Hive Management and Making Nuc Splits 2011

*Disclaimer- We tried to use Mel Disselkoen’s Method, but that doesn’t mean we actually understood the method. After watching his most recent presentation and video on youtube and seeing his recent power points on his website, I realize more than a few areas we can definitely improve upon for the upcoming year. This blog post is mostly as a review and summary (in one place of our beekeeping records for 2011)

Feb 26, 2011 – Realized the importance of pollen patties for our hives in early spring generational growth and bought some patties at the Bee School after listening to Randy Oliver speak. Two out of three of our hives survived the winter.

April 12, 2011 – Wrote in my journal, “Well, I am going to try to make my own queen cells and splits on my strong hive in the next few days. Need to read more and think more, I guess the saying, “nothing ventured, nothing gained” applies here.” That is so true…failures will happen, but if we don’t try, nothing will happen.

April 30, 2011 – Using Mel Disselkoen’s Method, we made splits by pulling the brood frames out, finding the 72 hour or less larvae and breaking the cell walls underneath them. We took the original queen and a couple of frames of brood and separated her. We took the 4 new nucs that we split from the strongest hive out 2 miles or more, but now realize that we should have taken the queen and her split out that far and kept the nucs at home.

Looking at the splits May 8, 2011 and talking about them

May 8, 2011 – Opened the splits – Checked if there were queen cells and there were plenty, in fact we needed to kill off a few extra to make it easier for the virgin queen to have energy to mate, not having to expend energy killing her competitors.

Video taken after checking nuc splits May 8, 2011…they had queen cells

May 21, 2011 – Watching the original beehives, talking about them and the splits we made from the one on the right (it seemed more hygienic).

Watching the Original Two Beehives May 21, 2011

June 1, 2011- Moved the splits back to our house.

June 2, 2011 – Added a second brood box to the hives because they had already pulled out about 80% of their first brood box. The video shows a shallow being used as a brood box, that is because that is how I chose to split the nucs, I used a shallow where the queen had laid eggs and tried to make a new queen from that.

Adding a Second Brood Box to the splits

June 2, 2011 – Added entrance reducers to the splits to reduce robbing. Part of the problem is probably due to having the sugar waterers outside the hive.

Adding Entrance Reducers, Robbers are in our Midst!

June 2, 2011 – Adding a third brood box to one of the strong hives (the one we didn’t split)…trying to get it to pull out more frames. We started the year with little to no foundation pulled out.

June 20, 2011 – My journal…just spent a long time in the beeyard making splits. One hive, the queen played hide and go seek for too long. Being such a grey, windy day put them in a foul mood. After introducing the queen in her new split, I got rewarded with a nice sting to my backside by a mad worker. Oh the thrills 🙂

We made 4 more splits from our strongest hive. These were going to be going into winter as nucs. We added the second layer of brood frames in early August.

Cactus Jack wanted a Beehelmet to just fit him. 6-20-2011

Cactus Jack watched for awhile as we did the summer splits. He took these photos that follow:

Looking for <72 hour larva to break the bottom of the cell to cause a queen to be formed. Mel Disselkoen explains this method on his website


Lots of bees
Look at all those bees on the first brood box, we are making splits from this strong hive. June 20, 2011

During the splits, we made a replacement hive of the hive we didn’t make splits from and it became a honey hive.

August 22, 2011 From my journal, “state bee inspector went through all our hives (and tasted the honey we entered in the fair). She said everything was great and the honey was just strong fall honey. I’m excited to extract and get them ready for winter. I really hope to sell some nucs next spring, if my hives survive the winter.”

September 7, 2011 – With 3 full supers of capped honey (30 medium frames) we extracted 72 lbs of honey at a local honey house.

Cutting the Cappings off the Honey frames with a heated knife…I need concentration, still getting the hang of it all.
We bottled 72 lbs in all the jars we had and had about 30 more pounds that we put in mason jars for ourselves when we got home.

December 5, 2011 – In order to ensure our bees had plenty of food to survive the winter, we placed a candy-board frame on top of each nuc as described in Making Nuc Candyboards for Over-wintering