Splitting a colony

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Making new bee colonies (nucleus) from existing colonies (the method used in Finland)

Splitting a colony is usually done from the beginning of July and a mated egg-laying queen is introduced into the queenless split hive. When you begin to make a new colony from an existing hive, you should first find the old queen of the existing hive to make sure that you don´t put the new queen in the same colony with the old one. Keep in mind that it might be difficult to find the queen of a strong colony. To avoid the time-consuming search for the queen, you can just divide the colony into two parts:

  • Take three frames of sealed brood, one pollen frame and one food frame with honey to form a nucleus and put them into a new box behind the old hive. All the frames must be taken with worker bees.
  • Two hours after having taken out the frames forming the new nucleus, it should be easy to identify whether the queen is still in the old hive or was transferred to the new nucleus, by the restless behavior of the queenless bees.

Once you have identified which hive is now without a queen, you can proceed to introduce the new queen.