Planning for next year

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boatspeed 

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Please help me plan my strategy for next season...

I currently have a single colony, raised from a nuc over the Summer. I made a couple of mistakes along the way, but it's now in fairly good shape; in mid-Oct there were probably around 5-6 BS standard frames of brood, another 4-5 of stores plus a super full of stores. Very low level of varroa, no acarine or nosema. Queen is a locally-mated Carniolan (ie the next generation of queens will be mongrels).

Ideally, next year, I want to end up with 3 colonies: the original one (from which I'd also like to get some honey, to placate my other half), a nuc to give to my Dad, and a nuc for myself which will eventually become a full-sized colony for 2012.

Is this a realistic objective, and if so what is the best plan to achieve this? I don't mind building extra boxes/gadgets, and will have a couple of Snelgrove boards knocking around. I will consider requeening if appropriate.

I recognise that rigid plans can be hard to stick to, but better to start off with a plan even if it ends up changing.

Thanks in advance...
 

admin 

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3 colonies from one is no problem.
Getting a honey crop will be the problem.
 
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:iagree:

I am going to try to get some more Newzealand queens

Gentle, industrious and pretty blond bees

only one small problem is they all hum very loudly................

I think they have forgotten the words!!!

Splitting a colony in three..... how, must try it!!!!
 

Stiffy 

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I am sure other beeks have had better luck with Carnies than me.

Carnolian queen, be prepared for many colonies as they will want swarm as often as possible ......my experience anyway. Carnies I 'used' to have would build up to 3-4 frames and then produce queen cells no matter what I tried.
Nice gentle bees to work though
Cheers
S
 

Heather 

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Splitting one colony to three-
Must really be done no later than May and if you have queen cells...- take a frame with one high quality queen cell on and 1/3 of frames of bees with 1/3 of brood to new hive. Repeat to 3rd hive- ensuring laying queen stays in original hive . If she is laying well and seems good remove any extra queen cells there may be in the original colony.

But you will have 3 hives that will take a year to build to strength, so no honey next year.

Or get 2 hives ready - and collect 2 swarms!!
 

milkermel 

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I did exactly the same thing this year started with 1 colony and last week in may had 3 - NOT intentionally!!! must have missed a QC went on holiday had a swarm came home lots more QC so ended up with 2 captured swarms! Only 15 jars of honey this year and that was partly from another Hive i look after.

IMO dont expect honey if you are going to split 3 ways. My girls built up again nicely but think it was hard work for them, their temperment wasnt has laid back and I had to be quite careful come the end of the season.

On an aside I was suprised how much bigger my colony got from jan to May, I had been really confident that I could handle the girls after all it had all gone well up to the end of the season, but really when the colony kicked into action at the start of the season the amount of bees were amazing. Just to give you the heads up from one new beek to another!!
 

oliver90owner 

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As always, it depends. As a new beek, things I have suggested below may not be as simple for you. It is a realistic objective, but likely far easier for me than you! A bad season, or other setbacks, can certainly make things difficult or even unattainable.

If you can get an early start, encourage brooding (with water, sugar, pollen (or sustitute)), get them onto two broods as early as conditions allow, you may well be able to split three ways and get a honey crop (of sorts).

best plan to achieve this?

OK here goes. Feed thin syrup as soon as the bees are flying regularly. Ensure a supply of protein is available. Increase to two brood boxes as early as possible (put the new box below the existing brood so they expand downwards (no lost energy heating an empty box above), only swapping positions in the warmer weather and when a good flow is available, or that top box is full and they are well into the second. Care is needed if the boxes are exchanged without the combs being fully drawn and occupied by brood.

Split the brood boxes, with a/the super in between, either when drone brood is well advanced in the hive and/or when the colony is big enough to split and there are plenty of developing drone brood in the area. Leave the queen downstairs and leave some young brood/eggs in the top box.

That should precipitate queen cell development in the top box. If none initially, another frame of eggs/young brood can be exchanged a week later (queens should only be developed from eggs, or larvae under three days old) and increase the separation if needed! Pick your two, or four, best cells and make your two 'increase' splits with plenty of bees (flyers will return to the main hive). Give them each a frame with a queen cell (at least) a frame of honey stores and one containing pollen stores among the typical 5 frame nucleus hive. Feed after the next day (after the flying bees have returned to the main colony - to prevent robbing)

With this method you are looking to get supercedure cells rather than emergency queen cells so any capped after about 4 days should be destroyed, as they may have been developed from older-than-ideal larvae.

Then if all goes well, you will get your increase early, the splits will develop into full colonies by the end of the season and you may get a honey crop from the main hive.

