To split or not to split

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by Dahc, Apr 17, 2006.

  1. Dahc

    Dahc Don't Tase me, bro!?!

    Messages:
    1,358
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    GA
    I was wondering, in order to have a hive progress the fastest, is it better to split an existing hive or buy new bees and a queen?

    We started with one hive and from splits, have gone to three. They do alright but is getting a whole new hive a faster way to establish a new hive since the queen is already there?

    Spliting is obviously more to our liking because it's a whole lot cheaper and there will be brood included, but now needs to be the time. We have already had one hive swarm and I was unable to capture it because it passed right over our entire 21 acres without stopping.

    So, which do you think is faster in establishing a new hive? If we don't split, they are going to swarm anyway.
     
  2. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,143
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    My first question would be why are the hives swarming? Are they honey bound in the brood boxes? Have you been removing queen cells? Have you placed honey supers on so they have space to work? My personal experience is that hives generally don't just swarm for no reason.

    Using packages will actually take a bit longer for the hive to get established as they will initially be spending more energy building comb (for laying brood)than the split would. On the other hand you temporarily lose honey production when you split. It all depends on which tradeoff you prefer.

    Mike
     

  3. Dahc

    Dahc Don't Tase me, bro!?!

    Messages:
    1,358
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    GA
    Our hives swarm every spring. They just get to big. Each hive has (2) 9 5/8. One hive body and the other for a large honey super and (1) 6 5/8 honey super. We have tried many cominations, including double hives to make room but they swarm anyway. If we see that they are working well all the way up in the 6 5/8, we add one more.
     
  4. justgojumpit

    justgojumpit Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    428
    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    North Salem, NY
    Try removing some of the honey laden frames from the upper deep hive body, and replacing it with an empty frame. Sometimes the bees get honeybound, and they have no more room to expand the brood nest. This might be why they are swarming. Perhaps, if the bees are not honey bound, you could wait until the hive starts getting congested, and then take only three frames for the split, without taking the queen. That would free up some space for the full hive, and give you a new hive that will grow thoughout the year. Don't expect honey from the split though, and you may need to feed it through the summer months when nectar can be in short supply.

    justgojumpit
     
  5. Dahc

    Dahc Don't Tase me, bro!?!

    Messages:
    1,358
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    GA
    There are never really any honey laden frames, so to speak, in the upper 9 5/8. Many times in late spring, we may be able to get 4-6 full frames from them but the center 3-5 frames have a lot of brood in them, even after a swarm. If we try to take advantage of this and keep building up with honey supers and try to allow the hive to have two hive bodies, they wont do it for us...lol. They just work on one honey super above the 9 5/8's. We never get the amount of honey that others claim to get but we have nothing to hinder them like tracial mites, hive bettles or wax moths.

    They always swarm in mid-march but they are very quick about it. There may be two or three days that we notice extra activity outside the hive and then all of a sudden, there's a swarm popping around the property. Before that, it could be 60 degrees or it could be 40 degrees but most of the time, it is to cold to be checking out the hives.

    The sun hits the hives at 7:30-8am and then hives get shaded at about 5-6pm. There is a lot of agriculture in this area so they have access to plenty of nectar and pollen.
     
  6. Hee Haw

    Hee Haw Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    107
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Hey Dahc,
    You may want to start doing a reverse on your double brood hives in early spring, and when they move all the way back up in the top brood hive reverse them again. This usually takes about 2 and 1/2 weeks here for my bees to get back to the top of the brood hive. That way as the queen moves up to lay, you are allowing her more room to keep laying.
    For so reason,if youve ever noticed the queen will not lay totally across on the bottom brood frames, this is where that Ive read according to the inventer,Mr. Miller years ago used a devise,called a slatted rack, that goes between the bottom of the brood hive and the bottom board. He claimed this gave the hive more ventalation, to prevent swarms and also claimed, that with the use of this devise the queen would lay from the very bottom of the frame all the way across and up. This piece of equipment never really caught on,but some sware by it, and Better Bee Supply sales them, listed as Slatted Rack.