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Time to split?

1491 Views 6 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  chkin11
I have a 5 foot KTBH and they currently have 4 feet of it. I have about 9 bars of brood comb and maybe 3 bars of syrup plus 15 or so empty bars. I think I fed them too long and they began to fill the brood nest with syrup then built two queen cups and sealed them. About a week later the queen cells had holes in the side and they cleaned out the cells (i still have a laying queen). Well I took away the syrup but now they have built 4 more queen cups but have not yet sealed them, I'm not sure if they have eggs in them or not until I can do a full inspection. It also seems the population has exploded with bees coating the inside of the hive walls and floor, maybe due to recent high temps in the mid 90's. I'm assuming they are going to swarm once the queen cells are sealed. I check it everyday through the window, what is the average time the queen cells are sealed before they swarm? Just wondering when I should make the split once I see the cells capped.
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. Split them, put the queen cells with the split. Make sure you have the queen in the parent hive and leave only one queen cell in the parent hive.
If you are a little unsure and have entrances at each end of your hive you could deal the brood comb and stores between the two sides (equally distributed) and put two follower boards in between. If the follower boards don't fit tightly create a skirt around the edges with masking tape, or fix a piece of cardboard to the back slightly bigger than the follower board. Put an empty bar between the last two brood comb bars on each side.
The side with the queen in will carry on and assume they have swarmed.
The side without the queen will raise a new queen. You may find for the next few weeks they will produce a lot of honey as they will have less brood to look after so make sure you gap the honey gaps to avoid cross-combing.
An inspection after two weeks will tell you which side is which. If you want to keep it quick just look at the new bar you inserted between the brood combs. If there is brood on it this is the queenright side, if there is honey on it this is queenless side.
In 4 - 6 weeks time if the queenless side have not raised a queen you can very easily combine them again with the queenright side, or move a brood comb with eggs and larvae from the queenright side to the queenless side to give them another chance to raise a new queen.
Best of luck
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Excellent idea. Much easier than moving them to my other hive until it's sorted out. Thank you.
Should I wait until the new queen cells are capped or split now?
Capped is too late. The swarm leaves when the cell is capped.
Provided drones are flying you can split before queen cells are present. If eggs/young larvae are present the bees will raise an emergency queen from those. The queen cells just show the bees are on board and mean you won't have to wait two weeks for the new queen to hatch.
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