I sure could use some help on how to split a hive. I live in central Florida and as soon as my bees finish working the palmetto bloom I would like to split this hive. The problem I have run into is this. All the rest of my hives are two, 10 frame deep brood chambers with suppers added as needed. The hive I want to split is made up of three 3/4 deep brood chambers. I think they measure 7 1/8" tall. Also they are set up using 9 frames instead of 10. In looking into this hive it seems that the bottom 2 boxes are full of brood, while the top boxes frames are nothing but honey. I would like to split them to end up with 1 of the existing boxes and a new deep box on top. Questions I have are.
1. Should I stay with the 9 frame setup or change over to ten. I don't think I can change the existing box as the bees have drawn the comb out to far.
2. If I do split them do I go for a new queen or let them requeen themselves.
3. What should I do with the third box of honey? maybe split it up between the two hives or extract it and give them the drawn comb to use.
Any help on this would bee greatly apprecated. Thanks in advance Jim Kuh.
splitting hives is a very common occurence. I would start by putting a deep chamber on top of the two bottom most mediums, the bees will naturally move upward to raise brood. As they move upward out of the bottom medium during the season move this box to the top. You would then have two nine frame extracting supers on top of the hive. Later you can move the then bottom medium to the top of the deep brood chamber. Finally you should end up with a ten frame deep brood chamber on the bottom and three medium supers on top. You have not split the hive but you have added the ten frame deep. Next year you have the oppertunity to split the ten frame brood chamber and creat another hive also with ten frames. Adding a new queen is , in my opinion your best bet. You will be starting a new hive with a queen you can be reasonable sure is ready to start laying. Split this hive by taking three frames of capped brood with the nurse bees and one frame of honey from the parent hive, then shake a couple more frames of bees from the parent hive into the new hive and wait about three days before you add the new queen, this way the bees will accept the new queen as their own. You may want to feed a gallon or so of sugar water to help get the bees working on the frames of foundation in the new hives as there will only be nurse bees and few foragers in this hive. Feel free to ask any other questions if I have not been clear on this.