Brisbane North Split in Winter?

My hive (flowhive) seems to have a lot of acitivty looking at opening it up next week
As it is still winter (End if July) can I spilt if frames allow it or is it not the right time and wait.

@JeffH would be one of the best to answer that one! :blush:

I’m interested in this. My hive is so full.

Hi Ben, splitting a hive is a great way to prevent swarming. It doesn’t matter if you do it too early as long as you don’t chill the brood in the process. I did a split yesterday, however in doing so I left the remaining brood together & not separated by empty frames as in checker boarding. It’s an angry colony a fair way from my other hives. It’s in my best interest to not let it get too strong. I’ll let the split make queens from better brood after I make sure I didn’t accidentally take the queen.

Thanks Jeff
Will keep a close eye on daytime temps and have a go .
Jeff they are one of your hives from FEB 2019 and had a great harvest of honey last season but do suspect they did swarm at the end so hence want to create a second hive if possible . Being a amature and never being able to spot the queen can i evenly split the frames and hope they make queen in the second box .

Hi Paul, you can evenly split, however I prefer to take about 4 frames of brood with bees minus the queen. Then take that split away from the foraging range of the bees so that no bees return. My reason for not doing an even split is so that the main colony still produces honey. As long as there are new fertile eggs in the split, they will produce emergency queens. It’s good to check after 4 or 5 days just to make sure, as well as to make sure you didn’t accidentally take the queen. If that was the case, the main hive will make emergency queens.


Thanks Jeff for your reply and expert advice
Unfortunaly dont have a place to bring the second hive out of the foraging area
Could I still have second hive beside the main knowing its not ideal and hoping bees will remain in the second hive ?

Hi Paul, the bees that have done orientation flights will return to the main hive, leaving the bees behind that haven’t. You have to weigh up if there’s enough bees left behind to keep the brood warm during the cold nights ahead of us. Also, is there enough bees to defend against hive beetles laying eggs in the brood.

Hi Jeff, I still consider myself a beginner. If I do a split I’m assuming I need another brood box and queen to set up in?
Separate question… what are people using in place of the crappy core flute bottom in the flow hive?
I’m open to having someone lend me a hand if it’s best

Hi Ben, you don’t need a queen because you can let the bees make their own queen, as long as the split contains fertilized eggs or brood up to 3 days old. You definitely need another brood box to split into.

A suggestion would be to acquire a new standard bottom board to suit whatever size your brood box is. I’m guessing that yours is 8 frames.

1 Like

Just an update on my comment of the 25th of July.

We got a call from the lady where this cranky hive is. Bees were checking out gaps above her daughter’s unit back door. I was thinking it was time to go & have a look at that hive anyway, so this morning I had a look. The hive hadn’t swarmed or was even making initial preparations to swarm. Regardless of that I still took a strong 4 frame split out of the hive, replacing them with fully drawn stickies in a checkerboard fashion.

I found the beautiful looking golden queen, so therefore I know she’s not with the split.

I’ll divide the split into 2 nucs, letting them make new queens with different progeny.

Just thinking: I got 2 nucs from the split I did in July. 2 more from a heavy split I did earlier this year, as well as 2 more from the split I did during last spring. Not to mention at least 50 kilos of honey this year alone.

That cranky bee producing queen has been a real ripper.

1 Like

It is amazing how productive a well managed hive can be!
Have you been giving the splits frames of calmer genetics to raise new queen’s? Or just letting them go with the cranky one?
Cranky hives always seem to out-produce the quiet ones but it’s never as pleasurable working them. Always a trade off.

Hi Tim, yes I let the splits make new queens with quiet genetics, as well as productive traits.

I sell colonies with new queens, therefore it wouldn’t be a good practice to let the colonies get cranky.

I really should take a nuc with a good new queen to replace this hive. It would be no good me letting the colony make a new queen with quiet genetics on account that the drones in the area could be from cranky hives. Anyway the hive is well out of the way of anyone, except for the daughter when she ride-on mows near the hive. However she was happy not to get chased last time she mowed a couple of weeks ago.

Do you find that hives can get crankier as the queen ages? I have a couple of hives that were once fine but now they are becoming very difficult to work. These hives are still up there with my most productive but very un-enjoyable to work. They go straight for wrists, ankles and the top of my head.
I keep saying I must re-queen but when I see how well they are doing I just “man up” and keep persevering.

Hi Tim. No I have never found that a colony gets crankier as a queen ages. To the contrary, I saw it go the other way on one occasion, which got me thinking about the sperm the queens use to fertilize eggs. Seeing as queens mate with more than one drone, I wonder if all the sperm mixes together of whether she uses the sperm from individual drones. As one lot runs out, she starts on a new lot which changes the attitude of the progeny.

I cover my wrists & ankles. Plus I know I should wear a cap under my veil because I also cop the odd one on the top of my head & forehead. When it’s too hot to wear a shirt under my suit, I cop a few on the back & shoulders.

I split that split this morning, which turned out quite challenging because I had to shake bees off the old brood frames. That really stirred them up. I didn’t stir any yesterday because I used plenty of smoke (not that I didn’t use plenty of smoke this morning) & didn’t have to shake any bees. Plus I found the queen on the second frame, which made everything straight forward after that.

Thanks Jeff,
Think it’s time to re-queen with some more user-friendly genetics.

1 Like