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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All!
I am a 3rd yr beekeeper. I have a 42" top bar hive...I am wondering if i could split this hive with a follower and run two independent hives with their own queens and bees. I could drill holes so the entrances are on the opposite side of the hive. In the past the existing queen and bees have only used half the hive. Any thoughts or experiences with this will be appreciated. I am considering building a Warre hive. I have a queen and 3 pnds of bees coming in a few weeks. Thanks in advance for all the great advice :)
 

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You say in the past the bees have only used half of the space. I don't want to assume anything here but just guessing this was your first hive and has made it through the winter, etc. If so, you have a track record with the hive, which means that you could probably split it using the follower board and do exactly as you state. However, keep this in mind, just because 1 hive of bees act a certain way, it does not mean another will do the same. Which basically means if this new hive finds better food, etc it may outgrow their part of the hive faster and you may have to move them.
 

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You say in the past the bees have only used half of the space. I don't want to assume anything here but just guessing this was your first hive and has made it through the winter, etc. If so, you have a track record with the hive, which means that you could probably split it using the follower board and do exactly as you state. However, keep this in mind, just because 1 hive of bees act a certain way, it does not mean another will do the same. Which basically means if this new hive finds better food, etc it may outgrow their part of the hive faster and you may have to move them.
Thank you for the reply. You are right with the assumption that this is my first colony to make it through a WY winter...my first queen and bees absconded. I am happy that everything seems to be going well with this colony...they are real active as the day temps are in mid seventies and at times we freeze at night. I still have the straw bales around the hive and have been feeding them...seems like the right thing to do....so active and not a blossom in sight out here. From your response I am thinking I should build another hive...if not just for the sole purpose of having somewhere for either queen and bees to swarm to. I am very new at this. We did harvest a gallon and half of honey last yr. Thank you for your thoughts on this!
 

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Yes you could certainly run a hive with a colony in each end. I would recommend having two follower boards in between and backing them with a pieces of corrugated cardboard slightly bigger than the follower to help in having a better seal. You obviously will have trouble if one (or both) of the hives out grows the area you have given them but this work well as a stop gap whilst you build more hives and there are worse problems to have.
I have considered running a v.long two queen kTBH like this combining the colonies in the middle and relying on the honey barrier to keep the queens apart. If it works it could be quite prolific.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thanks for the info guys...I am gonna install the queen into the box with the other. At the least it will buy me time to build another hive. I am not so sure that the bees will outgrow their quarters though...pretty short growing season here in wyoming. It will certainly be easier to insulate the colonies come winter if they are both in the same tbh
 

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If they are not filling a 42" top bar hive, you need to manage them better or get a new queen. Feeding empty bars into the brood nest will encourage them to expand the brood nest. You should have trouble keeping them from filling it all...
 
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