SoCal Beekeeping

Hive split
March 17, 2019
P. Michael Henderson

I have this one hive that is just wonderful - not very defensive and very productive.  I want to split it and see if I can make two hives out of it.

A friend of mine came over today and we took one of the brood boxes and put it in another hive location.  We put an empty brood box under each of the split brood boxes.

I don't know where the queen is but my expectation is that the hive without a queen will make a new queen.  We're going on vacation so the bees will be left alone to do their thing.

[Update 4/15/2019] After four weeks I went into the hives to check on them.  One hive is doing fine - lots of brood and activity.  But the other hive does not have any sign of a queen or brood.  Also, no empty queen cells anywhere on the comb.

I didn't check the frames before we split the hive - I just assumed that there would be eggs and brood in both boxes.  I suppose that was an incorrect assumption.

So my friend came back and together we recombined the hives.  We put the thriving, queenright, brood box at the bottom and then a sheet of perforated newspaper on top of the box, then the brood box from the second (queenless) hive.  It's been a couple of days now and the hive seems to be doing fine (from the outside).  I see lots of activity around the entrance and no signs (lots of dead bees) that the two hives got into a fight.  I'll go into the hive in a week and see how they're doing and to remove any newspaper that the bees haven't chewed up.

I'll build up the hive and will try to split it again, either later this summer or next year.  But this time, I'll make sure there are eggs in both brood boxes.

The bees keep trying to teach me - it's a shame I'm such a dimwitted student:-)

[Update] The combined hive swarmed.  Then it threw off secondary swarms until there was no queen left.  The hive just died and wax moths took over.  I had to throw most of the frames away.  Very upsetting.