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Time to make splits

As I drove around on April 10, 2024, I noticed a lot of dandelions blooming. It was a nice sunny day, so I thought to myself, this is a good day to make splits from my overwintered hive. Dandelions indicate that the spring honey flow, which is the brood rearing, wax making flow is on. That is a good time for a hive to make a new queen and to establish a new colony.

Here is what I found when I opened the overwintered hive. One good indication that it was ready to split besides the robust population was the presence of adult drones. What a lovely sight, can you believe this is an overwintered hive on April 10th in Michigan?

I removed three empty brood frames from the horizontal blue hive and replaced them with three frames from the overwintered hive. I found one frame with young brood and notched a few cells with eggs or very young larva. I then placed that frame in the middle of the three frames I added. I then found two frames with capped worker brood and placed those on either side of the notched frame. I checked to make sure my queen wasn't on any of those frames. If somehow I made a mistake, it will be fine, there was plenty of young brood for the original hive to make a new queen if necessary.

I then got two more frames from the overwintered hive. One with young brood and one with capped worker brood. I notched cells in the frame with young larva. I placed them in the center of the bottom deep on the vertical hive. I then moved the brood nest back together in the overwintered hive and placed some empty brood frames in the brood nest for expansion.

I closed up all three hives. I did not see any queen cells started in the overwintered hive. But, I was always taught to keep ahead of the bees. By splitting now, I take off the pressure from the overwintered hive to feel the need to swarm. I gave the new splits the advantage of plenty of forage and an early start to get a new queen and get going on the season. It takes three weeks for a queen to develop and be ready to mate. With adult drones already available, new queens in three weeks should have no problem getting mated. I collected the swarm that populated the overwintered hive on May 1st of last year, which would be about the time these new splits will be ready with new queens, so I feel the timing was good. I will not open the hives again for a month, just checking activity from the outside.


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