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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Andover, Ohio
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    166

    Default I still am not sure how to split a hive.

    I have read several threads on here and also Michael Bush's website but I am still confused about how to do a split. Here is my situation:
    1. I have a new to me hive with 2 deep 10 frame brood boxes bursting at the seam with bees.
    2.I have only checked the top box and its full of eggs, brood,pollen, and honey
    3. I have been told I will need to split and dont want the bees to swarm.
    4. I would like to split into 1 other hive and also get a honey crop this year from the original hive.
    5. What should i do if I am not buying another queen?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,520

    Default Re: I still am not sure how to split a hive.

    With your experience level, I would suggest that you take a bottom board and put it right beside your hive. Take that top box off and set it on the new bottom board right beside your other hive. Now pull some frames out of the bottom box and make sure you have eggs and lots of bees in the bottom box too. If you do have bees and eggs in both of the boxes, put the lids on and walk away! In five days come back and carefull pull frames until you find the presence of eggs or of queen cells. The cells will be on the face of the frame and look like a peanut if capped. If you have a box with a queen cell and a box with eggs meaning a queen, you now have two hives. If the one with eggs is still full of bees, put another box on it. If the one with the queen cells is full of bees, put a box on it too. The hive with no queen will actually store more honey than the hive raising brood.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: I still am not sure how to split a hive.

    Here is a simple mindless method. Put down two bottoms (if you don't have them then set your current hive on something else to free up that bottom). Put an empty box on each bottom board. Take each frame from the bottom box of your existing hive and deal them like cards... one for you and one for you. Every other frame going in the other box. Put them in the center of the box and fill the outsides with whatever you are using (frames with foundation or comb guides). Put another empty box on each (feel free to use the one you just emptied) and do it again with the top box. You have now divvied up the resources as evenly as possible without making any actual decisions other than giving each hive every other frame. Finish those boxes out with frames and put the lids on. The one with a queen will continue as is. The one without will raise a queen. Both will have all stages of brood, pollen and stores.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    West Milford, NJ, USA
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: I still am not sure how to split a hive.

    I did a split exactly this way 17 days ago today, I was told NOT to inspect on days 10-12 because of sensitive developmental stage of the new queen cells. My confusion is this. What is the more likely preferrence of the bees? to start a queen from a 1 day old egg or the other extreme a newly hatched larvae. I have not inspected or looked for queen cells because of trying to avoid this sensitive time and now that I'm sure I'm past this time the weather has turned cold and windy. So here's my question what day in the raising of the queen are they probably in.

    Thanks Bonnie

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    724

    Default Re: I still am not sure how to split a hive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bonnie Botkins View Post
    What is the more likely preferrence of the bees? to start a queen from a 1 day old egg or the other extreme a newly hatched larvae. So here's my question what day in the raising of the queen are they probably in.
    Hard to say exactly what day the queen raising process is in, but I believe they would have started with a larvae (not an egg) 4 days or less old.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    43,492

    Default Re: I still am not sure how to split a hive.

    >What is the more likely preferrence of the bees? to start a queen from a 1 day old egg or the other extreme a newly hatched larvae.

    Newly hatched larvae.

    > I have not inspected or looked for queen cells because of trying to avoid this sensitive time and now that I'm sure I'm past this time the weather has turned cold and windy. So here's my question what day in the raising of the queen are they probably in.

    They started at day 4. Add the number of days to 4. She should emerge on day 16 and be mated by day 30, or 26 days after the split. Give or take 5 days or so...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    3,595

    Default Re: I still am not sure how to split a hive.

    You want to get a honey crop too though right? Stack off all boxes off to the side. Put an empty box on the bottom board. Put 2 frames or so of capped brood, a good frame of store, and fill it with frames of foundation. Shake all of the bees off of every frame into that box.

    - if you just happen to see the queen stop and make up a nuc with her (2 frames of brood, one of food, foundation, good shake of bees) and you're done.

