Why Every Beekeeper Should Know How to Split Hives
Every beekeeper should learn how to make successful splits! There are two excellent reasons to be able to make splits:
- Swarm control. A hive’s natural tendency is to grow as fast as possible in the spring, then swarm! It’s how they reproduce in nature. As beekeepers we would prefer they don’t, since we lose half of our bees. See “Preventing Swarms” for more info on swarm prevention. One of the best ways to prevent swarms is to split a hive before they prepare to swarm.
- Replace lost hives or expand your number of hives. We all lose bees every year. Sometimes it’s 20%, sometimes it’s 50% or far more. It’s common to lose many, or all of your hives in your first year or two as you learn beekeeping. Assuming you made it through winter with a few good hives, there is no more cost effective way to recoup losses or grow than making a split! Your only cost is essentially a queen for your new split.