Splitting Hives

Splitting Hives

I’ve done this one!  It went really well. We didn’t have a clue where the Queen was until we saw eggs a few days later.  We created two additional colonies plus the original colony. The colony with the Queen even went on to produce a surplus of 13lb of honey that year.

  1. Smoke hive
  2. Remove 3-6 frames of bees from the original hive making sure there is a good mix of eggs, brood, bees and stores
  3. Place 6 new frames of foundation in the original hive
  4. Place 3 frames into each new hive making sure that each hive has eggs, brood, bees and stores
  5. Feed as required 
  6. Check 5 days later and keep your strongest Queen cell, cutting out the others

The hives with no Queens will raise emergency Queens from the eggs.

Worker and drone brood with emergency queen cell
Worker and drone brood with emergency queen cell (courtesy Laura Rittenhouse)
Empty emergency Queen cell
Empty emergency Queen cell (courtesy Laura Rittenhouse)

OK, OK … you want to see the Fat Bee Man in action.  Here he is splitting hives:

Further Reading

These how-to guides are provided for general interest and information only.  No liability is accepted for any injury or loss arising out of the contents of these pages.

5 thoughts on “Splitting Hives”

  1. Good question. From my understanding some queen cells might not have any egg or larvae in it. A good queen cell is one where you can see the larvae in it before it is capped. Failing that … a big queen cell rather than a small one.

  2. Hi I split two hives last month, April, my bees survived the winter and they are very strong already, i split one hive twice and one once, one split i went back in after three weeks and saw that they have produced a queen, i have been feeding them sugar water and I see there is lots of stored sugar water and pollen but I see no brood yet, I see there are some drones as well, but I don’t see any brood, i have no idea if the queen mated yet, how long does it take before the new queen starts to lay brood. On another hive I saw a queen cell about two weeks ago, I went back in and that same cell was gone, I didn’t see a queen and the bees were just waiting around in the hive like they had nothing to do, there was some stored sugar water and pollen but no brood and no queen, unless the queen was out or they made a bastard queen?

    1. Day 0 – split hive
      Day 0 – Their needs to be an egg that is 1 or 2 days old so the workers can feed it and make sure it is a Queen. Otherwise, no Queen
      Day 14 or 15 – Queen hatches out
      1-3 weeks for queen to mate and start laying.
      I.e. it can be more than a month from the split until you see eggs

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