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I ordered 4lbs of Italian bees today. What I am wanting to do is split the package 2lbs and 2lbs. I have never done this before and I need some advise. I want to start two new hives. I was told I could do it this way but not much detail was giving to me on how (the important part). I understand how to install a package just not sure about the divide process.Thanks
 

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Couple of problems. One is a package only arrives with one queen, so you will need another queen from somewhere. Two, a package needs at least a month to get up and going because you are starting with no brood. During this time you can expect some die off but with four lbs there should be strong enough to make it. With 2 lbs you are really putting them behind and will really have to pour the feed on them to get the hives strong enough for the winter. Remember, they will only produce enough brood that the bees can cover, so by reducing the bees they will be producing less brood until the population gets built up.

I would order up a second package if you want two hives. Or...build the first one up really strong and by mid summer you may be able to make a strong split soon enough to have too good hives going into winter.

good luck.
 

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I would order up a second package if you want two hives. Or...build the first one up really strong and by mid summer you may be able to make a strong split soon enough to have too good hives going into winter.
I second ALPHA's advice
 

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Wow, this is too weird. I was at a beginning beekeeper's course today at Eastern Missouri Beekeepers Association's bee seminar. The same question was asked and I answered pretty much the same way.

One interesting point, the package installer assumed you could "just get a queen" like they have them available just about any time of year. I said April is a month of high demand for queens and one might not be available on short notice once he got his package.

I suggested he install the package, see how things go, shop for a queen, then decide if a split is prudent, provided he could find a queen.

Weird.

Grant
Jackson, MO
 

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OK. I am odd man out. All of the previous posters are correct, however....With Sheri's packages, we manipulated the frames heavily, and on June 3rd, removed all of the frames of brood(about 8), except one with eggs and the queen. These frames(with bees attached) where walked over to a new location and placed in a brood chamber. They made their own queen, and in 3 weeks the old queen had the first hive full of brood again. Both hives made about the same honey as Sheri's own hives did. It can be done, and we regularly do it. Timing is important, with temperature and nectar supplies being critical.. It would be better to purchase queens, I agree, but some days.....
I guess i am a little crazy???

Roland
 

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If you already have a few strong hives, or more, you might get by at dividing up the four pound package into two - two pounds each. If have a queen available for each and you have a frame or two of emerging brood you can boost the package bees with, you may be able to pull it off.
 

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Well, here is what I am doing. Might not be what others are going to do, but this is what I will be doing.

I am getting a 4lb package of bees with a queen and an extra queen. Why? I was going to start with 2-2lb packages of bees to begin with. Cost of a 2lb packages of bees is $74. This would be $148 for the two packages.

A 4lb package is $94. Add an extra queen for $23. Total: $117. A bit of a savings. However, you must order them at the same time to make sure you get the extra queen at the same time as the package.

This may or may not work. However, a local beekeeper recommended 2lb packages and this is what he uses to start a new hive. I could be wrong in my thinking, but this is what I am doing for at least two hives.

My plan to split is like this:

Put 1/2 the bees in the first hive, add queen. Put the remainder of the bees in the second hive, add queen.

Feed with sugar syrup and pollen patties.
 

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Wow 4 pounds of bees is a lot of bees. I only buy 2 lb package, but I do get mine put in the last week of March. When are you getting you package? I split and shake package from my early started packages. I make all my comb honey from splits from my package bees.
What you want to do is put all 4 lbs w/queen in one hive and then do a full box split 5 week later. It will take atless 5 gallons of feed to get the job done.
Best of luck.
 

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I ordered 4lbs of Italian bees today. What I am wanting to do is split the package 2lbs and 2lbs. I have never done this before and I need some advise. I want to start two new hives. I was told I could do it this way but not much detail was giving to me on how (the important part). I understand how to install a package just not sure about the divide process.Thanks

You can do it if you get 2 4lbs and a nxet queen to start 3 hives
and Feed Feed with sugar syrup and pollen patties


BEE HAPPY Jim 134
 

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While looking for package bees in 2010 a few days ago, I found this: OB.

"In addition to our normal 2# and 3# pkgs, we are also offering a 4# pkg with two queens. I can give a decent price on the 4# unit. You need some know-how to handle the 4#. You will be splitting the bees into two units." >> http://www.eberthoney.com/PackageBees.html

First time I've ever seen that option. I wonder how the bees "get along" with their queen? I suppose you have to keep them from releasing her for a couple of extra days, than if they had only one queen.
 

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Can you do it? Yes, you can split it 4 times for that matter. I am curious of why you want to do it? Did you order one package and then decide you wanted two and could not get them? Why not just buy two packages to begin with? If I did anything I would install 3lbs in a hive with the queen and put another queen and 1lb of the package in a nuc. A lot also I guess depends on when you get the bees. Get them late and you want all the bees you can get to build up.

For instance I know some people who have ordered packages for my area and will not get them until May 10. Our main flow will be gone by the end of may if we get no rain so I woulf want to capitalize on those three weeks with a larger colony. Your way will probably be fine, thats just how I would do it. Keep us posted on your progress.
 
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