Now that is officially springtime, the growth of the beehive is
exponential, so splitting your beehive is a great process to not only
increase your colonies, but to manage swarming.
A beehive swarms when the queen runs out of cells to lay her eggs. She
is in reproduction mode, and so this tells her that there is no more
room for her to lay any more eggs. During this process, the worker bees
will start to form queen cells for half of the colony that stays behind.
When the time is right, half of the worker bees will leave with the
queen and swarm around until a new home is found.
Splitting hives is a great perventative for swarming. Here is the process of a basic split:
1. Early morning is ideal to beat when the bees wake up.
2. Find about 2-3 frames worth of new eggs/1-2 day old larvae. Shake the bees off and set them aside.
3. Take either an extra box, or use the top box and shake each frame of
bees into the bottom box. There should then be little to no bees on the
frames in the top box. This guarantees that the queen is down below.
4. After shaking all the bees to the bottom box, place a queen excluder down.
5. Re-arrange your frames so that the 2-3 frames of new brood are in the
center of the box. Fill the outsides with pollen/honey frames.
The next day, place a bottom board down where you would like your new
beehive and a lid, and take the top box off and place it down onto the
bottom board. You have yourself a new hive!
The only thing this new hive is missing is a queen. If you placed a
frame that had eggs in the top box, the bees will make their own queen.
This process is not guaranteed, so be prepared to either queen rear your
own queen, or buy one.
Overnight, the bees realize that there is brood in the upper box, and
half of the nurse bees/worker bees will go up to attend and feed them.
When you pull the box off the next morning, half of the colony will be
up attending the brood, with the old queen down below. This gives room
for the original hive to produce more bees without feeling the need to
swarm. Here is an attached video: