Splitting a Hive

I have been given some advice from Roger in HBKA in how to split a hive. – SPLITS

I spoke to Roger tonight about our hive and how to split if we are unable to locate the queen. When I described my hive he clearly felt it was growing really well and therefore splitting into 2 hives would be advisable.  THERE MUST BE EGGS ON THE FRAMES TO DO THIS AS YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE YOUR CURRENT QUEEN IS LAYING.

The ideal is leave the queen in the current hive (becomes known as the doner hive) however if you are not sure then ensure that there are eggs and nurse bees in both hives,

Step 1 – move 5-6 frames into the new hive. 3 should have eggs on them and 2-3 with broad and food. Ideally take the frames from the outer edges of the brood box. These frames need to have eggs and capped brood on them. Put these in the centre of the hive and then put new brood frames either side.  frames will eggs in the middle.

BroodBox Layout
New
New
New
Capped
Eggs
Eggs
Eggs
Capped/food
New
New
New

Step 2- shake nurse bees into the new hive . You can tell nurse bees as they tend to stick to frames and don’t fly. (You can put some forages in the new hive but they are likely to just return to the original hive. ) The nurse bees will convert an egg into a queen cell. If you have some queen cells with larvae in the doner hive then you could move some of these to the new hive.

Step 3 – feed the new hive with sugar syrup and close up for 3 weeks. After 2 weeks you should see pollen being taken into the new hive.

Doner Hive

Step 1 – if you can find the queen then leave her in the hive. if you can’t then make sure you leave some eggs behind and then they will make a new queen.

Step 2- the doner hive should be left with frames with eggs, capped brood and food. The forages will continue to collect nectar for feeding but there will also be food in the super.

Step 3 – add the new brood frames to the hive. these should be at the edges with the original frames put in the middle.

BroodBox Layout
New
New
Capped/Larvae
Capped/Larvae
Eggs/Capped
Eggs
Eggs/Capped
Capped/food
New
New
New

Step 3 – go back into the hive after a week and check that there are eggs.

If I find queen cells with larvae then advice would be to move some to new hive. If there are eggs on the brood then don’t need to leave any in the doner hive. If no eggs then leave queen cells in both hives.

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New Little beekeeper

We managed to find a beekeeper outfit to fit Zoey. She was still soo happy. Next task is actually coming to the hive in it.

First inspection

Today we finally opened up the hive. It was a very brief opening. I took off the fondant icing and added a super. Even though I didn’t look at the frames – there was a lot of buzzing in the main box and lots of bees coming and going. They were calm and even though they landed on me they were not angry.

I took the entrance block out to give more space.

Next week (weather permitting) we’ll open up properly.

Feeding

I decided it was time to give the bees a sugar hit in case their stores were low. I put a block of fondant icing on. Initially I could not see any bees from the hole on the crown board but I peeked after the fondant has been on for about 30secs. I could see at least one bee!!

Now to leave them for a couple of months.

Queen still in the cage

We did a brief check today – the queen was still in her cage. They had started to eat away at the end but ;limited progress. We decided to poke a hole in the candy at the end so the queen can get out as well as the bees eat some of the candy.

Once she is out we will need to start feeding the colony as the queen needs lots of food.

A look next weekend to see if we are through the worst!?

New Queen

Roy came round tonight with a queen in a cage and we briefly inserted into the colony in between 2 middle frames. Roy also added 3 frames that had some eggs as well as some brood and stores. We took the 3 worst frames out to dispose of.

He said to leave her 3-4 days and see if the bees have helped her to escape the cage. If they have then leave her and hopefully the bees will accept her.

You can then leave the colony for a week and then check to see the state of the frames and brood and hopefully there will be no more drone brood and then the colony can recover.

If this doesn’t work then there is very little to do – they have some eggs that they can covert into a queen cell and this gives the colony some hope.

The sad thing is that we had to dispose of our 3 frames that we took out. Adrian burnt them in the garden waste incinerator.