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Timing for Splitting a Hive?

 
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Labow
Nurse Bee


Joined: 10 Mar 2016
Posts: 28
Location: San Francisco, CA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:50 am    Post subject: Timing for Splitting a Hive? Reply with quote

I was wondering how people know when it is time to split a hive, assuming they're building swarm/queen cells? I have a tendency to wait too long, and then I'm out catching the swarm (and bugging my neighbors).

If they're already building the cells, and have eggs, can I split it at any time?

Thanks.
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1533
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Short answer,
Yes. Also worth checking when others in your area do it. (Though most beekeepers miss the boat sometimes with regards to this.

I haven't done a split for several years, preferring the catching swarms option.

Dave
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1800
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In our climate here in the UK, it would be unusual and risky for them to be planning to swarm at this time of year and I would want to be sure that they are not building supercedure cells instead of swarm cell before thinking of splitting them. Obviously your climate is very different to ours here, so you are better to seek advice locally. I would imagine there is a local Bee keepers Association and whilst their hives and management style may be different from yours, they should be able to tell you if swarming is possible so late in the season and if splitting now would be advisable.

I would not recommend anyone here in the UK split a colony at this time of year as the brood nest will be shrinking and they are making preparations for winter.

Usually the time for splitting would be in the spring when they are starting to build up, but perhaps with your climate you have an extended swarming season.
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Labow
Nurse Bee


Joined: 10 Mar 2016
Posts: 28
Location: San Francisco, CA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses. The cells are on the sides of the combs, not in the middle. I thought supercedure cells are built in the middle of the cells?

I don't think it's unusual to have swarms at the end of the summer around here.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1800
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds right for swarm cells. You need to do the split before the first swarm cell is capped otherwise you will most likely lose the prime swarm.

Like Dave, I prefer to let them swarm and do my best to capture them, but I am retired, so I can hang around waiting for them to emerge and no neighbours to upset. You have to do what fits best with your circumstances.

Good luck and let us know how you get on.
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Labow
Nurse Bee


Joined: 10 Mar 2016
Posts: 28
Location: San Francisco, CA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tips. I've heard that it's best to wait until there is an egg in the cell, and then split the hive. But going back to my original question, if they have eggs available (but not yet moved to the swarm cell), can I split it at any time? I can't check on the hive every day, and so if I can split it now I'd love to do that and make sure I don't loose them if they swarm when I'm not around.
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