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How big is too big

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Anyone have a view on how big is too big for a colony this time of year? Have already done a small split but considering doing another full split of the hive. 3 full depth boxes of bees currently with about 75% coverage

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28 minutes ago, TaiTapHoney said:

Anyone have a view on how big is too big for a colony this time of year? Have already done a small split but considering doing another full split of the hive. 3 full depth boxes of bees currently with about 75% coverage

this is where you need to know and understand what your site does and how the bees behave.

 

to me 3x FD is half sized.

you should be more focused on other swarm management techniques and leave splitting to a last resort.

there will be times when you simply cannot split a hive. to me taking a small split doesn't do much swarm control wise, i would even consider it a backwoods step.

Edited by tristan
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I'd be stoked with 3 boxes of bees at this time of year.  The worry is that by the time the honey flow clicks in they will be gone.

I'd take a good size split off now.    Four frames of brood in the third  placed on a mat on top of the two broods underneath.  Entrance facing the back or to the side and blocked in with two layers of news paper.  Add a queen or cell the next day. You need to be carefull it's not too hot a day or they will sweat and die !

 

So you end up with the old queen downstairs, a nice unit up stairs ..... and if downstairs wants to go on holiday, you have the 'Top' to take over and make honey.

Just make sure they both have plenty of feed.

 

Come honey flow time ..... if both are ticking along nicely, either put the top down on a bottom board, or paper the top and bottom together with two sheets of newspaper.

Edited by jamesc
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44 minutes ago, jamesc said:

The worry is that by the time the honey flow clicks in they will be gone.

honey flow timing is the critical thing.

 

45 minutes ago, jamesc said:

I'd take a good size split off now.    Four frames of brood in the third  placed on a mat on top of the two broods underneath.  Entrance facing the back or to the side and blocked in with two layers of news paper.  Add a queen or cell the next day. You need to be carefull it's not too hot a day or they will sweat and die !

 

So you end up with the old queen downstairs, a nice unit up stairs ..... and if downstairs wants to go on holiday, you have the 'Top' to take over and make honey.

Just make sure they both have plenty of feed.

 

Come honey flow time ..... if both are ticking along nicely, either put the top down on a bottom board, or paper the top and bottom together with two sheets of newspaper.

 

the problem here can be that you end up with a massive hive or two massive hives. especially if you turn it into a double queen hive.

this is where honey flow timing is rather important.

a 3 box isn't big enough to swarm due to size, unless you do something like forget to put boxes on.

 

taking some brood away (to make a split) will slow the population growth down but thats about all it will do. your only putting a dent into ONE factor.

that may be enough to get you into the flow.

it might be better to split by taking the old queen and most of the brood away. that means the hive has to make a new queen (or you add one) and the hive will be broodless for a while.

that plus the loss of bees really puts the brakes on the hive. however i would leave it to last resort.

 

it just depends on how much you need to slow it up, what the risk is of getting queens mated and also what you plan to do with the nucs you make.

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50 minutes ago, tristan said:

3 box isn't big enough to swarm due to size,

?????

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Yo .... what ya need to do for the Agony aunt is count the number of frames of brood in the hive. If you have 24 frames of sealed brood, then you gotta a goodie.

If you only got nine frames  ..... then she's ticking along .....

 

The cat has many skins .....!

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58 minutes ago, yesbut said:

?????

its only a small hive, population is not all that high.

that doesn't mean it won't swarm for other reasons.

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It's a big hive for us down here .... at this time of year  !

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Try managing colonies to stay in 2.  We do pollination, so 2 and no bigger.  We pull brood and minimse syrup feeding.  Tho this season is running later, and bees haven't. We need to play with a few ideas, like restricting Queens within a smaller area in early spring.

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Have you switched any of the boxes around yet? Often there is very little laid up brood in bottom box as it has all hatched - if that is the case, that box needs to be at the top for the queen to fill up.

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