Splitting a hive is an important process for beekeepers to maintain their colonies and prevent them from becoming overcrowded. A crowded hive can lead to reduced honey production, swarming, and disease. Splitting a hive involves creating a new colony from an existing one, and in this article, we’ll go through the steps of how to do it.
Step 1: Timing
Timing is crucial when it comes to splitting a hive. The best time to split a hive is during the spring or early summer when the bees are actively producing honey and the colony is strong. The goal is to split the hive before it becomes overcrowded, which usually occurs when the colony has reached around 80% of its maximum capacity.
Step 2: Equipment
To split a hive, you’ll need the following equipment:
- Two hives: You’ll need one new hive to create the new colony and the existing hive to maintain the original colony.
- Queen excluder: A queen excluder is a device that prevents the queen from entering the new hive and laying eggs.
- Frames: You’ll need frames with honey, pollen, and brood to transfer to the new hive.
- A feeder: A feeder is needed to provide food to the new colony until it becomes established.
- Protective gear: Always wear protective gear when working with bees to prevent stings.
Step 3: Locate the Queen
Before you split the hive, you’ll need to locate the queen bee. The easiest way to do this is by looking for her in the brood box. Once you locate her, you’ll need to separate her from the rest of the colony.
Step 4: Create the New Hive
Once you’ve located the queen, you can create the new hive. Place the queen excluder on top of the existing hive and place the new hive on top of the excluder. The queen excluder will prevent the queen from entering the new hive and laying eggs.
Step 5: Transfer Frames
Next, you’ll need to transfer frames from the existing hive to the new hive. Be sure to transfer frames with honey, pollen, and brood to ensure the new colony has everything it needs to get started. Transfer enough frames to fill about 80% of the new hive.
Step 6: Feed the New Colony
It’s important to feed the new colony until it becomes established. Fill the feeder with sugar syrup and place it in the new hive.
Step 7: Find a New Queen
Once you’ve created the new hive, you’ll need to find a new queen bee for the existing hive. This can be done by purchasing a queen bee from a reputable supplier or by allowing the existing colony to raise a new queen.
Step 8: Monitor Both Colonies
After splitting the hive, it’s important to monitor both colonies regularly to ensure they’re healthy and thriving. Check for signs of disease and pests, and make any necessary adjustments to the hives as needed.
In conclusion, splitting a hive is an important process for beekeepers to maintain healthy colonies and prevent overcrowding. By following these steps and using the right equipment, you can successfully split a hive and create a new colony. Remember to always wear protective gear when working with bees and to monitor both colonies regularly to ensure their health and success.