Splitting the beehive

My goal has been to keep about 6 beehives.  Last year I started with 2, ended with 1, and learned a ton about beekeeping.  That one hive is doing great, and there’s still about 3-4 weeks left on the major spring “bloom”, so it’s a good time to split the hive before it swarms.  The queen will stay in her original home, the “Alpha hive”.

I moved 6 frames into my ulster observation hive, which is a regular 5 frame deep nuc box with a special 6th frame top behind glass. I’m calling this new hive my “Oscar hive”.  It comes into the house, but the bees can access the outside through a tube connected to the window.  Officially it’s a homeschool project, but I’ll enjoy watching it as much as the kids will!

These bees walk through the tube to get outside the window.

Last year I got a hive box that is split in half, with 5 frames on one side and 5 frames on the other, with a divider board between them.  Each side has it’s own entrance and top feeder.  I moved 8 full frames and 2 empty frames into this box, equally split between the two sides.  These two new hives I’m calling “Bravo” & “Charlie”.

My top bar hive has now been dubbed the “Tango hive”.

Each of the new hives get frames containing a mix of capped brood, larva, unhatched eggs, nurse bees, and honey.  I reoriented the old hive so the entrance faces a new direction, and put the split hive box adjacent to it so returning foraging worker bees will have to decide which hive was theirs, with a portion “drifting” into the new hives.

Each half of this box is a small "nucleus hive".

Each of these new hives should rear a new queen from their young brood or unhatched worker eggs.  It takes 28 days for a new queen to grow from a fertilized egg to a mated & laying queen, and I’ll enjoy watching the progress along the way.

Hopefully this will all go well.

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