    Assuming you don't find the queen, run all of the bees into that one box, and then top it with a queen excluder, restack the rest of the hive on top of that. Next day, just move that bottom box (which now has the queen) to a new spot. If you want to you can go through the big queenless hive in a few days and make up some more nucs with the frames that have queen cells - of course leave at least one.

    With a little luck this will keep the hive from swarming, make increase nucs, and still make a honey crop. Of course you never can tell with bees. It will be quite a learning experience for a new bee keeper though.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,861

    Default Re: I still am not sure how to split a hive.

    Your dilemma is one that beekeepers face each year. I sell honey. I don't sell honey from hives that swarm and I don't sell honey from hives that are weak. So the goal is to weaken the old hive enough to hold off the swarming yet be strong enough to give a good crop of honey.

    This takes experience, but basically I make nucs from hives that I think are too strong. I raise or buy queens for them, but in a pinch one hive can raise their own queen, probably the strong one. I usually take about 3 frames of capped brood and one of honey/pollen to make the nuc. Then shake a couple of frames of bees into the nuc. I'll put my new queen in the nuc. If I don't have a queen, I'll move the old queen to the nuc (now it's just like they swarmed but I didn't have to catch it) and let the old hive raise the queen. If I don't have a new queen, I usually take less brood and bees for the nuc.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,595

    Default Re: I still am not sure how to split a hive.

    Quote Originally Posted by beedeetee View Post
    Your dilemma is one that beekeepers face each year. I sell honey. I don't sell honey from hives that swarm and I don't sell honey from hives that are weak.
    Well put. That could just about be "The Bee Keepers Dilemma" axiom.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Kihei, HI, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: I still am not sure how to split a hive.

    Michael- Is there a better time of day to do this? I've never split, but would like to use this simple method. I have one hive in particular that has lovely genetics, 2 deeps and a super just added a week ago that is now completely drawn but not full. I figure I can remove the super in 2 weeks and split with plenty of time left this summer for the bees to build up (plus I'm spoiled in Hawaii and don't have to winter). What I'm wondering about is the foragers, they would return to the original box, so should I try to corral most bees into the newer box in hopes that they haven't taken an orientation flight yet? Or does it even matter? Thanks.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    melvin,mi
    Posts
    188

    Default Re: I still am not sure how to split a hive.

    I just did the same thing mr bush just sugested last week deal them like cards. easy to do. checked and got queen cells today.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    43,492

    Default Re: I still am not sure how to split a hive.

    >Michael- Is there a better time of day to do this?

    Anytime will do, but evening has the advantage of them getting settled in and they may drift less. I don't worry about it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Andover, Ohio
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: I still am not sure how to split a hive.

    OK I went into my hive yesterday. Found an uncapped queen cell with larvae hanging from bottomof middle frame in top box. Found the queen in bottom box. Waiting on new hive should be here soon. If queen is still in bottom box when I do the split can I just put top deep on new bottom board and a new deep with foundation on top of each and call it a day?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: I still am not sure how to split a hive.

    >can I just put top deep on new bottom board and a new deep with foundation on top of each and call it a day?

    If things are fairly evenly distributed, yes. That is the point. Both need brood in all stages, honey, pollen and bees of all ages...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Andover, Ohio
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: I still am not sure how to split a hive.

    Thank you Michael I am looking forward to doing this. Should I feed the new split even if they are bringing in pollen?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lakeland, FL USA
    Posts
    762

    Default Re: I still am not sure how to split a hive.

    Not sure if anyone is wondering about top bar splits, but here is a video of Sam Comfort of Anarchy Apiaries running around doing all sorts of things, including splits with his hives:

    http://anarchyapiaries.org/hivetools/node/14

    .

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: I still am not sure how to split a hive.

    >Should I feed the new split even if they are bringing in pollen?

    If you gave them both resources and there is nectar coming in I see no reason to feed them. That would be more likely to hurt by setting off robbing than help. Queenless hives are more susceptible to robbing in my observation.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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