Author Topic: TBH split questions  (Read 1798 times)

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Offline ShannaRose

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TBH split questions
« on: June 24, 2015, 04:02:44 am »
On Sunday I had the offer of an very experienced beekeeper from the mainland (I'm in Hawaii) help me do a split, and we did it her way rather than the way I was taught by my mentor.  I understand there's some different language and methods with TBH's...
So instead of moving the queen and such to a new hive, we instead left the queen in her hive and removed the combs with closed fully formed queen cells to the new hive, along with a comb of stores, capped brood, and some open brood incase they want to make more queen cells.  Plus we brushed in some extra bees to be sure to get plenty nurse bees.

Of course all the foragers flew back to the original hive.  So the numbers in the new hive were low, but already in a couple days some of the brood has hatched and numbers are building- I peeked.  In 2 days they had built up a solid comb and they don't appear to be a "weak" hive to my inexperienced sense of things.  I'm sure in their time they will make a queen from the cells or they will make more from the open brood.  I have a feeling they will succeed, but: Had I moved the queen to the new hive instead, when the foragers returned to the original now queen-less hive I would have had their field force to help get them through this queen-building time. 

In addition, I can't see what will keep the queen from just trying to swarm again.  It's a very full hive, she's been in there close to 3 months (hives generally swarm every 3 months in Hawaii) and even though about 8 frames were removed, they fill it very quickly in Hawaiian summertime.  I think they will try to swarm again soon. Wondering what to do...

Go do it over again? Bring back the combs with swarm cells and their attendant bees, and remove the queen along with a couple frames of brood and stores to the other hive?  That's major messing with them in my book, don't know if that's OK or not.

Trade locations of the hives.  If the weaker queenless hive is moved to the site of the queenrite hive then the foragers will return to that hive. It's been suggested.

Or wait and watch for the original hive to see when they make more swarm cells and then do a proper split into another hive?

Or do as Michael Bush suggests- stick a follower board in and one half will have the queen and the other half won't.  Foragers will randomly fly into either entrance so the field force of the foragers is not lost. Then when the new queen emerges I can remove the old queen and start a nuc with her and combine the 2 halves- would I need to do the newspaper drape to combine them? . OMG- endless bees!

Anyway, would love advice on the best plan of action at this point.  On top of it all I am leaving for 3 months in a week- although my mentor will be caring for the hives while I'm gone, I want to leave them with as much of the work done ahead of time as possible.
Shanna Rose

Offline pistolpete

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Re: TBH split questions
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2015, 12:53:07 am »
I have no experience with the tropical way of doing things.  IMO the approach would depend largely on whether this hive was preparing to swarm.   If they were building (or had built) swarm cells, then they will swarm even though you did a partial split.  The proper way is to take away the queen and a bunch of bees (plus some brood) to make an artificial swarm.  This is often but not always enough to trick them into thinking they have already swarmed.    If the hive was not gearing up to swarm, then your split was likely enough to delay swarming preparations by a month or two.    If you don't want to mess with the bees any more than you have, at least set up a swarm trap (10 feet up and a 100 or more feet from the hives)
My advice: worth price charged :)