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First split

 
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Nanny Ogg
Nurse Bee


Joined: 24 Mar 2017
Posts: 45
Location: Denmark, Fredericia

PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:15 pm    Post subject: First split Reply with quote

I have two hives, a big, strong family and a small, ah... let's say developing one.

Today, I split the big one in a walk away split. They have been expanding rapidly, and we will be going away on vacation. So to prevent swarming while we are away, I decided to do a split.

I've followed the advice in Managing the top bar hive almost to the letter.

I installed the queen along with stores in a small hive, and I'll be moving it to another site later tonight.

The book advises me to leave twigs and leaves in front of the entrance to the donor hive, but as I see it, that will hinder the remaining bees in that hive to find the entrance. Or am I wrong?
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 272
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The use of twigs in front of a hive is to make the flying bees reorientate after it or the bees are moved.

If you have not moved the donor hive reorientation is not needed.

Any flying bees in the split hive if it is still close to the donor will return to the donor leaving the split short of foragers, so if it's close to the donor, that's where the twigs need to be.

I feed splits too as they need lots of energy to make wax and it helps the queen to settle and start laying IMHO.
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Nanny Ogg
Nurse Bee


Joined: 24 Mar 2017
Posts: 45
Location: Denmark, Fredericia

PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your response, Andy Smile

I have relocated the split about a 100+ yards (sideways (does that make sense?)) from the donor hive, and I'm on my way home now to check on them.

It's a strong queen, and they have a lot of honey and nectar. I also gave them some new comb, not yet fully drawn, so they don't have to start from scratch on an empty top bar.

I'll check on them regularly to see how they are doing food-wise and feed if it seems necessary.

I am more concerned with whether or not the donor will manage to produce a new queen. *fingerscrossedemoticon*
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 272
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At 100 yards separation I would expect a lot of fhe flying bees from the split to return to the donor colony so feeding the split is sensible as they will soon be short of foragers.

If you are going to keep it at that site I would consider shaking some bees in as well or you could put a frame of bees into a nuc and let them walk in and put twigs over the hive entrance of the split so they reorientate rather than returning to the donor hive.

You need to do that sooner rather than later though.

Good luck with the queen rearing.
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Nanny Ogg
Nurse Bee


Joined: 24 Mar 2017
Posts: 45
Location: Denmark, Fredericia

PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice, Andy. I will do that today. I do not have a nuc, so I will be using the shake-down method, and I better prepare a feeder.

And thanks for the tip on twigs at the entrance of the split. It thought the twig-thing only ever applied to the donor hive. I love my learning curve Very Happy
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1545
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The twigs and foliage are to encourage bees in a hive that has been moved to re-orientate to the new location. It is sort of a trigger to make them realise something has changed and take notice, otherwise they just head off as usual to forage and since they navigate by the sun and then visual of the hive and it's setting when they get close, they just return to the old location and either buzz about looking lost if their old hive is not there, or return to the parent hive in your case. If you haven't moved the donor hive, then those bees don't need to re-orientate. The nurse bees in the new hive will never have done orientation flights so they will learn to orientate to the new location without a prompt, but any foragers that were part of the split will return to the parent hive once they leave the split unless you trigger them to re-orientate by obstructing the entrance and even then some may still return to the old location.
I hope that makes it clear why the twigs etc are used, so that you can then work it out for yourself, when they are required.

Good luck with both parts of the split. Were there any queen cells or are you relying on them raising an emergency queen? It can help to cut across brood comb so that eggs/young larvae are left on the very edge of the comb to help them produce emergency queen cells from them if there weren't any occupied swarm cells.

Best wishes

Barbara
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Nanny Ogg
Nurse Bee


Joined: 24 Mar 2017
Posts: 45
Location: Denmark, Fredericia

PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the helpful explanation, Barbara.

There were no queen cells in the donor hive, but I will be checking in on them today to see if they got busy making some already *nailbitingemoticon*

But wouldn't it be too late for me to cut into the brood today? The larvae need to be quite young to be viable queen material as I understand it.

The split was made on Sunday.
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1545
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, probably too late now, but worth knowing for another time. The queen cells produced from such a cut are supposed to be of a better quality.
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Nanny Ogg
Nurse Bee


Joined: 24 Mar 2017
Posts: 45
Location: Denmark, Fredericia

PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool! I'll keep that in mind Smile
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Nanny Ogg
Nurse Bee


Joined: 24 Mar 2017
Posts: 45
Location: Denmark, Fredericia

PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's an update.

Yesterday I shook two full combs of bees into the split, set down a feeder and placed twigs in front of the entrance.

Going through the donor hive (I only went through half of it), I saw the beginning of 3 queen cells, uncapped of course. I wonder if they are in time, but I'll keep an eye on them in the coming weekend.

In the process of shaking bees off, one comb tore off from the top bar. It was a brood comb with mostly drone brood. I then inspected the brood (well, not all of it. A lot of it turned into mush *clumsyemoticon*) for varroa, and found 2 mites.

So far my gut feeling is that the family is not strongly affected by the varroa. They seem strong, and I have seen no mites on adult bees or deformed wings.

I keep my fingers crossed.
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 272
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry did I misunderstand what you needed to do?

If it's possible I would always choose to swop over the topbars/frames with bees.

If not and shaking is required it's well worth having a few bars ready with wire mesh stapled on so any breakages can easily be dealt with.

In hot weather the wax is REALLY soft.

Good stuff getting stuck in and doing what needs to be done.
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Nanny Ogg
Nurse Bee


Joined: 24 Mar 2017
Posts: 45
Location: Denmark, Fredericia

PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Andy

I wanted the split to be free of brood so as to get a fresh start, and I had already transferred the frames without brood. I just needed extra bees in the split, as a good deal of the foragers had already returned to the donor.

Therefore, I chose to shake off the bees from some of the donor frames. And as they all contain some brood - at least to my inexperienced eyes - I prefer to keep them in the donor to create a brood break in the split.

Does it makes sense?
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 272
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes that's a sound idea except the bees on brood are likely to be the younger nurse bees that you need in the hive to tend the eggs/larva once madam starts laying.

Hence feeding because there will be no new foragers for at least 40 days if madam starts laying on day one.

You can do it with some stores and bees (some foragers) as well as just shaken bees from brood (mostly nurses) and if there are not enough foragers from entrance observation, put a QX on the entrance and move the split back to one side and in front of the donor hive for an hour or two late afternoon to 'catch' more foragers.

I chose to feed instead for about six weeks.
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Nanny Ogg
Nurse Bee


Joined: 24 Mar 2017
Posts: 45
Location: Denmark, Fredericia

PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a short update.

I put in a feeder in the split, but so far they haven't touched it at all. I have a good feeling about the split family. They are buzzing about quite actively.

The weather turned cold, windy and rainy, so I can't really check in on the donor hive. I have to trust that everything is going well.

I hope the weather improves soon as I would prefer to check up on them before we pack up and head for France.
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