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newportbuzz 

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hi i have currently got 3 hives which i hope to bring through the winter and i plan next year to increase my number of hives to 6 for next year
i was hoping to do this by spliting my 3 hives into six and requeening all 6 hives with mated queens
my question is what size of brood/bees do i need to get to before i can safely split them??
i am using pure apis melifera melifera and running single national brood boxes. I am also located on the sea, the hives are well protected from wind but the humidity is always high.
any advise is apreciated
 

oliver90owner 

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I think I might split one hive into four and keep the other two for a honey crop.

Using your own queen cells you could start this early in the year and with balancing the hives later in the year (moving frames as necessary) you could reach your goal quite easily without buying in queens.

If you want to buy in, as it seems, that is up to you. I would still not split all three colonies, keeping at least one as a strong nectar foraging unit. Early splits should be fine. Nucleus hive size is perfectly adequate, and less is possible. The availability of queens is likely a limiting factor.

Laying queens should mean little trouble as 6 young queens should soon forge ahead. I would still be planning on keeping back a queen or two as insurance if any new queens fail and that might mean some 'lean' splits into nucs, at least on a temporary basis.

An alternative might be a couple of early splits and a couple later on as you may find you need a lot of bees to do everything at once. 3 colonies is not a lot to play with if not that experienced, which sounds the case - or you would not be asking on the forum.

Another alternative (probably my favoured) would be to split with 3 new queens early and then replace the 3 old queens later in the season.

There being 'many a slip twixt cup and lip', and all that I would draw up a flexible plan with several options, see how things pan out over the winter and take things from there.

Regards, RAB
 

newportbuzz 

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thanks for ur reply rab
the reason i want to buy mated queens is to introduce the stock to my hives i have seen these queens at work and they are lovely and pure breed so they should pass on charteristics fairly fairthfully. that is why i am buying 6 of them rather than one and then rear my own from her.(still got my old drones flying around)
i am fairl isolated with regards neighbouring beekeepers so i was hoping to keep the line fairly clean for at least 10 years ie (5 requeens reared myself)
geting a honey crop next year is not of particular importance but i would like to not have to be feeding constantly so i would want the splits to be fairly selfsuficiant
you said nuclus size should be ok is that 3 frame and above??
with regards keeping the old queens i will be keeping 2 of the 3 the last really not worth bothering with.. hoping to run one queen on a 10 frame apidea box and build her up from there for experience with nothing to lose and the other made into a small nuc to unite later on or build up by adding brood from main hives and then requeen her aswell.
 

Finman 

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What I do to make new nucs is:

I make 3 frame mating nucs in June or July when the main hives are big.

When the queen start to lay, I add frame of emerging bees. The queen lays those 3 frames full in summer. I move the the colony to the bigger box and add again a frame of emerging brood. Then I have a box full of bees and full of brood.

I need not split any hive and put danger its honey yield.

Splitting hives in spring makes only troubles to the build up. Hives are sensitive to cold in early summer.

I recommend that you bye new queens. Make no sence to rear queens from 3 own lowsy hives. It will never succeed if you want to taste what means to nurse a good hive.

.
 

Finman 

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Using your own queen cells you could start this early in the year and with balancing the hives later in the year (moving frames as necessary) you could reach your goal quite easily without buying in queens.
That makes no sence.

In spring the heat is a limiting factor to colony build up and when you split the colony into four, its build up will be stopped.

When the colony has 4 boxes, it does not suffer if you start a nuc.

Your own queen cells - makes no sence either. It takes a month that the queen cell start to lay. And where from you get queen cells? - making the colony queenles or waiting swarms?

It seems that newportbuzz wants productive bee yard and it will not succeed that way.
 

oliver90owner 

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Yes, Finman, but without all the information, it is a little difficult to be so prescriptive.

It may appear that the strain is a more important factor in this plan - and I was not aware that even one of his queens was lousy!

And where from you get queen cells?

Sorry, thought I had sort of covered that in para. 5

There are a lot of options, some quicker, some more expensive. Without any specific requirements given, apart from increasing to 6 from 3, which could be a non-starter (could be 6 from 2), I really saw no particular gain in any particular plan at this stage.

Regards, RAB
 

Finman 

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I understood nothing :(

Get honey or save money ?

I got my first real honey yield when I byed a professional queen.
The queen price is something equal 4 kg honey. Is it much?


When you rear couple of queens, you loose that hive's yield. That is life of a poor.
.
 
