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Splitting old hive to start a new package?


I have a very strong hive with two full broods (I live in US SW and understand this isn’t necessary for the region). Come spring I have a package coming which I want to use to set up a second (HoneyFlow) hive (was my original intention but I lost one of my queens and had to combine earlier this year). So question is do I leave the strong hive alone with both full brood boxes or do I use it to help start the other. I’m not sure if the logistics will work out. Will have a bunch of angry bees from my healthy hive flying around while I am trying to install a new package if I try to do it all at once. Should I attempt it? If so how might I best pull it off? The two hive sites are 6 feet apart. If I pull frames mid-day, will they survive until evening to install in the new hive in the evening? Or should I install the package then start swapping frames ??? days later?


If the established hive can afford it, I would take two or three frames of brood in all stages, and give them to the package. Shake the established hive bees off first (back into their own hive), and there will be no fighting. The package should take to the donated brood right away. Put the brood frames in the center of the new hive, shake the package into the hive, and put empty frames (with foundation if you like) in the empty space in the new hive. You will get a really strong start from this. Most packages are around 10,000 bees. If you give them 2 frames of brood, within 3 weeks, the colony will about double in size - nice boost!

I wouldn’t do that. Pull them just before you install the package, or install the package first, then pull and add the frames the next day. You don’t want to risk chilled brood, leading to chalk brood.


Thanks for the reply. I was afraid disturbing the old hive during a nearby install might make them get a little defensive and attack their new neighbors before they get established. I would prefer to do it all at once so as to not disturb the new hive more than necessary but it seems waiting a day to swap a few frames might be safer.


During my inspection today, I discovered that my girls have converted the top feeder into a dorm. Both brood boxes below it are full and healthy. I recovered the feeder (sorry bees :cry: honeycomb for me :slight_smile: ) and decided if they want more room, I’ll give them more room. Flow Hive (with excluder) now in place. Things are starting to bloom here so I guess it’s OK. Hopefully they will take to it quickly since there used to be space up there. I don’t get my package until April so I can’t split it yet. Hope this keeps them happy for a while.