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Tip of the Month

Spring Colony Split


 Swarm Management

There are many ways to split your colony such as the artificial swarm, Pagden or Demaree methods but the method described here is known as the nucleus method.


The object is to increase your stock whilst controlling swarming at the same time. This method can be used when queen cells are present (be confident they are swarm cells and not supersedure or emergency ones).


If a planned split (rather than one required due to the presence of swarm cells), make sure you select a strong, good quality colony (having a marked queen will make the process easier).


You will require an extra hive and frames (ideally a mix of drawn and new foundation) along with dummy boards.

Step 1

Feed the colony early to stimulate growth (further feed will be needed once split).

Piece of Honeycomb

Step 2

Place a new brood box or nuc with foundation a few metres away.  

col split 2.jpg

Step 3

Find the queen and remove her and a frame of brood to new brood box


col split3.jpg

Step 4

Move a frame of emerging brood and 1 of food to new brood box


If splitting due to swarm management, ensure that no queen cells are transferred to the new box.

Step 5

Two colonies should now develop.


One cell can be left in the hive on the original site to develop there. Dummy boards should be removed and replaced with new frames as and when the colonies expand.

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