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Splitting A Hive

1501 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Chemguy
I have a couple hives that are two deeps each. I was thinking of taking the top two deeps and moving them off their existing hive and keeping them closed up for a few days. Both deeps on each hive has eggs brood and honey. I figure what ever box doesn't have the queen in it after the move would make their own queen am I correct or will I just kill my hives?

Any input would be appreciated.

Yeah this is my second year of beekeeping so I am a noobie! Sorry....
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I'm in my second year as well and I was tormented about making splits. I over complicated the matter considerably. I've now made about 10 this year and there's really nothing to it. As long as you have all the resources in each split they need, they will likely be okay. If the comb is dark brown it's hard for them to rework it, so your queen cells may not be as large as they could/should be, but you can notch the frame (look up OTS queen rearing) and they will make a good queen. I chose to pull a few frames from hives and start my splits in nucs. That kept me from having to rob as many bees and frames from the parent hive. I made my first splits early in the season, so they built up well during our fl

I'm going to make 4 or 5 splits today. Our flow is over, so I will have to feed them, but I want to try it and I'm gonna give it a shot.
Yes you can do as you mention. As Brad mentions above, making splits is really very easy. All the bees need is a frame with eggs and some supplies and they'll take care of the rest. No need to overthink the issue.

You can just separate the boxes and go away for a month (it takes that long for a new queen to be made, mate, and start laying. If you're curious, you can check the boxes 3 or 4 days after you separate them. The ones with the queen in it will look normal, the ones without a queen should have drawn out queen cells. Interesting but really optional.
Thanks so much for the advise. I also tend to over complicate matters. I love having a place to come and ask questions. Again Thanks!
I recommend reading this thread;

It gets those QCs started without disruption, Ray's version has you find the queen and move her. It works with whole hives too. You can just add the excluder without finding the queen, an excluder and an empty super in the middle will definitely get it done. You get to know how manygood cells are available without committing frames of bees.
This is my second year, too. I lost all but one hive over the winter and decided to do some splits. I went about learning how to do so, and very quickly got turned around, coming up with plans that were more and more extravagant and befuddling. Then, in one of those moments that sometimes happens, I realized that I knew some people who could show me how they do it. What I learned (again) is that I readily complicate things. I do far better when seeing and doing than reading sometimes.

So, I went over to help someone put together their own splits. The first time involved getting the queen cells drawn, the second making the actual splits, and the third checking on the splits. It was one of those moments like when you are assembling something out of the box, but it isn't going well, and then you realize: "Oh, when they say put tab A into slot B, they mean to put tab A into slot B!"

As Brad wrote, as long as the split has what it needs (pollen, nectar, brood, queen cell, nurse bees, space), you will have done everything you should. It looks like we have both used the same method (OTS a.k.a. Mel Disselkoen method, though I did not notch the cells). In my hands, all of the queens emerged in the splits and 4/5 were mated. I don't attribute that outcome to some level of skill, but rather plain ol' dumb luck and a handful of dragonflies.

Make the splits; you'll see that it is no big deal as long as you think about what the bees will need. You'll also have the chance to solidify your understanding of bee math! Oh, and also have a plan in place for what to do when the splits do or do not take off.
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