This article “How to Split a Beehive” was a collaboration between kiwimana and Peter Smith from the Franklin Bee Club. Here is Peter’s method of creating new queens and colonies. Thanks Peter for sharing this information.
It’s good practice to split your beehive in spring to prevent swarming and also to disrupt the varroa mites breeding cycle.
Now with a Freebie Handout, see below for an offer to get a Free Handout which you can take to the Beeyard with you. The handout includes the key steps in this article
How to split a Beehive – What do you need
- A strong colony in two full sized brood boxes, with about nine frames of brood.
- Two full sized Boxes with either empty or drawn frames (9 or 10 frames)
- A Bottom board, Hive Mat and roof for the new hive
- A Queen excluder
When to Split A hive?
During spring and summer, when the sources of nectar and pollen are abundant in your local area.
Can I Split a First Year Hive?
I would not recommend it, but if you have the miunium frames required below and you have enough time left in your season you should be OK.
How to split a Beehive – The Process
Because you shake the bees off the frames this is a great method to split a hive without finding the queen.
- Find at least four frames of brood with mainly eggs not older than 3 days in your old colony.
- Move these frames to a new box (shaking all the bees off the frames); placing the frames in the middle of the box. Shake any bees back into the lower box.
* Be very careful to make sure you don’t trap the original Queen in the new box*
The frames in the new colony should consist of:-
- A minimum of 4 frames of eggs
- One or two frames of pollen
- Two frames of honey
- A spare empty frame.
You should concentrate on getting eggs that are less than three days old, these will make the best Queens.
Have the honey and pollen on the outside of the eggs, the eggs should be in the centre of the frames.
- This empty box now full of bee less frames becomes the queen rearing unit.
- Add empty frames into the parent hive to replace the frames you have removed in a similar configuration as the new box.
- The queen excluder is now put onto the parent hive, with the box of beeless frames on top of this. Leave this configuration for 24 hours.
After 24 hours
- The top box will now be full of young nurse bees looking after the frames of brood with the original queen below the excluder.
- Take the new box above the excluder, and move it sideways. You should see plenty of nurse bees looking after the brood in the top box.
How Long to Wait After Splitting Hives – Five Weeks
Check that new box has a new laying Queen.
If you open the hive prior to the five week period you endanger the whole operation.
If you give this a go, please comment below on how it all went…