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Spring walk-away split in Auckland


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Hi all,

 

I am ramping up the questions here I know, sorry about that - I do try to read up before asking but often there is enough conflicting information in the internet to confuse anyone.

 

Here's the deal - I only have one beehive and that worries the living daylights out of me; I'd rather not have to start from absolute scratch again if something happens.

 

So - I'd like to make my one hive into two, and I'd like to make the first attempt at it as soon as possible so that if it doesn't work, I might be able to give it another go before next winter.

 

There's a whole heap of ways to make splits (very effective at making a beginner feel overwhelmed), but only having one queen and one hive obviously limits my options somewhat.

 

At the moment my hive has brood on 5 FD frames and is currently expanding upwards into another FD brood box.

 

What would you do in the above situation if you wanted to make your one hive into many before winter 2017 and maximise your chances of surviving winter # 2? I feel like my bees got through winter #1 more due to luck than anything else.

 

Thanks again.

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@backyardbeesif you don't get a queen or cell then you need lots of young bees in the queenless split. I always move the queenright colony few meters away, and I leave the queenless split in its

Don't do anything at all for another month ! Too early for Q mating yet. You've got tons of time to do a split. Mid summer's a good time for reliable Qs   In my view this business of getting hives

Good advice from @Kiwi Bee to help the colony expand

Don't do anything at all for another month ! Too early for Q mating yet. You've got tons of time to do a split. Mid summer's a good time for reliable Qs

 

I feel like my bees got through winter #1 more due to luck than anything else.

In my view this business of getting hives through the winter being iffy is a load of garbage. If a colony enters winter with good numbers, minimal varroa, and plenty of honey the bees will do the rest. It's not rocket science.

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Wait until swarming kicks off.

 

In my first season I did a vertical split with a division board. Queen in top with a small 1-2 bee entrance facing rear. Couple of frames of near emerging brood, couple of empty frames and a few stores. Don't be tempted to put any more brood up top because they may not be able to cover it once the field bees all settle in the bottom box.

 

The bottom box will get the bulk of the bees and should raise a well nourished queen under emergency response.

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In my view this business of getting hives through the winter being iffy is a load of garbage. If a colony enters winter with good numbers, minimal varroa, and plenty of honey the bees will do the rest. It's not rocket science.

quite right, especially in auckland. tho i can;t comment for other areas in NZ, especially very cold areas.

most wintering problems are usually because the hive has a problem well before winter.

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Don't do anything at all for another month ! Too early for Q mating yet. You've got tons of time to do a split. Mid summer's a good time for reliable Qs

 

In my view this business of getting hives through the winter being iffy is a load of garbage. If a colony enters winter with good numbers, minimal varroa, and plenty of honey the bees will do the rest. It's not rocket science.

 

Thanks for that - that makes me feel better! I do know it is too early for it yet; I just want to have a plan and sort out the hive ware etc. beforehand.

 

 

Wait until swarming kicks off.

 

In my first season I did a vertical split with a division board. Queen in top with a small 1-2 bee entrance facing rear. Couple of frames of near emerging brood, couple of empty frames and a few stores. Don't be tempted to put any more brood up top because they may not be able to cover it once the field bees all settle in the bottom box.

 

The bottom box will get the bulk of the bees and should raise a well nourished queen under emergency response.

 

Thanks Rob. That might be the way to go. I take it I'll just keep an eye on the bottoms of the frames for queen cups.

 

The hive is currently back against a timber fence so if I make a rear entrance, that'll be barely 10-15 cms out, facing the fence - do you reckon the bees mind?

 

How many frames of brood and eggs do you think the bottom box should have remaining as a minimum (after the split)?

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I'd like to make the first attempt at it as soon as possible so that if it doesn't work, I might be able to give it another go before next winter.

Dont Drones have something to do with splitting?

If you make the first attempt to soon you will probably be doing it again before winter.

No rush.

Take your time.

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How many frames of brood and eggs do you think the bottom box should have remaining as a minimum (after the split)?

theres a few write ups on how to do splits.

my main go to split is to move parent hive (your existing hive) aside, setup new brood box in the old location, transfer a couple of frames of brood with eggs, add cell if required, put back together.

 

main principle is move old queen aside, but not miles away, with bulk of the brood. this allows quick recovery of the drop in bee numbers.

the nuc gets all the field bees due to being in the old location. a small amount of brood to retain the bees and make q cell if required.

 

its fairly simply, quick to do and reasonably reliable and because its a big split instead of making a small weak nuc, they can look after them selves fairly easily.

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Apivar went in yesterday, 21/08. 10 weeks is 30/10.

 

I did think about that - but if the hive was ready and wanting to swarm, wouldn't you just split and put a couple of more varroa strips in the new split for the remaining time?

 

I guess it's a cost but I'd rather not have the bees swarm.

i doubt you will split before the strips are due to be removed.

however should the need arise you can simply split the number of strips between the two hives.

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@AeroviewBrewery - I know how you feel, but it's a great feeling preparing for the spring to get a chance to build up the apiary. I also have been studying spring splitting techniques, and artificial swarming techniques if it gets to that point. Got all my gear ready and just waiting for this weird winter to finish and more drones to start flying, amongst other things.

 

I raised my first queens and successfully managed my first split last season, so no expert, but I read a LOT, and love getting my hands dirty.

 

I found these rather useful and informative documents by Wally Shaw that you will probably want to print off, study and re-read a number of times. But they look fantastic, have simple instructions and images for splitting hives. If we can time it right we still get a decent honey crop and there is a number of options for growing the apiary - either split to just one other hive, or two or three nucs.

 

I know they are from overseas and there has been talk here of only using local information, but this seems universal to me:

http://www.wbka.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Simple-methods-of-making-Increase-Final-reduced1.pdf

http://www.wbka.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Swarm-Control-Wally-Shaw.pdf

 

Good luck, Paul

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Thanks, Paul!

 

Those guides are really interesting. It looks like there are a few methods and not one is fully superior to the others.

 

As to the whole only using local information thing - I am sure there are areas of knowledge in which things are very NZ-specific, especially things like status of diseases, approved treatments, the regulations etc. however I wouldn't deny myself potentially useful resources just because they are non-NZ.

 

I was once present at a lecture where an experienced NZ beekeeper made a very passionate speech about how overseas knowledge doesn't apply here...but there's a lot of overseas research going on with very solid scientific basis, which to me would be silly to overlook. I mean, if it wasn't for that Langstroth guy, we'd still be discussing the finer points of what kind of clay to use for our hives and what kind of harvesting hammer to bash them with each year.

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probably all true.

However, you've crossed a line, because that was information from Wales.

And everyone knows, that the Welsh are mad.

Bore da.

Problem with these recipes is that they use the British systems of different boxes etc.

Much easier using One Box Size I.e. 3/4, as in "Easy beekeeping".

And only split from strength to strength.

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It looks like there are a few methods and not one is fully superior to the others.

absolutely.

there a wide range of methods you can do.

however it pays to learn a few different methods for different situations.

the most important thing is to learn why things are done. then you can adapt a method to suit any situation your faced with.

 

As to the whole only using local information thing -

one of the issues we tend to see if people search the net for info and try to blindly apply it here.

understanding a study is one thing but using a method with no idea on why or whats been done causes issues.

 

beekeeping is very localized. its up to you to sort through the mountain of info and use what is applicable.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Im just wondering If anyone has seen any drones out of hives yet? especially in northland, i know a few people have done splits already and have not done to well

drones should be well and truly out in far north.

drones been out here for a little while.

don't forget weather plays a big role to. not uncommon to have bad matings in springs due to weather.

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