Can anyone tell me if It would be wise to use a four frame Nuc box for a split (that is the only Nuc I have) from my flow hive? If so, should I put 2 frames of brood and larvae, plus 2 of honey and pollen? I’m hoping they will make their own queen. I’m in southern Australia where it’s currently warm, so is this an ideal time to perform this manoeuvre?
Thanks to anyone who has time to respond.
Yes you can do that
Move it at least three metres away from the parent hive. You need plenty of nurse bees so you take another three or four brood frames and shake all the bees into your new box.
The flying bees will return to their home leaving the nurse bees behind.
If you are adding two frames of brood then one full frame of stores should do then you can put a frame of foundation in. Just keep an eye on them in case they need feeding.
They will build lots of emergency cells. These do not need thinning out, leave the bees to it.
Getting back to those brood frames, I would put one frame with eggs and young larvae in and one frame of emerging brood which will give you lots of new bees pretty quickly. You can tell a frame of emerging brood because the capped brood has empty cells in the middle where brood has emerged (I say empty though the queen may have laid it up and there may be eggs there
Just be careful not to move the queen with the frames. I want to do what you are planning, but I can never spot the queen, I suppose if you do accidentally move her she will be easier to spot in a nuc. Cheers Tim
Thanks Tim. Yes, I will be looking out for her!
Many thanks Dee. Great info and points I hadn’t considered.
Silly question but can I ask why you are wanting to split your hive so soon? Are you wanting a second hive or more honey at some point? If you have only had your bees for a few months then you may weaken them by splitting, especially after having such a bad start to the season down south. I would wait till next spring and then split, this will ensure that you have a strong colony to take through the winter.
Thanks Rod for your reply.That seem to be the idea I am getting from those I speak to…that I should wait till next spring.
I am anxious to get another hive, but perhaps this is not the way to go at this stage. I really value the advice from those with experience and maybe it’s better going into Autumn with a stronger hive, rather than removing frames at this stage.
Thats cool,it would be best not to split in the first year, however come spring (early August for us in Aust) making split will reduce your chances of your original hive swarming (only if it is strong), so you are “killing two birds with the one stone” if you get my drift.
I am no expert- but I made a split from 3 frames taken from an 8 frame hive in spring and it went well. As Rodderick said we were killing two birds with one stone- the split was for swarm prevention and also for increase. Still though- my own hives still have plenty of drones in them- and I don’t think it would be too late in the season to make a split? However it will slow down your main hive- and the split will take several months to build up. If you are wanting your main hive to produce lots of excess honey this season then perhaps you should wait until next spring to make the split- but- if you don’t mind a slow year this year then I wouldn’t think it is too late to make a split now.
If you accidentally put the queen in the small split- the bees in the main hive will make another queen- which will slow them down further- but I am sure they will manage the process well.
the bees in my split made a new queen 100% on schedule- to the day. It was amazing to see how methodically they go about the process- and how exact the timing of each phase can be. Within just 3 days of making the split they had produced 8 or 10 queen cells. These were then capped exactly on schedule- hatched on the day I thought they would- and I had one mated queen laying eggs exactly when I expected to see them. I took over 8 weeks before the hive started to build up- but now 13 weeks later they have filled out 10 frames and are storing honey. The hive we took them from is a proven productive hive with gentle bees- and it is great to know that I now have another hive with the same queen stock.
Perhaps @JeffH could chime in- as I think he makes late season splits routinely?
Michelle, Thanks for your reply. You certainly had a great strike rate with your split. Well done!!
Michelle, Thanks for your reply. You certainly had a great strike rate with your split. Well done!! It’s fascinating to hear that they are so precise in their timing.
I have decided to take the sage advice of experienced beeks and wait till next Spring to do the split.
The Flow Hive I was wanting to split from is about one year old and has not swarmed as far as I know. It has been slow to fill the flow frames but I’m more interested in the bee health and behaviour than the honey at this stage. Best of luck and thanks again.
Fascinating story about the queen’s timetable!
May I know how long it took from the capped queen till you noticed the new mated queen has started laying?
I noticed in my hive that there was a newly capped queen on Boxing Day and it has since emerged. But I have not seen her or any egg laying activity as such. So i was just curious
By my timetable the queen hatched 8 days after I saw capped queen cells. 4 days after that she was due to mate- and 14 days later I inspected and saw small larvae- a few days old- I didn’t see her- or eggs but I rarely see eggs or hunt after the queen.
Here is a good queen timetable- a split/emergency queen can be a few days ahead as they start with a larvae not an egg
First thing you should do when making a split?
Find the queen and put her somewhere safe. This can be achieved very simply by putting the frame she is on in a spare box if you are reticent to pick her up. I put mine in a matchbox
G’day Jack, I get away with late season splits because I’m in a sub-tropical zone. My bees don’t stop producing brood during winter, plus they don’t kick the drones out. You can keep splitting hives as long as you’re not interested in honey production for a while.
There’s a couple of things to remember when doing splits. One of the first things I read when starting out is that a virgin queen has a one chance in seven of failure. That’s just the law of averages in nature I guess. Another thing you should think about is the age of the virgin queens. The bees have a nearly 6 day window when making queen cells. They can choose anything from a first day egg to a larvae on it’s third day of royal jelly with which to make a queen from. That makes it hard to put an accurate time on things.
So with those things in mind, expect the odd failure & don’t put an accurate time on when you expect things to happen. Allow another week & if nothing happens by then, give the split a frame of brood so they can commence building a new queen, if they choose to.
If nothing happens with that frame of brood & still no queen, add another frame, keep doing that until the bees make a new queen, which they eventually will.
Thanks Michelle for your response. After much thought, I have decided to wait till Spring to do the split, but it’s great to know that I can use the Nuc box I have. The hive I want to split from is just one year old and to my knowledge has not yet swarmed. The honey production has been slow with the flow frames barely half filled. This is of no concern though as I am anxious for them to survive
Hi @JeffH. In your area up in Buderim, can you split colonies even in winter? In your experience, when do you see the first swarms? Do Carniolans start building up for swarming earlier?
Hi @Webclan. I start doing splits of the strong colonies about a month after the shortest day. That’s about when the strong colonies start preparing to swarm.
I’m not going to do any checkerboarding during or close to winter anymore. I’m going to put the brood frames I leave behind together in the center of the box, & put the frames with fresh foundation or nicely drawn comb on either side. This is to try & eliminate chalk brood.
I have no idea about carniolans, sorry about that. I use the space in my migratory lids as a guide as to the strength of a colony. If I see a buildup of bees in the lid, I split the hive. Even if I look down & see every frame in the honey super is chock-a-block full of bees, I’ll still do a split. It’s not an even split, it’s a preemptive swarm control strategy. That way I stop a colony from swarming & at the same time I’m making new colonies & the strong colonies still produce honey. It’s a win, win & win situation.
Thanks @JeffH. Really appreciate the fact that you freely share from your vast experience, especially since I can relate to it climate wise. You’re awesome!
Wow, thank you:).
It’s amazing how many people I sell colonies to only want one hive, so they are not keen to split during spring because they don’t want a second hive to worry about. The thing is: if they don’t split, the hive will most likely swarm & possibly move into a neighbors wall cavity, causing more problems than they bargained for.