Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Q&A: Splits for urban beekeepers. How do you handle splitting hives, specifically the recommendation of a two-mile separation from the original hive?

One Answer:
You don't have to move splits you make in your yard to a distant location, looking to avoid the loss of foragers you put in the new colony returning to the original colony.

You can leave a split in the same yard. The young house bees who have not yet flown will stay with the brood. Plenty of extra bees shaken into the split box will insure that there are enough to keep the split brood warm, especially this time of year.One has to be careful not to feed for a couple days or returning foragers will signal the mother colony to start robbing the little split. They might do this anyway, so one has to reduce the entrance of the split to pretty small and keep an eye on it. One old time beekeeper (C.C. Miller) never moved splits away from his apiary. He would shake all the bees off the frames he made the split from, even using frames from multiple colonies, then would put the empty brood frames in a box on top of any colony separated by a queen excluder. Nurse bees will move up to cover the brood in a couple hours who had never left their home. He would then remove the box and put it anywhere he chose. The bees would stay put!

1 comment:

  1. I read about this method of splitiing and have used it this method and it works better than the split and forget. as long as the brood is not left too lng and it is a relative warm (for spring)