“Splits” refer to dividing a hive and have more than one viable hive as a result.


Kinds of splits

Simple Division Split – You take the hive and divide in two. Even out the eggs, brood, pollen, honey, and divide it up.  You don’t care where the queen is, just split and walk away.


Walk away Split – You take a frame of eggs, a frame of emerging brood and a frame of pollen/honey and put them in a 5 frame nuc, shake in some extra  bees (Don’t get the queen!), put the lid on and walk away. Come back in four weeks and see if the queen is laying.


Queen Replacement Split –  Do one of the above, but you introduce a bought queen. This has the pro of being three weeks ahead of the hive that is raising their own and the con of costing you time and money for  a queen. I’d recommend not using a nuc, but a normal hive body for this.


Swarm Prevention Split – If you have a hive that is going to swarm. Do it for them, split it and that hive won’t swarm that season. Take a each frame with a queen cell and put it in a nuc, add another frame with bees and honey/pollen and let them establish.


In all cases, I’d recommend feeding any nuc, no matter if their is a honeyflow on or not.


2 Responses to “Splits”

  1. David says:

    Hi, I’m doing my research for becoming a new beekeeper and have a few questions I’d like to run by you since you work with feral bees.
    1. When you capture an established hive and pull brood comb. Do you place this brood in a nuc box or a body and feed?
    2. Have you ever caught a swarm without a queen and introduced a bought queen? If so, how were the results? I know that the aggressivness of the colony is dependent upon the queen. If i catch a swarm, locate the queen and smash her, introduce a bought queen will they more than likely take her?
    3. On queenless hives, how in the world do they produce a queen? I don’t get it, can’t seem to grasp it. Where does the egg for the queen come from and how does it work?
    4. Africanized bees, besides their tendency to be very aggressive, will requeening remove that tendency over time?
    5. Disease/mites – do you seem to have more issues with this or less due to the fact that the bees are feral?



  2. J.P. says:


    1) Depends on the size of the feral hive you are capturing. Most can be handled by a 5-frame nuc, but some are large enough to require a full 10-frame Langstrom box. Regardless, you need to use a feeder to help the “new” hive establish itself.
    2) There’s always a risk of catching a swarm without the queen. In such cases, it’s best to merge them with another hive by adding another super, putting newspaper between the “old” established colony and the “new” caught swarm. It takes about 2-3 days for the girls to chew through the paper, which gives them plenty of time to acclimate to the scent of their new home. And I don’t recommend killing the queen of the caught swarm….at least give her a chance to prove herself first.
    3) Queens have the same genetics as workers. Only difference is that queens are fed royal jelly by the workers throughout her larval state, while workers only eat regular pollen and honey while larvae. The royal jelly allows a queens reproductive system to fully mature. If a hive catches on that it’s queenless, they find some eggs that are <5 days old, widen their cells, and flood it with royal jelly to force an emergency queen.
    4) Since queens dictate the genetic tendencies of a hive, AHB (Africanized Honey Bees) should disappear from the hive population through normal aging after about 13 weeks.
    5) I am currently apprenticing with a beek learning the ropes. His experience is that feral hives more or less have the same issues. Disease and parasites are more dependent on how well you manage a hive….are you taking precautions against varroa (screen bottoms, culling drone comb, etc.) and ensuring proper ventilation of your hive to prevent chalk/foulbrood, or are you putting all your faith in quick fixes such as pesticides and over-use of antibiotics?

    Recommendation: Read "Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping", a great primer to get you started on being a beek.

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