Alternatively, buy in a couple of queens and do it that way. More expensive (take potential honey crop into account here, so perhaps not a lot in it!), but relatively instant expansion of the splits (no waiting for queens emerging, maturing and mating).

The nucs can be assisted with expansion by addition of frames with hatching brood (depending on the honey crop wanted). Lots of options.

BTW, don't forget to reduce the varroa at every opportunity. Splits with no capped brood can offer a window for effective mite reduction. It will all help with colony expansion.

I've probably left out a few details but that is how I might go about it, if I only had one colony to start from. No guarantee of the queen quality (pot luck), but if nasty in nature one can always requeen later.

Regards, RAB
 
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peterbees 

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I would set up a second brood box with frames of foundation above your original brood box and super in April. No need for a queen excluder. Feed the bees to encourage them to draw out the foundation. The queen will lay in the second brood box, plus the original brood box and super. In May, when they are making queen cells you can split the two boxes to make two colonies. Take one colony three miles away until new queen has mated.
Early June, you could make 5-frame nucs from both colonies. Be prepared to feed all the colonies at this time.
It can be done!
 

oliver90owner 

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peterbees,

I would set up a second brood box with frames of foundation above your original brood box


I might consider a box on top using already-drawn frames, but with only foundation, I would certainly be putting it below initially. For one thing it can go on before the other box is comletely occupied, both for no need of heating the space and not risking the bees going into swarm mode (if put on too late).

Regards, RAB
 

Dishmop 

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Using the method of letting the bees create their own queen, must the queen be left in the original hive,or can they be left to create their new queen in either hive? Am thinking of if a queen cannot be found......i.e. she insists on hiding...
 
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Double up the brood boxes
Feed Feed Feed
split off some frames of brood/food and the queen into a 5 frame Nuc
Box off other brood boxes into hives and take at least 3 miles away, by which time the bees will be happless & queenless
put new NewZealand queen into each hive
FEED all of them
enjoy......................
 

rolande 

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Hi,

Assuming sufficient strength I'd split the colony into two in May/early June and then make a nuc to over winter by taking combs (and introducing a new, mated queen) from both colonies if they're strong enough at the end of July.

Best,
Roland
 

Poly Hive 

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If you are following Olivers method, and so going to make up nucs with queencells then you need to have at least one preferably two supers between your brood boxes and TWO queen excluders.

Make up is so: Floor, brood box (preferably with queen) excluder, supers, excluder, brood box.

Leave for four days. Then look in the top box. Got eggs? Guess where your queen is?

Put top box to one side, dismantle, check bottom box for begun queencells, and knock them out, put the box that was on top with now has eggs and so the queen on the bottom and rebuild except the two brood boxes have now swapped places. In another four or five days you should have some bonny queen cells on the way in the TOP box.

Check my thread: http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7767

PH
 

Black Comb 

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Or you could use a snelgrove board or horsley board once you had built them up to double brood then separate top and bottom colonies later in the year.
 

Chris B 

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Nothing wrong with suggestions already made, but if you want honey too, and rape is acceptable, you can wait to make any splits until you have a super or 2 "in the bank". There would still be plenty of time to build 3 splits up to a good strength for wintering.
 

Hombre 

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All good advice.

Stiffy,
I was using 14x12 and my Carni's consistently decided to swarm at 6+/7 frames of brood.

Next year I will be double brooding some of them to see how long I can delay their decision to prepare to depart while still building up strength.
 

MuswellMetro 

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I am sure other beeks have had better luck with Carnies than me.

Carnolian queen, be prepared for many colonies as they will want swarm as often as possible ......my experience anyway. Carnies I 'used' to have would build up to 3-4 frames and then produce queen cells no matter what I tried.
Nice gentle bees to work though
Cheers
S
next year, first just hope my four plus the hospital case get through winter, then requeen the hospital case which is a Carnie x swarm with high varroa as they will probalbly want to make 30 not 3 splits
 

Skyhook 

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Useful thread- same plan as me, and Olivers answer is pretty much what I had planned. I'm intending to give them every encouragement ( light syrup, pollen supplement etc) to build up early, and I have rape nearby which may help. I have of course booked perfect weather and given the bees clear instructions to read over winter.

One thing I'm still not clear on- I would like to end up with the main hive and a new one headed by new queens from the split, and a nuc which I will re-queen with a buckfast. I'm assuming that trying to time the arrival of the new queen with the process isn't on, so I should let them get settled then re-queen, but whats the best way to supercede the old queen (now 3 years old)? It seems sensible to try to introduce the queen that I take out of the nuc, but is there a better way? And when I do the split, should I put a queen cell in a mating nuc as a spare?
 

Skyhook 

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By the way, what's all this about NZ queens? I thought that had gone by-the-by with small hive beetle?
 

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