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The Basics of Splitting a Hive for a New Colony

If you already have one colony, you may be able to create another without purchasing new bees. Believe it or not, bees will rebuild their population quickly if they have a strong start. Bees have a natural reproduction process called swarming in which half of the colony and the queen exit the hive to create a new one. As a beekeeper, you want to prevent swarming to avoid losing half of your colony. With that said, a manual split is a good alternative—check out the basics of splitting a hive for a new colony.

What Is a Hive Split?

A hive split is when a beekeeper decides to make two colonies from one when the mother hive gets too overcrowded or shows signs of swarming. Both colonies need brood, honey, pollen, and adult worker bees. With that said, you should never attempt to split a weak or unhealthy colony, as it may result in more issues than solutions. Now that you know what it is, let’s take a look at the basic steps to splitting your hive.

Set Up a New Box

First, you must set up a new box in a new location. Although it’s possible to create a new hive in the same yard, the bees may have the urge to return to the mother hive if you place them too close together. For that reason, you should consider setting the new hive at least a mile or more away from the original.

Move Honey, Pollen, and Brood

Because your new colony will need a little help getting started, you should move honey, pollen, and brood from the original hive to the new one. For instance, four to five brood frames at different developmental stages should be a good starting point for your newly established colony. Next, bring a few frames of honey and pollen so the bees can feed and get to work as soon as they arrive.

Add Your Bees

Lastly, you should add your bees to their new hive. As a good rule of thumb, you should gently shake three or four frames of bees into the new hive. As they adapt to their new location, they should get to work as soon as possible. Although many beekeepers avoid taking the original queen with the new colony, it doesn’t matter where she ends up, as the queenless colony will make one as soon as they realize their need for a queen.

After learning the basics of splitting your hive for a new colony, you may be looking for bee hives for sale in Billerica, MA. You can prevent swarming and contribute to bee population growth by manually splitting your hive.

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