The Beginning of a New Hive

The hive at McGill has been growing rapidly since the new queen was introduced several weeks ago. Because it is so large and strong, we decided that this was a good time to split the hive. In terms of bee lingo, a “split” or “making a split” means dividing the hive in half. Making a split is a means of reducing the size of a hive that has become very large (imagine boxes upon boxes of buzzing bees stacked on top of one other!) It is also one of the most useful ways to prevent swarming and increase the number of hives in our apiary. Splits should only be performed on strong, thriving hives, and the McGill hive certainly fits that description.

Once we determined that the McGill colony was strong enough to merit division, we put in an order for a queen bee. The queen arrived yesterday, and so today, Simon and I went to McGill with an empty hive to do the split. We took a few frames filled with brood and a few with pollen and honey from the strong hive, and then we put them in the new small hive in order to get the new hive a good start when the queen is finally released from her cage (see our blog post here for more information on introducing the queen).

So here is a photo of the strong McGill hive no worse for wear after we completed the split.


You can see all the bees heading back inside the hive after Simon and I took the whole thing apart. It’s like letting the genie out of the bottle, but fortunately, the genie goes right back inside.

Here’s a photo of the new pink hive with the new queen safely in her queen cage inside.


We will be checking both hives in about 7-10 days, once the queen has been released from her cage, to make sure everything is going well with the neighbor beehives.

Overall, the intervention was a success. There were only a few bee casualties (mostly from bees accidentally being squished by heavy supers) and only two minor bee stings. But the promise of a very large amount of honey soon to come helps to ease the pain.


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