Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

Split Questions

1599 Views 9 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Ben Little
Forgive me for the length of this post, but I have a few questions.

1. I would like to split one of my hives to do two things: increase numbers and prevent the hive from swarming. It's pretty huge already, so I'm guessing swarming is imminent. And besides who wouldn't want more hives. Can this be accomplished in the same split, or will they inevitably try to swarm regardless of whether or not I split them?

2. For the purpose of swarm control and letting them make a new queen, can I wait until they make queen cells to do the split or should I go ahead and split then let them make cells? Wondering if they make the cells for swarming if they'll go ahead and swarm anyway regardless of the split or not.

3. I want to leave the old queen in the parent hive, since she was born in August of last year. Is that cool if she stays in the parent hive, or will her swarming instincts tell her it's time to move on to a new place?

4. For putting the split together in a nuc, does 2 frames of brood, 2 frames of honey, and one frame of drawn comb (all with accompanying bees) sound adequate?

TIA folks.
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
if you wait until the bees build swarm cells they will probably swarm even if you split.

What I do is this: Take two frames of brood with attached bees, one frame of Honey and pollen, and two empty frames place them in a nuc, with the queen. close it up and that is our split. I like to move it to an out yard to prevent foragers from drifting back to the parent hive.

I replace the stolen frames with undrawn frames on the outboard. In 3 days you will have queen cells. I tear down or harvest all but 3. When the queen hatches she will take over as ruler of that hive. by doing it in this way the bees usually do not swarm, and your honey production is not harmed.

Meanwhile the nuc is ruled by a queen that you know is a good producer, and will strengthen quickly.
agree with tenbears, move the queen out with your split. this simulates swarming, the stronger hive can do a better job at making a new queen, plus the new queen has a good chance of being as good as her proven mother.
Size alone does not indicate swarming. Go into your hives and look for indications of swarming; brood nest becoming honey-bound, and most importantly queen cells. If they are not yet in swarming mode, then you can do a normal split. If they are, you will have to take that into consideration.
Size alone does not indicate swarming. Go into your hives and look for indications of swarming; brood nest becoming honey-bound, and most importantly queen cells. If they are not yet in swarming mode, then you can do a normal split. If they are, you will have to take that into consideration.
My first thought re: size.

This is a very young queen and probably won't swarm unless she has to. By that I mean no room. Very easy to to get a split from this since it is , as you say, a strong hive.

I'd go Richard Taylor style myself. Whoever I am reading at the moment seems to me to be the best!

Put a shim between the top and bottom brood box for queen cell room. Pull out frames with queen capped queen cells and another one or two. Put these above an excluder and let the nurse bees cover them. Put all the rest in a new box and leave on the old stand. Put queen cell(s) brood and frames of honey and pollen in a new box anywhere. You won't lose foragers since there are none.

I'm probably putting my own interpretation this. I will stand being corrected. New box equals new home for them.
See less See more
I do just like tenbears but as has already been said a queen born in Aug is not prone to swarm this year.
As long as she has room to lay she should be alright.

If your going to raise a queen in a nuc it needs lots of bees. I've raised several two and three frame queens and they ain't worth a dime. Four packed brood frames is my minimum. Five is better, six is better yet.
But to get the best queens put your old one in a nuc with three or four frames and let the hive build your new one. They have enough bees of the right age to build a good one.

I believe the nutrition they get before their capped cannot be stressed enough.

My best queens are raised after the summer solstice.
Made up a 5-frame nuc with the old queen today. Put in 2 frames of mostly capped brood, 2 drawn frames, and a frame of honey. The parent hive had built about a half dozen queen cups w/o larvae, so they have a bit of a start already. Here's to hoping they get on with it.
nice move dude, that nuc should take off very nicely. i've harvested in the first year from nucs made up like that. be sure and check for eggs in the parent hive in about a month from now.
I never understand the concept of not re-queening a split with a bred queen and therefore not losing 2 brood cycles of seasonal production getting built back up. Emergency queens are often smaller and of lessor quality than supercedure, swarm or bred queens. I would suggest taking a stick and marking the entrance location of the original hive. Next using equal frames of brood, eggs and food,make your split into two hive bodies of similar appearance and then place both hives facing the same as the original entrance direction, approximately a foot to each side and slightly ****ed towards the orginal location. Watch the field bees as they are returning to the hive at the time of the split and you will see them re- orient to hives. Move the hives so the field bees are reorienting equally to both entrances and then leave them for a few days. Add a bred caged queen to the queen-less split 24 hours after the split and plan on checking and releasing her after 36 more hours. Finally you can move both hives up to 2 feet back and facing forward and you end up with 2 balanced hives, both ready for production in about 2 weeks and you didn't have to move either 2 miles and back.
See less See more
I will be making 50 + splits the beginning of July and I will be using all mated queens because our season is so short I can't afford to lose any production in the hives, I will be buying locally mated queens that I like the genetics of from years of purchasing, next year I would like to have a queen rearing system in place to keep all of my own queens on hand at a smaller cost. Because it does take time and money to raise queens properly and any failed attempts at raising a queen will set you back when you just make a split and use the split to raise the queen as I have done time and time again and came out the other side with poorly mated or nothing and laying workers, usually too weak to make it through the winter.

So I suggest either leaving queen rearing to professionals or insert a mated queen that (you raised) into your splits. Depending on your area and climate it is difficult to say how many months you have of good weather . But this is just my opinion :)

I believe that Joel has the same opinion
See less See more
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.