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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Seymour, CT, USA
    Posts
    16

    Sad First split, but did I do i right?

    I am a new beekeeper, going into my second year. My first (and only) hive, grew well last year and was strong at the end of the winter. So strong, that they started to create swarm cells a few weeks back. A friend and I decided that it was prudent to split the hive. I took the bottom deep, which didn't have much other than empty comb, and a honey super to create the new hive (both part of the original hive). We switched a lot of the frames around to make sure the new hive had all the swarm cells, along with several frames of brood, honey and pollen. The switch was very invasive and got the bees very aggressive, so during it all, I couldn't find the queen. I made a best guess that she was still in the original hive and closed everything up. Now (3 days later) the original hive is a bit aggressive, has created a swarm cell, and is bearding when its 50 degrees out. The new hive is quiet, so quiet, that I hardly see bees come and go, but there are still a ton of swarm cells. I wish I had one question, but I have so many. What am I missing, or what should I do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
    Posts
    2,312

    Default Re: First split, but did I do i right?

    When a hive is in swarm preps and have cells you can't stop the swarm, 99.999% of the time, unless you split out the old queen and some bees. The way to do the split is to take the old queen plus some brood and honey stores and move them to a new hive. The original hive will think the swarm has left and will continue raising a new queen from the swarm cells. At this point your original hive has either swarmed with the old queen or is close to doing so, but they will swarm! Make sure they have resources to make a new queen, either the cells you left or some eggs/young larva.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Portsmouth, NH
    Posts
    94

    Default Re: First split, but did I do i right?

    If you made sure you balanced the amount of resources in each hive I think you will be okay. The biggest thing to remember is the hive which is in the original location will have all the forgers bees in it. Once the bees return from foraging, they will go back to the original location. Even if they started in the new hive. This means the new hive has to have workers hatch and start flying before they have forgers. (You should be feeding the new hive)
    If you can find the queen it is best to make sure the new hive has a bit more brood and nurse bees. That way they will quickly get a field force up to speed. At this point I think you should just leave them be for a few days. It will become clear which hive as the queen and you can remove the swarm cells in that hive.

    Next time you can help prevent the forgers from going back to one hive but closing them up for a few days or moving both hives.
    Backyard beekeeping and honey bees.
    www.BlueLineApiary.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    East Windsor, CT
    Posts
    277

    Default Re: First split, but did I do i right?

    Without seeing the hives it is tough to say for sure. It sounds as if you moved the queen to the new hive and the existing hive is now starting emergency cells. You could always avoid this in the future by making sure that both hives that you are making has at least one queen cell each. So that way regardless of where the queen is neither hive will be queenless or have to make an emergency cell which just delays build up opposed to having capped queen cells. Sounds like eventually they will both be ok since both have the resources to ensure a queen is produced.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Paoli, IN
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: First split, but did I do i right?

    They will swarm. See "tossed virgins" thread.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Seymour, CT, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: First split, but did I do i right?

    So the lack of activity I guess would be because most of the foragers went back to the original hive. That would make sense. Since they both have swarm cells I guess there is a good chance they will be set up with a queen if they do swarm. They were bearded on the outside this morning when it was cold, could that be a sign that the swarm is near?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sumter SC
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: First split, but did I do i right?

    Future reference, check the colony the first few days you hit 50 degrees and if your bottom box is empty, just reverse the boxes for a couple of weeks to allow the queen to fill out the bottom and them switch the boxes back to the original configuration. A good method of preventing early swarming and one really strong hive.

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