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Spliting Hive  

Lucia Stewart
Active Member

Well I split me first hive and it was not an enjoyable experience for myself or my bees.  Is their Valium for Bees?  I saw larva in  queen cups so I thought it would be a good time to split the hive.  About half way through inspecting the hive trying to find the queen so I would not include the queen in the same hive with the queen cups they became so aggressive, flying at my mask and then eventually started to cover it so I could barely see and then they were stinging the front and back of my thighs.  So at that point I quickly separated the hives and called it good. I have no idea where where the queen ended up.  I have not been into the hives since Monday but I am sure they need to fed so I will take a peek on Saturday and see how they are doing.

 I have noticed this colony become more aggressive as time goes on.  Whenever I am in my garden there are always a pair of bees that buzz around me very now and then telling me that they are the boss but they have not stung me and I am also careful not to frighten them. I am also concerned about me new colony of Saskatraz.  I have not notice them going into their hive but it is hard to let.

Is this behavior normal?

Posted : 11/05/2018 6:11 pm
BM Staff
Member Admin

Hi Lucia,

It would be a good idea to protect the Saskatraz package from an overwintered hive (more if they're getting big and a little aggressive) by making sure the entrance reducer is in the smaller position that allows the package bees to do their business (without congestion).

For the overwintered colony, there could be a couple of reasons why they were agressive today. Weather is changing often and fast today and they may not want to be messed with if they think it's going to rain soon. 

Also, there were some sources of nectar that may be gone today. When there is a nectar flow they're easier to work with (foragers are out and they're minding their business). But when food sources are reduced, you have more bees with not much to do and they are a little more protective on the colony (to protect food stores, because bees will try to steal honey from each other).

If they are "in between queens" that could make them more cranky too.

Maybe if you stick some feeder in the overwintered splits they could calm down.

Regarding the split, if you had swarm cells on both colonies, both should be able to re-queen.

The only issue could be that if the old queen was still in the original hive and is now in one of the splits, she may try to swarm because there are queen cells left there. But, if she had already swarmed, then they will make another queen out of the cells.

Even if you see a lot of bees in that colony, they some bees could still have swarmed with the old queen.

So, if at some point they calm down and you can check them again, you could try to find the old queen. If she's still there, you could try to get all the queen cells out of the hive where you find the queen (move them to the other hive or stick in a nuc to make an extra queen). 

Welcome to beekeeping! First, you find hard to keep one or two hives alive, but once you cross a threshold, you will be scrambling for hardware to make splits and catch swarms and the two colonies will quickly become ten or fifteen.  🙂

I hope the mood in your apiary improves so you can enjoy having bees around while gardening. 

Posted : 11/05/2018 6:25 pm