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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Exeter, CA, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default My First Split. How soon can I do this?

    Background: I've had bees for less than a year. Built a top bar hive in May 2011 and in June, a small swarm adopted the hive. I looked in on my hive about Jan 12 and there were a few hundred bees and no brood, plenty of honey. It was warm in CA, so I changed the water outside the hive and left it alone hoping it wouldn't die out.

    Today: I showed up at the hive and there were bees waiting to get into the few open holes! I unplugged all the summer entrances I had shoved sticks into in late fall as I was closing things down for the winter. When the top came off, I couldn't believe how many bees there were. They were just practically overflowing. There were six combs of brood in all stages and many others with good new honey and lots of pollen stores as well. The picture of a healthy expanding hive. I couldn't have been more pleased!

    The Question: When can I split this hive? Or, should I split this hive? I want more colonies, but I also don't want to mess it up and kill all my bees. Do I dare split with a colony that is less than a year in one location? I would love to hear the voices of experience. Thanks, Chris, Exeter, California.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,570

    Default Re: My First Split. How soon can I do this?

    It doesn't matter how long they have been there. What matters is how strong they are, how fast they are growing and what time of year it is. Swarm season varies by location but that is the best time. I like strong splits. Bees need a certain "critical mass" to really take off and small splits do not have that. How many bars will depend on how wide and deep they are. It's easier to compare to a Langstroth. If you have about the equivalent of two deep ten frame Langstroth boxes of bees, brood and honey, then you have enough to make two strong hives.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Exeter, CA, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: My First Split. How soon can I do this?

    Thanks, Then I'm going to wait until they finish building out the last 5 bars. I feel better about this. Besides, they aren't cramped for space yet.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lakeland, FL USA
    Posts
    760

    Default Re: My First Split. How soon can I do this?

    I wish I would have seen this thread a month ago.

    I had to buy a new queen today to remedy my failed experiment. But all failures lead to experience, right?

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