Hive split?
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Thread: Hive split?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Traverse City, MI
    Posts
    83

    Default Hive split?

    Hello all,
    I am a new beek with one hive from a five frame nuc that is now in one deep that has nearly ninish frames drawn out. Adding another brood box next week. I live in northern lower peninsula Michigan, and I am wondering if I could split this hive, attempt a queen introduction with new colony, and both hives still have enough time to build enough stores for winter. I am sure there is not enough info here, and know that nothing is absolute. I am also willing to tend this one colony, and let them be bees...knowing that local beekeepers advice would be better, I am wondering what are some more experienced keepers thoughts?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,525

    Default Re: Hive split?

    Theoretically the answer is, probably, yes.

    But I would not advise it because to do so will leave you with two much-smaller colonies to care for from now until a year from now. This will require extra skill and vigilance, and increased risk of total loss. Since these are your first bees, things will go better in the long run if you take it slow and learn what you need to know about caring for a full-sized colony.

    If you're mad for more bees, and don't want to buy more, you could make a swarm trap and see if you'll get lucky.

    Or keep an eye out for nucs that were made up to avoid swarming that prove to be too many for their keepers. These are usually for sale in late June/ early July and they are often less expensive than spring nucs. These will also require extra care and attention, but at least you'll have one full-sized colony as a resource for them, and with which to compare growth patterns.

    Have fun with your bees.

    Enjambres

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Bay City, MI 48706
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: Hive split?

    I would not do a split until you have 4 full frames of broad to give each split.
    and with adding a laying queen no later then July 1.
    Paul 15 years 15 hives TF

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Traverse City, MI
    Posts
    83

    Default Re: Hive split?

    Thank you both for your thoughts. Funny, I have built four traps, but nothing yet. I am on a local email group, and missed a swam call due to mowing the lawn...I would LOVE some free bees, it is good to hear a number of frame suggestion before a split, I too do not believe I am experienced enough for changing what the girls need to do. But wanted to ask. Thanks again

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,610

    Default Re: Hive split?

    I would want two ten frame deeps of bees and brood and honey before I did the split and I would want that before the end of June at least and that may be pushing it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  7. #6

    Default Re: Hive split?

    A splitting always depends on the resources.
    If you have drawn comb and food combs you can make a weaker split, for example a split with two frames of capped brood, soon emerging, and the queen, which will go on laying into the drawn comb and with bees having enough food.
    Give them 2-4 frames of drawn comb and 4 frames of honey and pollen for example.

    This at a new place in your bee yard.
    Still, you need a high density of bees in the original hive, because itīs better to brush more nurse bees into the split with queen.

    The queenless never leave without food combs if there is no flow, because they have the open brood to nurse until these is capped. Density must be high enough to warm the brood, meaning the bees must cover the brood frames.
    If there is flow this part has all the foragers and will be content. They need some weeks until there is a laying queen but until then the other part is strong enough to donate an egg comb if something happens to the queen while on mating flight.

    If anything goes wrong you can combine the two parts before winter preparations.
    Itīs really better to have two hives with laying queen going into winter, but you need to care for the resources.

    A big hive needs much stores for winter and if there is no flow or bad weather you have to feed them in late summer.
    Some colonies use all stores from spring to breed or they are harvested. If so they starve without being fed.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Hive split?

    If I was to spit it I would want a mated queen. And build it up to a couple story's high in a nuc box. Once it gets going you could feed the main hive some cap older brood

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