Reply to MattV's question

Hi @MattV . I’m splitting hives right now. I make sure that the brood frames have a good covering of bees. Also I greatly reduce the entrances. I think you’d be safe to split now, provided you follow those guidelines.

Keep an eye on your hive’s populations, because bees are already swarming in S.E. Qld.


Thanks for the advice Jeff. I’ll split tomorrow as planned… reducing the entrance is a great tip. Thanks

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I did a split yesterday and reduced the entrance to 1”. Gives them time to establish themselves, especially when there are other hives around that could see an easy target for robbing.



Hi Matt, my wife (Wilma) checks on other beekeeping forums, as a matter of interest I guess. This is the only forum I have anything to do with. Anyway, she just told me that someone’s hive in Victoria caught them by surprise by swarming.

I’ve been busy today making bottom boards, so I can put splits in my few remaining bee boxes, which I’ll get stuck into tomorrow before the showers they forecast.

PS No such luck, I woke up to showers. Looks like I’ll be working inside today.

I did split my 2 hives on Saturday. A nice warm day and all frames very full of bees. not too much drone brood and no queen cells. I’ve never seen the frames so full of pollen. both splits got 2 frames of immature larvae/eggs, 1 frame of capped brood and 1 frame of capped honey. then shook another couple of frames of bees into the nucs to account for drift. the original hives are still quite active and new foragers are emerging from the splits and orienting. we have some flowers out in Brisbane at the moment and the last day has been a little grey but the shrubs are full of buds and Spring is well underway. I guess I’ll know in a couple of weeks if I made the right call.

You made the right call Matt, believe me. Take a look in 5 days to confirm emergency queen cells.

What I’ve been doing after the queen cells are identified, is splitting the splits further, so that the nucs are not overly strong by the time the queens start to emerge. This is to prevent swarms with the first queens to emerge.

This happened to me the other day. I obviously left the nuc too strong, resulting in 2 swarms simultaneously. One with not enough bees to cover even one side of a frame, with a virgin queen. The other with more than enough bees to cover a whole frame, also with a virgin queen. Anyway after adding a decent number of nurse bees, plus a frame of emerging brood to the smallest one, and today a full frame of emerging brood to the other one, they’re both well on their way to becoming decent colonies. I’ll check them in a couple of weeks to see if the queens got successfully mated. Not to mention the colony they left.

I took the tiny one away, so as to avoid some of the nurse bees returning to their original colonies.

moving on from the last question, I’d be interested to hear what the experienced beekeepers can recommend. one of the splits I have created, I intend to give to a friend who lost his colony last year. He runs a top bar hive and wants to move the langstroth split into his hive. My thoughts were that once the split is established and a mated queen is laying, he could checkerboard two of his empty frames between the frames I give him inside the nuc box. this would allow the bees to draw comb on his frames. Once the queen is laying in the top bar frames, transfer the new top bar comb and all the bees into the top bar hive. with a QX installed in his hive allow any brood in the remaining frames to hatch and then when empty, remove the langstroth frames. I could then clean the langstroth frames and heat treat to ensure no transmission of disease back into my colonies. Is this a sound plan or is there a better way?
thanks in advance.

That sounds like a good plan to me, except I would not bother with the QE, I would bring the brood frames, minus the bees home. Two straight frames of brood, with all the bees should be enough to get his bees started on the right track. You might have issues with the length of the bars, which can easily be overcome with cable ties & extra bars. Plus you might have to trim the corners of the comb off, so they fit.