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Taranov Splitting

Can anyone advise me on the details of a Taranov split please? One of mt hives is planning to swarm and I’d like to split the hive to avoid this if possible. I’m wondering how long the “board” needs to be, and other essential details. Many thanks.

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Hi @Behappy,

I managed to find only one source where Taranov gives description of his 1947’s method. It was published in his book Biology of bee colony, 1961 .

The only size he mentioned was 10 cm distance between the edge of the board and hive entrance.

Here is the drawing from the book:

Wording above downward pointing arrows: “Bees were shaken here”.

Essential details he points out - bees must have crops full of honey. Bees with empty crops will eventually return to the original hive. Bees with full crop will stay with new queen. If the original hive already had a laying queen, bees will not stay with virgin queen and return to the original hive. In this case they need to be given a laying queen.

He also used a jute sack to shake bees on but I think it is mainly to reduce damage to bees on hard surface or problems associated with grass.

Whole process takes 1.5-2 hours.

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If your a person who understands seeing something better than reading about it then have a look on YouTube and there are some good videos there. A split is far more preferable to a swarming.
Not sure the length of the board matter that much as the length would depend on the height off the landing board to the ground, so angle would be more important I would think. I saw a video using a tea towel taped to the landing board and it was a a pretty steep climb but watching the parade of the bees was no problem for the bees.


Behappy thanks for bringing up this subject again as I’m a real fan of theTaranov method for swarm control…but I would be reluctant to use to use the method on a hive that is in swarming mode. Got you confused?

When a hive is in full blown swarming mode, the queen has shut down laying for some time and has actually lost enough body mass that she can fly away with a good part of the colony"s workforce. The Taranov method…to be successful…relies on the fact that the queen is too heavy to fly across that 6" gap between the end of the ramp and the hive entrance…thus confining her with some very young bees that haven’t done orientation flights. If your queen is light weight, she has the potential of crossing that 6" barrier back to her hive.

The Taranov method is the only way I know of to separate worker bees by age… this has an incredible potential especially when making up queen cell-builder colonies…or the equivalent.

This is also the best way I know of to actually do thorough late spring disease inspections on strong wintered colonies as all bees are shook off each individual frame.

It is an excellent method to find queens in strong spring colonies…they end up under the ramp with the young crowd.

If I have young queens in strong overwintered colonies and think they are getting too powerful for that time of year (swarm candidates), I use this modified version of the Taranov method as illustrated in the photo below. The hive in question is removed from inside my beehouse and taken out side…in it’s place I place a brood box with 8 frames of foundation and one frame of brood…queen excluder placed over this unit and Flowsupers stacked on. Then outside all of the bees including the queen are shook on the ramp and march up the ramp and enter their new quarters. This will prevent any swarming for at least a month and the hive has the morale of a big swarm…it gets to work. Foundation is built out perfectly with very little drone cells. Brood and feed frames can be then made into nucs…there are always some bees that end up on the underside of the ramp and those bees are used in the nuc make up. Some beekeepers actually place nuc boxes under the ramp. Most times I use large linen sheets to keep the bees out of the grass…queens can often be spotted on those sheets.

I think this method…or it’s variations… is under utilized in modern day beekeeping…and highly recommend everyone give it a try before the colony gets too advanced in swarming…it resets the hive as swarm season arrives…saves alot of headaches.


I use a variation of the Taranov for splits and for moving a slimed out colony to a new box in the original position.

My board is about 1500mm long by 250mm wide, but it’s not critical . I place the new base and brood box in its final position with frames of foundation. I lean the board against the new box with overhang above the frames. Make sure the frames are shaded by the overhang. This encourages them to cluster like a swarm under the top edge of the ramp.

I put a bed sheet over the ramp And spread to the sides so I can easily see all the bees and they don’t fall into the grass. I move each of the original boxes near the ramp. Shake the baseboard over the ramp and return it to its original position and put a spare box on it.

Now take one frame at a time from the original brood box and shake all the bees onto the ramp. Inspect each frame for signs of disease like AFB, EFB, chalkbrood etc and respond accordingly. If all is healthy, place them into the box at the original position. Shake the now empty box, then place on the now full box. When you’ve done your brood box(es), fit your excluder if you use one, then continue with the supers.

Now you can relax while the bees march and cluster. I go have a cup of tea and come back in 60-90 minutes. By then they’ve either stayed balled under the top of the ramp or moved down into the box. If they’re still balled, a gentle tap drops them into the box.

Nurse bees and the queen will instinctively march up the ramp and the foragers will fly back to the original hive. The queen is easy to see on the ramp.

This satisfies the swarm urge, but unlike a swarm the bees didn’t gorge on honey in preparation. I give them a super from the original hive if available, or feed them syrup. They have a lot of work to draw out the frames so mum can start laying.

I’ve done this just before swarm cells were capped and the queen still marched up the ramp instead of flying away. Make sure there are frames of capped brood before the split. These will soon emerge to become the new nurse bees in the original hive. If there are no queen cells, make sure there are eggs so they can make queens. Or requeen with good stock.

For slimeouts, place the new box with foundation in the original position. Place shaken frames in plastic bags into the freezer. Alternatively, I put them in my steam wax melter. Requeen if she’s not there.


Some excellent advice/tips in your post Doug explaining the advantages and disadvantages of a split done that way. I’ll have another read and maybe give it a try again after years of doing walk away splits.

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Thank you Aussiemike for your advice. It all sounds scary but I’m looking forward to giving it a go. I’m hoping to populate like a longhive from a langstroth which is some distance away, so it will be strategically challenging. Your advice will be invaluable. Thanks again.

Thanks Doug for taking the time to respond. Sounds as if I may be too late as there are visual signs of swarm preparations.

Thanks ABB. I’ll start looking for the timber.

Thanks CHAU. Look forward to checking this out.

Peter, I’ve spent hours on utube and find it all fascinating, especially a guy who used his crown board for a ramp onto which he just seemed to bash the bees!
Thanks for taking the time to answer.

Be careful on taking the advice you see on YouTube, one of the worst I have seen was a father and son team doing their first inspection and did a video so we could learn how to do it properly. Son did the camera work but kept loosing the vision with so much smoke. By the time the roof was put back on there was heaps of dead bees squashed even under foot and dumb and dumber congratulating themselves on a job well done, it was really sad to watch. The only good thing was that a few bees got thru their suits with justifiable results.
Some people just haven’t got a clue. If the bees won’t voluntarily parade up the ramp then the split will probably fail.

Thanks Peter. Point taken.

I also watched several YouTube vids on this method after reading here & getting interested in seeing it play out, and I think I saw that guy too! Awful. So much bashing, and pointlessly bashing out bees from the super - which already had a qx.

Heartbreaking when you see stupidity at play like that, think I found it on YouTube today. He really lack even basic knowledge, nowhere near enough to do a successful split. Sad to watch the lack of any care taken at all.

Yes, I agree you need to be very cautious on youtube. So many people who havent a clue seen determined to share their mistakes (as good examples !).
Also we need to take account of climatic and geographic differences. Wintering in Texas and Canada are totally different, for example.

One site I really like is the Stuart from the Norfolk honey company. He has oodles of vids there covering everthing you might want and the advice is excellent and relaible. I prefer the earlier ones as recently he has focused more on evaluating sponsored products, having already covered all beekeeping issues :slight_smile:

The Link is https://www.youtube.com/c/TheNorfolkHoneyCo/videos

Many thanks for that info. I’m in southern Australia, but will check out that site.