Seems like I will be splitting my hive at the end of the week. Any personal recommendations, special techniques or tricks will be appreciated as it is my first time doing this. Ended up getting a Smart from Draper's and a Russian from Handerman's to requeen my old italian. I really wanted to get a Cordovan but its was really hard to get in touch with anyone selling them. I probably end up having to requeen the Smart next year , but we'll see.
Select the hive to be split into two hives. Question: Do the frames in that hive look like this?
Frames should be well covered with bees and brood should be present on at least six frames. If the answer is yes, then we can proceed to the next step.
This next step requires the beekeeper to move the original hive approximately 1 yard from its present location and it can be taken further away if you wish. On the old stand, place a bottom board and an empty deep super.
Our next step is to find the queen. She will be located in the brood area 95% of the time when you look for her. If your hive is a double deep, take the top super off and sit it on the upside down top cover to keep from crushing any bees. In the bottom brood box, remove frames from the outside first working toward the center frames. Finding the queen is not easy. But you must find her! If you do not find her do not panic. Wait an hour for the bees to settle down and go back again. I like D.C. Miller's method of placing frames in the empty hive body in two's. In other words, you take two frames and place them together in a hive body. Leave a space and place two more frames in the hive body. Leave a space and place two more frames in the hive body. The queen will always be found on the comb not exposed to light. All one needs to do is examine the two frames for a queen by looking at the comb not exposed to light--this is the area on each inside facing surface of the comb.
Okay, the queen has been found. We need to sit the frame she is on aside or place the queen in a cage if you have one available. I like to put her into a temporary cage because there is no danger of her climbing back into her own hive.
Now for the actual split. You need to identify at least three frames of brood to go into the new hive. These frames should be covered with young bees. These are placed in the center of the new deep super. Take two more frames from the old hive that have some honey and pollen. Place these one to each side of the three frames in the center of the new hive. Add the remaining frames ( four most likely or three) depends on the number of frames you use in the brood chamber. I like to use 10 frames per brood box but some like nine. The new queen just ordered is then introduced to the new split in the normal way. The split should then be given a feeder with sugar water. The most common type of feeder is the boardman feeder which is placed at the entrance of the hive. The new hive can then be closed up -- the inner cover and top cover placed on the hive. Just as with any new hive or queen replacement, you will want to return in two or three days to make sure the new queen has been released from her introduction cage.
Return to the old hive. You will now need to put it back together and let them get settled down. Do not scatter the brood about but put the brood together so the bees can easily cluster around it. If the queen was put into a temporary cage, she can now be released back to her bees safely or the frame she was on can be placed back into the hive. The extra frames are added to the space left from removing frames for the new hive. This hive can now be closed up.
See the diagram of this pictured below:
sorry about the post sounding a little weird. It was a cut and past job and the graphics didn't paste. YOu should get the main jist though. Good luck on the split and remember not to release the queen too early...
Great description, I like the idea of placing and new empty super in the old hive's place... makes a lot of sense for the returning foragers. Thank you.
As for releasing the queen too early I have heard arguments for both placing the new queen cage inside the same day of the split or waiting a couple of days. I guess you would argue for waiting a couple of days, right?
Finally, the hive I am about to split is a deep brood with 2 medium supers pretty much stocked to the brim with honey. Should I give each new hive one of the mediums or would this make them honey bound?
[This message has been edited by GAbee (edited July 17, 2003).]
You can give them each a super. It will make good stores if there is a dearth. It's a super, so it's not in the brood chamber and it won't make them honey bound.
As far as being honey bound, the thing to watch for is when the brood chamber is full of capped honey and not much room for laying. There is usually a "crown" of capped honey in the brood chamber (up above and part way down the sides) but the rest of the honey in the brood chamber should be open. If not, use a knife and uncap it. Or if you're lazy, just make some cuts across it with the corner of your hive tool to open some of the cells. Bees will move open honey where they need it or out of their way. They don't usually uncap honey to move it out of their way.
The SMR queen died before I could introduce her, so I ended up ordering a cordovan from Simpson's. Hope the little sisters will accept her.
[This message has been edited by GAbee (edited July 21, 2003).]
Well done oregon. Very helpful, even for those of us not ready to do a split yet.
so can I throw in a variation? I'm a bit dense and have a situation where one of my hives probably got too full before I added a second deep- I asked about this a few days ago and decided to make a split to decrease the crowding. I followed the above almost exactly except that I alternated the frames in the 2 boxes w/ new foundation toward the center - 3-4 frames pretty full of brood and a frame or 2 of honey / pollen toward the outside for each box BUT--- I could find no queen (my original was marked) after 3 thorough searches. Each box has 3-5 queen cells at the bottom of the frames though. Well, I chickened out abd decided that I was going to put a new queen in one and leave the other to grow it's own. So, now, how should I go about introducing the new queen to one of the boxes w/ queen cells? (I'm going w/ a Buckfast)...
thanks for your patience--
I'd destroy the queen cells and wait over night and then do a standard introduction. Whatever you usually do that works for you. Typical would be put a hole in the candy and put the cage in with the screen down so the bees can see, smell, and feed the queen. Often you have to crowd the frames out, remove a frame, or add a Imirie shim or some other spacer to do this.
Thanks Michael, that's what I was wondering... Do you think I did any damage by alternating foundation frames w/ brood? It's been pretty warm up here the past week and there are a lot of bees... Seems I remember reading that it wasn't a good idea to do that d/t possibility of chilled brood.
What would be the liklihood I could recombine these 2 into one at some point in the near future? Sorry to be mr. 20 questions...
If the weather is warm they will probably not get chilled. They will draw the foundation quicker that way, but I'd be hesitant to break the brood nest up that much.
You can combine anytime you want. Just put a newspaper on one hive and set the other on top. If it's hot out, you may want to speed things along, so make a slit in the newspaper.