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  1. #1

    Default Split a new hive in the first year?

    I am new to beekeeping this year. I have read a lot of info and still learning more by doing.

    My situation currently:

    Installed a package hive on April 13.
    Using only medium, 8 frame boxes.
    Currently have 4 boxes. 2 full of everything, 1 full of honey and a new one on top that I just added.
    I am told that the spring honey flow usually stops about this week in my area.

    Now my question:

    I have from the beginning been told that I wont get any honey the first year. I find this hard to believe - with the amount of honey I am already getting. But I am fine with that.

    I have recently read that its possible to split a new hive that is thriving into two. Is this a good idea for a brand new first year hive?

    I would love to be able to split already - Im kicking myself for not getting more bees and hives at the beginning of the year. I am truly loving beekeeping.

    Thanks for any advice,

    Matt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    930

    Default Re: Split a new hive in the first year?

    You still have time to make a split if you can get a mated queen (might be a little late for them to raise one and get new foundation drawn out) and you are willing to feed, feed, feed. You might want to consider just making up a 5 frame nuc and overwintering that rather than trying to get a full hive up and going.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Moyock, NC, USA
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: Split a new hive in the first year?

    If you can stand to lose 4 maybe 5 bars of bees, then go for it. That would be the worst case scenario. well almost. You could kill your queen in the process and lose a months' production on the original hive and the new split.That is what I did.
    But if you can get 4 - 5 bars with everything in them,honey, brood, pollen, (including freshly laid eggs) you could be successful. But you should do it soon if you decide to.
    Put an empty comb in the middle of the hive so the queen will lay eggs in it, the next day (check for eggs in that comb) take that bar and a few others and transfer them to the new hive. Ideally you want to know where the queen ends up, but if there are fresh eggs in each hive the bees will have everything they need to rear a queen. You could feed the split some syrup to help them along for the transition. You will see peanuts or outy belly buttons (Queen cells)within a few days.
    Get a queen calender and it will give you the timeline.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,766

    Default Re: Split a new hive in the first year?

    I've split a new colony that was hived from a package many times. It's not always great and a lot depends on the flow, weather, etc. You can't always predict what will happen. When I do a summer split I try to feed as if we were in a dearth (and we often are). I rarely let them raise their own queen if we're definitely in a dearth. I also prepare myself for wintering over in a nuc if I have to. The issue isn't getting a successful split, it's getting the split colonies to build up enough. When I take fall honey, I'll add a frame or so of honey to summer split hives if they need it to help things along.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,025

    Default Re: Split a new hive in the first year?

    Quote Originally Posted by thegriffiths View Post
    I am told that the spring honey flow usually stops about this week in my area.
    Keep in mind that the weather this year has been running about a month ahead of usual as far as things blooming. When judging honey flows, you look at what's blooming, not the calendar.

    I have from the beginning been told that I wont get any honey the first year. I find this hard to believe
    I always tell new beekeepers not to expect honey their first year, but, there are too many variables to make that a hard and fast statement.

    I have recently read that its possible to split a new hive that is thriving into two. Is this a good idea for a brand new first year hive?
    Depends on the colony and on the beekeeper! If you've got a strong hive and are willing to try things, go for it.

    Lastly, are you involved with a local beekeeping club? There are some good ones in WV:
    http://www.wvbeekeepers.org/Associations.html
    Clubs are great places to find mentors and get connected with nearby beekeepers.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Split a new hive in the first year?

    Thanks for all the advice. I think I am going to hold off and just let the hive produce.

    I am going to be travelling soon for work and I am afraid I wont be around enough to catch any problems that arise.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Maryville, tn, usa
    Posts
    208

    Default Re: Split a new hive in the first year?

    I run two deep 10 frame hive bodies here in East Tn to get through the winter it is what I was told to use when I lived in Oklahoma and Virginia I would guess you need about the same for winter stores so as a safe bet make sure you have at least 60lbs on the hive before you split. I'd say thats the safe way to go but maybe not the most rewarding... Beekeeping has plenty of challenges i try to not make more than what I get to deal with as is...

    Good luck

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