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  Sunday, 28 December 2014
  2 Replies
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Yellow hive started last Spring with a package and package queen. Grew well produced Fall honey and looks healthy. I'm planning to split it in the Spring. Would the following plan work? Place the marked queen from the yellow hive into a nuc with the frame she is on and four frames of drawn comb some with honey/pollen. Shake in some bees. The yellow hive, now queenless, starts making a new queen and there is a break in the brood cycle. The old queen in the nuc starts laying once the bees polish up the drawn comb cells and there is a break in the brood cycle here too? Once she lays a frame of eggs that can be be moved to another nuc along with some bees and brood from the yellow hive so they can also make a queen (with another break in the brood cycle). Result: the yellow hive has effectively swarmed, it has a new queen and has had a break in the brood cycle. The old queen is now building up a nuc which should grow quickly because the comb is already drawn so she can lay all day if she likes. The second nuc is slower because it has to make a queen but some additional frames of brood and honey will help it grow as well. Does this make sense? If not - why not?
7 years ago
I would do it differently. Provided Old Yellow is strong enough to split, I would take a nuc from it, leaving the old queen in yellow. Then yellow will build back, probably not swarm, and make a crop. The split can be handled in two ways. Either buy a queen from...I always did well with CA Carniolans from Pat Heitkam, or allow the split to raise their own queen as some do. Remember, that process fails often enough...virgin doesn't return, fails to mate properly, or other reasons. So 20-30% failure isn't a stretch. I would order a mated queen for about May 10 and do the split after she arrives.

Now, about the brood break theory...I don't really see that as being significant for the control of varroa. Might slow them down a tad, but as soon as there's brood they mite reproduction will continue.

A strong colony would be one with at least 8 frames of brood at the start of dandelions, but 9-10 would be better.

The split would consist of:
1 honey
2 sealed brood
1 open brood
1 pollen/nectar
7 years ago
Hi Don,

I'm going to through my two cents in here and as a newbee to see if my thinking is right or not by the vets.

If you leave the old hive (yellow) and the second nuc queenless. You are going to have two weak hives with emergence queens. These hives will be making queens made up of larva 5 days old or older. It is my understanding that these make weak queens. When a hive swarms, the bees plan on the swarm and start a new queen cells with fresh eggs laid by the existing queen before she swarms. The second reason is the time delay. It take 16 days from egg to new queen, plus time for mating. The 23 days before she will produce a new worker. Now if was me and wanted to brake up the yellow hive into two new hives. I would wait until say June, and then take four frame of new capped brood and workers. Plus some frames of capped honey and make up two nucs, with two new queens. In this way you know that you have three strong queens. All the hives will have the rest of the summer to build and get strong before winter.

Now lets see what folks that know what they are talking about say.

Mike Crowley
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