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Forming A Split From A Friend's Hive?

 
Jerry Ward
Posts: 188
Location: S.E. Michigan - Zone 6a
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I have a package coming to re-populate my hive that died over the winter. However I was talking to a guy at work and his hive did really well. I've got drawn frames and frames of honey. I've been watching youtube videos of making splits that involve getting 2 or 3 frames of brood with nurse bees. Has anyone tried this and what are my chances of success if I get some brood frames from my co-worker and fill the rest of the hive body up with drawn comb and honey? Would I get a hive that would build up enough to survive the winter? There also might be the option of buying a queen also getting some frames of brood. How much better would my odds be for this?
 
tel jetson
steward
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Location: woodland, washington
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in your situation, I think I would try to get a swarm. your currently vacant hive should be very attractive to swarm scouts looking for a new spot. might want to take the honey out, though, so that you don't get robbers instead of scouts. spreading your drawn comb into several different bait hives in several different promising locations will increase your odds.

in the mean time, while you're waiting for a swarm to inhabit your bait hives, get the word out that you're looking for swarms. diversify.

plenty of folks do splits the way you're describing, though. you just want to make sure you get a frame of eggs as well as brood. workers can make queens out of new eggs, but not out of brood.

a split is an artificial intervention, though, so the bees won't really be in an ideal situation. a swarm, on the other hand, is ready and willing to populate a new space.
 
Jerry Ward
Posts: 188
Location: S.E. Michigan - Zone 6a
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I haven't seen a swarm or heard of one in my area in quite a few years so I'm not very hopeful of getting one.
 
tel jetson
steward
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Location: woodland, washington
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Jerry Ward wrote:I haven't seen a swarm or heard of one in my area in quite a few years so I'm not very hopeful of getting one.


you might be surprised. if there are beekeepers around, chances are pretty good that there are swarms. outside of urban areas, they frequently go unnoticed or unremarked.

fortunately, placing bait hives is very low risk and involves little effort. if it fails, not much is lost, but the potential gain is substantial.
 
Jerry Ward
Posts: 188
Location: S.E. Michigan - Zone 6a
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What are the general guidelines for placing a bait hive?
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3356
Location: woodland, washington
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Jerry Ward wrote:What are the general guidelines for placing a bait hive?


here's a pretty helpful bulletin put together by Thomas Seeley: http://ecommons.cornell.edu/bitstream/1813/2653/2/Bait%20Hives%20for%20Honey%20Bees.pdf

there are some plans for building one, but folks successfully re-purpose all manner of containers into bait hives. wicker waste baskets, plant pots, cardboard boxes, vacant hive bodies, et cetera.
 
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