Splitting a Hive

Why Split a Hive

When you have a strong hive coming out of winter, with at least 8 plus frames of bees, it can be split. This is a swarming prevention technique and works great for winter loss recovery.

How to Split a Hive

To split a hive, you will require the following:

  • Another complete hive with brood chamber, lid, bottom board etc.
  • 10 drawn out frames (5 for each hive)
  • A new mated queen

When you split a hive, you should divide the assets evenly so both hives are not at a disadvantage. Since we run singles this article pertains to splitting singles.  First, we inspect all frames to get a good idea of the quality of the frames and the amount of brood we have. In early spring, I would like to see 6 frames of brood in a single in order to split the hive. A typical hive that we split will have 2-3 frames honey, several frames pollen and brood. We locate the queen and set the frame aside. That frame will stay with the original hive. All other frames get divided evenly and the frames are centered in the brood chambers with the new drawn out frames on the outside. Since we are taking out 5 frames from the donor, 5 new frames must be added along with 5 frames to the new hive.


We move the new split hive to a new location so that the forager bees don’t fly back to the old hive creating a weak split hive. Leave the new split hive queenless for 24 hours and then add in a caged queen. In three days, you should be able to release the new queen and the new split should be on its way.

You now have an additional hive!