Temperature to split

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BDT123
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Temperature to split

Unread post by BDT123 » April 25th, 2017, 9:17 pm

What's the minimum temperature you would do a split?
I intended to split my big over-wintered hive, but thought we would be a lot warmer by now.
I have a queen ordered for Thursday but looks like it will only be +6C, 43F.
I think I will try an over-night split, get three frames of eggs and brood above an excluder. All bees shook to bottom boxes. Move the next day and add new queen.
Might work? Will keep the split warmer overnight, nurses can move up.
Thoughts please.
No issue if we had 'normal' temperatures I think. What's normal anymore?
Brian

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BadBeeKeeper
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Re: Temperature to split

Unread post by BadBeeKeeper » April 26th, 2017, 3:06 am

I don't know what the minimum is, but if the queen is coming you don't have much of a choice, ya gotta do what ya gotta do when ya gotta do it, unless you want to try to keep her alive in the house for a week or so and see if you can get a warmer day. I've had hives open at that temp- for a couple of days last Fall I was trying to combine a swarm I had caught earlier (that was still in a single deep) with another hive and wasn't having any luck finding the queen***. I only was able to get into them near sundown and the days were cool, cloudy and rainy. I hunted for her until it got too dark to see, with temps in the high 30s to low 40s, didn't seem to hurt them any.

Are you going to split to a nuc? Your idea should work OK, I think. In the last class I had at the 'bee school' I go to every year, we were discussing queen acceptance. The 'instructor' is a large commercial keeper and he recently did some experiments testing acceptance rates under various conditions. He said that queens were more readily accepted by smaller hives than larger ones, with a better than 90% acceptance rate for nucs. Acceptance rates declined as hive sizes (single deep, double deep) increased. Based on what I learned there, I would split to a nuc box, install the queen, and then after she gets going move them over to regular equipment. Then if wanting more bees there and still having a surplus in the original hive, I would split off some more and do a newspaper combine with the new hive (again using the frames over excluder, to make sure you don't accidentally move the queen), with no need to shake off any bees- nurses and foragers going into the new hive.

***I never did find the swarm queen. I wanted to off her because the hive the swarm was being combined with had a brand new queen and I wanted to keep the young one. But, after two or three days I gave it up as a lost cause, left the newspaper in place and let them do whatever they were going to do, so they went into Winter as a triple-deep. It will be interesting to see if both queens are still alive when I open them up when the weather gets a little warmer.

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Countryboy
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Re: Temperature to split

Unread post by Countryboy » April 26th, 2017, 9:20 pm

I don't know what the minimum is, but if the queen is coming you don't have much of a choice, ya gotta do what ya gotta do when ya gotta do it, unless you want to try to keep her alive in the house for a week or so and see if you can get a warmer day.
No, you don't gotta do what you gotta do when you gotta do it because a queen is coming. There is no need for such exaggeration and sensationalism.

There is no, "try to keep the queen alive in the house for a week." Keeping a queen alive indoors is very easy and is an excellent alternative to dealing with messing with hives in nasty weather. You can also bank queens (still caged) in hives above an excluder.

Make sure you water them everyday, and keep them out of direct sunlight. (Yes, you really can leave them in a cardboard box on the kitchen counter.)

Here's how to water your queen if you decide to keep her indoors.
https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=a6nuXPkSrss
B. Farmer Honey
Central Ohio

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BDT123
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Re: Temperature to split

Unread post by BDT123 » April 26th, 2017, 9:48 pm

Thanks for the info, both of you. Won't be able to do any hive manipulations until Saturday. Snow/rain/ low temp. Saturday +12, 54 F. Should be able to get it done out in the bee swamp. Never had water there before...

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BDT123
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Re: Temperature to split

Unread post by BDT123 » April 28th, 2017, 5:29 pm

Had a perfect opportunity today to do the overnight split. Despite the forecast we got to +13C, about 54F.
Relocated big hive out of the 'bog', about 5 feet, to a new hive stand. Did all normal maintenance as I worked my way down the hive bodies. Moved two frames of brood and eggs to a newly prepped hive body. Consolidated big hive to two deeps, put on queen excluder, put on split. They're settling down. I gave them a double whammy with the hive move and the split but they seem ok an hour later.
Will move the split tomorrow, put in new queen in the evening.
Best to all,
Brian

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BDT123
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Re: Temperature to split

Unread post by BDT123 » May 1st, 2017, 11:30 pm

Did my Queen release check today on the split. Looks great, she's in that scrum somewhere. Cage was empty , anyway. Bees let me root around, no issues, no stress sensed. No smoke, all calm and happy. Whew! Will do OAV on all 4 hives on Wednesday. Should be no brood, except in the split, so split gets a 'threefer'.
Feeling good about this season.
Best to all,
Brian

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