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newportbuzz 

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the aim is to get my total hives from 3 to 6 and introduce dark galtee queens from micheal mac giollacoda

with regards what i have i have one lovely queen no running docile no following full brood frames good build up from shes a pleasure to work on age 1.5 years
i also have her daughter slightly more defensive but otherwise good.age "july 10 2010"
and i have a nuc that the queen has stoped layng in at 5 frames. which i am strugling with (addin brood adding flying bees from strong hive requeen feeding etc)

the question is basicly how many frames should i have the bees occupy before i make a spring/early summer split that will not endanger the bees(honey crop not important)(also willing to feed) then i can figure out when i need to order my queens for
with regards my experience i have not got much (3 months now) but im gettin it fast.
 
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I think you will be able split them as early as you can get the queens which could be May or June.

I thought MMG had stopped producing queens commercially? Many will be very envious of you as his bees have a tremendous reputation. He came to speak at the BBKA Spring Convention a few years back and the hall was full an hour before he was due to speak and people were being turned away. I felt a bit out of place as I had arrived early and bagged a seat so I could eat my sandwiches and I was really only there for the talk to find out how his name was pronounced.
 
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T

Tom Bick 

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Providing you come through the winter in good shape you can always weight and the bees will tel you when to split as they will get to the point of wanting to swarm and you can AS them.
 

newportbuzz 

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ive never had the pleasure of hearing him speak but as far as i know he is still supliying tin the republic anyway
i have his email (pm me)if you would like it to mail him and see what you can do he is sayin early july as he has booked out till then. but i think its going to be well worth getting them
not to expensive either 25euro each +5euro for swift post and a 12.5% discount if paid up bibba member
 

oliver90owner 

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he is sayin early july as he has booked out till then. but i think its going to be well worth getting them

Pardon me here, if I am not understanding this, but are you saying the queens would not be available until July, or are we talking about him and his 'talks' here?

If it is queens availability. End of discussion. Timing is fixed n'est pas?

RAB
 

newportbuzz 

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the queens will be available mid early july but i can still split and raise my own queens for the splits
but i cant make confident splits unless i know what size of colony will be able to look after itself. i think it would be anything over 3 frames in each split 6 or more in original colony but i could be wrong and if i am then i risk loosing my stocks of having to reunite later on and fail with my plan to double my stocks next year

so i still would like to have a considered opinion of a minimun size i should have before i split
i feel confident that i can raise my own 3 queens to head the extra colonys till my ordered queens arrive
 

Black Comb 

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I've introduced 3 mated queens this season all to 2 frames of brood with clinging nurse bees + a shake of extra nurse bees each time. They've all worked, the last being on 27th July.

Of course I've yet to get them through the winter but I have a cunning plan which involves either uniting or polynucs.
 
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Three and even two frame nucs are viable but they won't grow very quickly. They tend to be used for queen mating only but if done early enough in the year it should be OK - you just need say a frame of stores, and a couple or so frames of brood. Even if they don't expand much you can always take them through the winter as nucs. And if you raise a few queens of your own I wouldn't throw them away in case you have losses with the purchased queens. Even if all you do is introduce them to mini-nucs to hold them over for a while.
 

Finman 

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Guys are often so earger to split the hive too early that they spoil their good wintered hive.

No help, what ever I explain.


In some point the hive has one box bees and a month later 4 box.

If you split the hive at wrong time , you stop its progress and nuc is not beter.


Splitting is usefull to situte before swarming period. When you take bees off, it prevents main hive swarming - unless it is not swarming mad.

I have seen with electrict heating what magic power has heat and size of the colony.

5 frame colony may have 2 frames brood (sum) and two box hive may have 12-15 brood frames.

You can imagine what happens when those brood emerge.

If you destroy the heat economy of the colony with early splitting, you win nothing.





.
 
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Skyhook 

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Ted Hooper talks about building them up to fill a double brood box. Then you can either split to 2 strong colonies or several strong nucs.
 

Finman 

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Ted Hooper talks about building them up to fill a double brood box. Then you can either split to 2 strong colonies or several strong nucs.
That is possible. It takes 6 weeks before that colony is able to gather honey. In my country summer is over then. That strategy does not work here.

I may get 100 kg honey from 2-box hive but when splitting, I get perhaps 30 kg.

At the end of July (after yeild) the same hive could have 6 boxes and I may split it even to 3 big hives and I allredy have those 100 kg honey.
 

newportbuzz 

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and is that true for the less prolific AMM a double brood box seems a bit excessive sepecialy with the weather and location that i have. seafront ireland west coast
 
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