too.

Better to improve your beekeeping than trust to dodgy practices, methinks.

Forget about it. It’s not sensible beekeeping. Learn how to do it properly.
 

Beebe 

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Beekeeping is easy - until the beekeeper interferes with the normal running of the hive. Expecting emergency cells to stand in for proper beekeeping practices is plainly, shall we say, less than optimum (more politically correct than saying ‘plain stupid’?).

A proper beekeeper would arrange for good queen cell production from a suitable colony (strong, healthy and with suitable traits). These could be transferred to splits late in the year (late August/early September?) as long as the beekeeper were to take adequate precautions, against wasp attack in particular. Nucs are easy enough to take through the winter.

The obvious way is to rear queens early and have them available for re-queening or colony increase as and when appropriate. Waiting until the last moment is a ridiculous plan, thought up by an inexperienced keeper of bees. Increasing by emergency cells from splits also demonstrates inexperience, too.

Better to improve your beekeeping than trust to dodgy practices, methinks.

Forget about it. It’s not sensible beekeeping. Learn how to do it properly.
Thank-you for telling me what I already know and which I referenced in my opening comment.

Pointing out that I am an "inexperienced keeper of bees", (I'm actually a beekeeper, just like you), is superfluous when this posting is in the "Beginners Section".

I'm a relatively new beekeeper with few colonies and missed the boat both to learn the skills of queen rearing and to put them into practise for this season. Maybe it's a part of beekeeping I will choose to leave to clever people such as you?

You clearly know everything about beekeeping and unlike people such as me, you "think" before you do things. Being "plain stupid", I am also someone who is prepared to take risks and to experiment. This forum is usually very helpful in giving me information which reduces the risk factor in any dabblings I may do. You obviously don't have any of those awful emergency queens raised from splits, but my two mongrels from this season are functioning well and helping in their creation has given me a lot of satisfaction and pleasure.

Beekeeping is such a wonderful and positive pastime for me and I have had interactions with some lovely fellow beekeepers; it's such a shame that as in all aspects of life, there also have to be a few pompous, superior and negative individuals. I am aware from previous postings that you are revered for your knowledge and experience by some people in this community and consequently your supercilious and derogatory attitude is excused. However, there are many other, very experienced beekeepers who are also prepared to share their knowledge and can do so without needing to diminish the efforts and aspirations of others; they are the ones I will listen to. :)
 
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Murox 

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No problem; it's Neil and Evelyn Spence at Highland Bee Supplies. I agree that they are a PITA to contact. And if they had responded properly back in 2019, maybe I wouldn't have landed with a duff nuc of Buckfast from Kent, which rather delayed and spoiled my start in beekeeping.

I think that they really know their stuff and run a pleasingly rustic business and give good service. Maybe recently they have upped their game with answering calls and returning email enquiries. They are definitely still in business. I picked up a queen last week with one day's notice. She's lively and survived the several days in the cage and was adored by my own bees when I released her.

I'm giving the website link. I suggest bombarding them by their online form, email and phone. I ended up with Evelyn replying to all my separate enquiries....they must have thought they hit the jackpot with so many requests in a short time. I have read elsewhere that they can be hard to contact. Time will tell with the queen, but I suspect I am onto a winner with their selected local bees.

Link here:
Yup! thats them. Thanks.
 

oliver90owner 

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Beebe. Simply operate within the normal bands of beekeeping and you will likely avoid most of the new-beekeeper’s problems. Operate on the fringes or outside those ‘norms’ and you are likely to be on here with troubles, mostly caused by yourself.

Do let me know how many bee farmers you know that do walk-away splits? I never got to 40 colonies before I had to reduce numbers, but I learned very early on that increasing from good queens, with desired characteristics, was the way to go. Even so, I always raised rather more queens than actually used - some were always discarded for one reason or another - if only to select the best of the bunch.

That allowed colonies to be united later in the season and go through the winter with no input from me - they were left in peace until Febrauary after making sure adequate provisions were available within the hive.

Varroa treatments were carried out only when deemed necessary (and late summer/early autumn) to ensure the winter bees were not raised from varroa infested pupae.

I operated with production colonies which were reinforced, as necessary, to get my honey crop and colonies at the home apiary to provide those reinforcements - while keeping them busy and useful without fear of them becoming over-crowded and producing queen cells until I wanted (aimed for late May).

That is when I made my splits - queens are likely to get mated better in early June, new colonies are quick to expand, plenty of time to assess the raised queens before reducing the colonies later in the season. Colonies that were sufficiently strong to repel wasp attacks, with low varroa loads were easy - as the selected splits were likely all ready for treatment at much the same time. I sublimated oxalic when they were without capped brood to keep things simple and effective. I only ever trickled oxalic acid one - or at most two winters, before realising that opening hives in the middle of winter was folly.

Now, if you want to make walk-away splits in March or late in the season, go ahead - but expect trouble because you are just looking for it. There are better, easier and more effective ways to keep bees.
 

Beebe 

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Now, if you want to make walk-away splits in March or late in the season, go ahead - but expect trouble because you are just looking for it.
Thank-you, but I'm not enquiing about early splits; I wouldn't recommend them. As you said, I timed mine to have queens mating in early June and it worked like a dream.
 

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Any weak colony in August here is not going to survive through September.
The wasps WILL wipe them out.

So splits in July are doomed unless from very strong. colonies. and supplied with mated queens
 

Beebe 

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Any weak colony in August here is not going to survive through September.
The wasps WILL wipe them out.

So splits in July are doomed unless from very strong. colonies. and supplied with mated queens
A straight answer.....Ta.... (y)
 

Nige.Coll 

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I'm smack in the middle of England.
My last queens were raised and queen cells put into nucs 2nd week in August last year. The nucs were strong though.
All that were mated ( about 10 out of 12 ) survived winter and had to be put into full hives in March, one turned into a DLQ in May.

Sometimes I receive mated queens in late August early September. Being mated they can be introduced into a nuc of nurse bees and overwinter easily.
 

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