How to properly split 1 hive into 2
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  1. #1
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    Default How to properly split 1 hive into 2

    I had a 2 deep hive with about 10-12 frames of brood. I took about 4-5 frames of brood with the queen, filled the rest of the box with empty frames, and moved this split to a spot about 7 feet away, facing 90 degrees away from their original direction.

    The rest of the frames from the original hive, I left on the spot. I left more frames of brood in this one, maybe 8. So the box now standing on the original spot now has a lot of brood and a lot of field bees coming back in, but is queenless. I see a lot of activity in this hive.

    The hive that has the original queen, 7 ft away, shows almost no activity. I don't think all the field bees left and went to the original hive location because I didn't see much activity at all.

    Should I worry that all the bees from this split went back to the old location, despite there being a queen in their box, and none in the old box?

    And how should I best go about evening out the workforce since I think the vast majority of field bees are in the old hive spot now.

    Thank you all for taking the time.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: How to properly split 1 hive into 2

    sounds exactly like what would be expected in the scenario you describe and what i have observed here when doing the same.

    as the brood starts emerging in the queenright split more and more bees will advance to foraging and all will be well.

    i wouldn't do anything but give it time and let things work themselves out.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #3
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    Default Re: How to properly split 1 hive into 2

    IMG_6816.jpg

    It's 8:25 PM. The queenless hive in the original spot is still teaming with activity. The other split and the nuc I just installed today are both quiet. The original hive has had a robber screen on. Since that hive currently has more bees and wasn't moved, should I take their robber screen off and put it in the smaller but queenright hive that was moved? Maybe that would cause them to reorient?

  5. #4
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    Default Re: How to properly split 1 hive into 2

    i'm thinking you just have mostly nurse bees and house bees in the queenright split at this time and that's why you're not seeing any orienting. when those bees get a little older and are replaced by emerging brood you will see activity.

    a robber screen wouldn't hurt if robbing is prevalent up there. in my yards i wouldn't expect to see a queenright nuc getting robbed. i don't think putting a screen on will change what you are observing at this time.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #5
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    Default Re: How to properly split 1 hive into 2

    This morning the supposedly queenless hive on the original spot is flying fine. The supposedly queenright split is dead quiet, not a bee in sight.

    Can anyone confirm this is normal, or should I check for something?

  7. #6
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    Default Re: How to properly split 1 hive into 2

    Agree it is normal. The only chance of being off is if you did not get the queen and they drifted back leaving the brood behind. Not at all likely. You can check through the inner cover or just look. I have a feeling you are not going to be comfortable until you do look. Put yourself out of your worry.

    Have fun.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: How to properly split 1 hive into 2

    Haha you're not wrong. I am worried. This is my one survivor hive from last year and my first ever split. I need to make sure I got it right. But I do not want to disturb them a second day in a row. I'll trust you guys and wait a week.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: How to properly split 1 hive into 2

    Do not pull frames. Looking through the inner cover hole or briefly lifting the inner cover is not going to hurt anything. If all you see is brood and no cover bees the queen flew back and you need to reload.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: How to properly split 1 hive into 2

    When I do side by side splits 2 brood chambers parent hive remove queen along with 3 to 3.5 frame of capped brood 1.5 frames of stage two brood NO EGGS 3-4 frames of drawn cells for brood and pollen bread 2- 3 sides of frame and open or capped honey frames
    Reason why I do it this way is: Queen will continue to lay in new hive and the capped brood would become the nurse bees needed as they hatch and the existing nurse bees you moved over with your split would become the field bees. you will start to see lot of activity in 2-3 weeks
    The parent hive LEAVE as much eggs as possible as so this would choose what eggs to turn into QUEEN CELL (this way is superseding of a hive, bees think that their Queen has died)
    You will very little activity in the new split for a week or so keep entrance small as possible to prevent robbing.
    in my splitting I never move the parent hive my split hive is left right beside the it's parent hive entrances in the same direction, and had no problem with drift.
    I would check both parent for Queen cells and check the split on how the queen is doing, eggs?

  11. #10
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    Default Re: How to properly split 1 hive into 2

    It's not abnormal because the nurse bees are probably stretched to cover the brood that's there in the QR hive. Making splits or mating nucs up in the yard they're going to stay in can be tricky. A lot more bees drift back than you'd guess. Sometimes putting grass in front of it helps more stay (usually does). But sometimes it's just hard getting them to stick around. So to compensate you shake extra bees into the split colony.

