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Splitting full hive

I have 2 very full 10 frame deeps below my Flow super (which they are filling). Some bearding going on with current heat. Is it a good idea to move several brood frames to a weaker hive? (making sure I don’t move the queen with the frames) With the idea of strengthening the weaker hive and giving the current full hive more room and less chance of swarming

If they’re bearding because of the heat, as they are here in Ohio too, I wouldn’t worry about it as long as they have adequate water supply. Swarming at this time of year is less likely and they may be better able to defend against robbing during dearths and pests if they are full.

But certainly equalizing hives or giving a weak hive a boost isn’t a bad reason to take a couple frames.

Hi Ron, that’s a great strategy which I do all the time myself. I try to have some fully drawn worker comb stickies on hand to replace them with. That way, the bees readily clean the honey out of the cells giving the queen beautiful clean cells to lay eggs in.

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Hi @KMHayes ,

There is another option you may use that could be more efficient and gives you more options.
You can give them a “builder box”. A full box of foundation goes between two existing brood boxes. Bees always put a great effort to connect brood area if it was divided. Beekeepers use this as a part swarm prevention strategies very often. When we “cut” brood area with another box we also give them an extra room. Hive becomes less crowded, ventilation improves.
As an additional benefit, it is also a part of comb management process. When time comes to reduce the size of the hive before winter you have the following options:

  1. If comb in one of your boxes becomes old, you can put this box above queen excluder, wait till all brood hatch in this box and remove it to process the old comb.
  2. You can move “builder box” as soon as it fully laid with brood above the QX. Wait till all bees hatch, remove it and put in storage to use freshly built comb next season as required.
  3. Same as #2 but when nectar is still available for foraging. Leave it above the QX and have an extra supper. Latter, in preparation for winter you can move another brood box above QX, remove it together with QX when all bees hatch and have a good wintering setup consisting of one brood box and one box full of honey which will become one of your brood boxes next spring.
  4. There are always more ways to skin a bee :slight_smile:
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I’m not a fan of segregating the brood. I like to keep it all together. Checkerboarding is fine & I think that is what @KMHayes had in mind. What Ron suggested, to my way of thinking fits into the KIS (keep it simple) category. Remembering that he is talking about boosting a weaker colony.

Checkerboarding is another way to divide the brood.
Yes, we can manage hives on frame basis, but the beauty of the Langstroth hive is in small size of its components. It allows to manipulate hive by whole boxes. That is why it became so popular.
When I was a kid, we still had plenty of 12 frame Dadant hives around. And there frame-based management was unavoidable. Wintering was just in part of the brood box, than brood expansion frame by frame, than adding a second box and filling it with few frames at one go.

I found this picture on another forum to show the size difference.

The Langstroth is small. Yes, it is still possible to manage it on fame basis, but whole box approach is more convenient and less time consuming.

Each to their own I guess. I like a single brood/single honey configuration. I don’t alter from that unless I need to put some full honey frames somewhere. If I have a spare box with frames, I’d prefer to use it to start another colony in preference to adding it to an established hive.

The single brood/single honey also works for Cedar. I never see him with any more that 1/1 & when you think about it, it certainly fit in with the KISS method.

Sure. I simply give some ideas about options available. In the end, everyone is free to choose what suits them best.

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