BBKA Forum

British Beekeepers Association Official Forum 

  • Splitting a double brood hive

  • Beginners forum, ask beekeeping related questions and get help from other experienced beekeepers. Please use the Search Feature please to avoid duplicated threads
Beginners forum, ask beekeeping related questions and get help from other experienced beekeepers. Please use the Search Feature please to avoid duplicated threads
 #7436  by Stedic
 27 May 2020, 19:58
I have a superb colony on double brood. Productive and calm bees. I'd like to make the most of them and use the queen's genetics. I've tried a bit of grafting with no real success and may try a Nicot system this week.

However - I presume that given their size they will try to swarm before too long. I wondered if I should pre-emptively split the colony. I have, however, managed to get my head twisted with this!

Is it as simple as just picking one box at random and giving it a new floor, roof etc? Obviously there are bees and brood in both boxes. So the queen right box would just carry on while the queenless side would raise a new queen. I also have access to a Snelgrove board, but with the brood spread between both boxes I'm not sure how effective this would be at controlling the swarm instinct. I could also make up some queenless Nucs and let them create their own queens.

I suspect I am overthinking! Advice please!
 #7437  by stechad
 27 May 2020, 20:16
Hi Ste?
You are probably right in thinking that they may soon swarm.
I would put a brood on another floor and split the frames between the 2 boxes giving even amounts of capped brood and open brood to both making sure that the new box gets the youngest open brood with eggs preferably, you may even find some queen cells in there, if so put these in the box without the queen and reduce queen cells to 1 or 2 good ones, the flying bees will return to the original hive so you should shake some bees from the supers into the box on the new floor too.
I'm sure someone else will add some other comments too

Oh, welcome to the forum.
 #7468  by Chrisbarlow
 28 May 2020, 22:42
It is that simple

See the other thread I've started about walk away splits which is what your describing.

You can do it with half the colony or just two or three frames.

This is regardless of if they've already started queen cells
 #7481  by AndrewLD
 29 May 2020, 13:21
Did we cover this in the other thread - not sure :?
The brood frames need to fit with each other and have stores on each end.
The entrance for the new colony being moved away will need to be reduced and it might be wise to shake in a couple of frames of bees in as well because the flying bees will leave it and return to the old site leaving the new colony depleted.
I divided the supers between them when I did mine but with hindsight I think I'd err on the side of caution and delay that by a few days so the flying bees don't report a nice source of stores and come back to rob it. Its also another way of boosting the numbers of young bees in the new colony.
 #7494  by AdamD
 30 May 2020, 09:24
A large double brood colony is not guaranteed to swarm, although if they're good'uns it's worth breeding from them. If you want to produce the best possible queencells, I would be inclined to move the queen in one broodbox and supers to one side and let the flyers return to the original site which is now queenless; if there is no flow (and the June Gap is starting for me) feed a pint of syrup each evening to ensure there's a good flow of food coming in. Once you have well-fed queencells, you could make up a couple of nucs, each with a queencell on it's frame; then put the colony back together with the queen back in charge once all the queencells have been removed from the queenless colony.