    To put your mind at ease simply pop the top on the split and confirm that there's still a good number of bees in it. Having a queen there certainly helps keep them home. When I've got a big colony that I want to split I've taken to doing kind of a miniature "Taranov" aka shook swarm. Find the queen and get her in the new box (take the frame she's on). Fill the box with frames (maybe a frame of honey in addition to the frame the queen is on)... then shake the rest of the bees into that box with her. You don't need to do every single frame, but the idea is to take most of the young bees so they can explode in wax building. Then the foraging force will drive back and take care of the brood when there's a sudden lack of bees to do so. The disclaimer is I do this only when there's already queen cells ready in the mother colony or when I have a cell to give them and when it's warm enough that they're not going to lose a bunch of brood to cold nights. The shook swarm will draw comb extremely quickly. The remaining bees and bees that fly back to the mother colony will care for the brood and it will be booming before you know it as all of those frames emerge. Timed correctly the new queen will be back and mated right when the brood is all emerged and she'll have a huge force of young bees to take care of a big broodnest so she'll lay her brains out right away.

    It is normal for a newer split to have almost no activity. Some of my mating nucs have almost no bees coming and going, but when you pop the top they're bursting with freshly emerged bees doing their thing. It's actually surprising how little flight there can be and still have good pollen and nectar incoming.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: How to properly split 1 hive into 2

    Thanks for putting my mind at ease. I did pop the top and saw plenty of bees crawling in the queenright split. And a day later, I was seeing SOME traffic, though nothing comparable to the now queenless split in the original spot. Speaking of heavy traffic, do you guys usually use the entrance reducer with that ~2" long entrance slot, or do you take the reducer out altogether when robbing isn't an issue? It seems like they're kind of backed up with that reducer there.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: How to properly split 1 hive into 2

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm

    You can even things out by shaking more nurse bees in the new location or by putting both of the hives in a new location next to the old location forcing them to choose. If you have a hive at the old location it will get all the foragers. To even out the population shake more nurse bees (bees on open brood) into the new location hive. As has been said, those will not forage immediately. They will have to be recruited to forage. You can also give the new location more honey and pollen to make up for their lack of foragers.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  14. #13
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    Default Re: How to properly split 1 hive into 2

    Or just give them a week or two - then the nurse bees will be old enough to forage

  15. #14
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    Default Re: How to properly split 1 hive into 2

    It's been a week since I split them up. Should I check them? I remember readings the queen cells are very fragile at a certain time and shouldn't be opened. Looking for more opinions on how to split them further, under what circumstances this would be recommended.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: How to properly split 1 hive into 2

    The queen should emerge 12 days after you did the split. I would wait at least that. She probably won't be laying until two weeks after that. So 26 days is probably a better plan.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  17. #16
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    Default Re: How to properly split 1 hive into 2

    Quote Originally Posted by ABK View Post
    Looking for more opinions on how to split them further, under what circumstances this would be recommended.
    Recap; You have QCs and brood on eight frames in the original hive which now has hatched out or nearly so. You want to split this hive again. How and how many is the question. Queen Castle would be the ideal set up to share heat.
    Timing; Not sure which day you did the split, posted on the 10th that means you are probably at or over the first queen hatching. Debatable if you have any extra QCs alive today which means stay out IAW MB's post. Missed this question earlier, apologies.
    Where you had added empty frames I would not be afraid to pull those frames to give plenty of room for a hunt for un - killed QC's. Plenty would just leave alone.

    It is all about the split date.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: How to properly split 1 hive into 2

    Saltybee, can you explain what you mean by pulling empty frames for hunting unkilled QC's? Plenty would just leave alone? What's that mean too?

    The split date indeed was June 10th. When I checked them June 17th, they had 5 QC's among 2 frames. I took one of those frames with queen cells and put it in yet another new hive box, with a brood frame from another hive, and some honey/pollen frames.

    So this Saturday will be 14 days after I created the splits. Will the cells definitely be emerged by then? And when they do emerge, what do those virgin queens do, before they actually fly out to get mated? And how long are they out of the hive mating?

    Thanks

  19. #18
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    Default Re: How to properly split 1 hive into 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    It is all about the split date.
    I was answering your question about additional splits a bit belatedly. I was not sure of the split date so I was not sure of the first hatch date. There is a little window of when the 1st queen kills the rest. You can find good QCs and even open cells after the first hatch. Some people have a strict leave them alone policy. I have not found much of a problem gently opening a hive a day or 2 after the scheduled hatch date. with you new frames to remove there would have been more space to work in. That is all I meant with the frame comment. There was a small window where you could have cut out a QC from a frame and made another split if you chose to do that. Your day 14 or 10 days after the split (same thing said differently) is closed. Just have to wait now.

    MB's Bee math is a good link to keep handy. Takes me a little while to sort out the days in that format but it has an explanation of the rules and the exception to the rules. http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearing.htm


    I see you posted on the 22 of June. Did not pop up in my in box until today, I would have answered sooner. I keep it simple and look on the same day in the next month or July 10 and do not look or worry for another week or July 17. After that is how are they acting before waiting a little longer or not.

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