Many beekeepers depend on purchasing packages (screened boxes full of bees with a queen) or nucleus hives (mini-hives to be inserted into a full-size one), which cost between $150 and 250 each, depending on the local variables. Some beekeepers end up purchasing bees each year to replace dead-outs (bee colonies that died during the winter). In addition to often getting a mix of random bees with no known genetics or winter survival success, its cost has caused some beekeepers to give up the hobby. One solution to this problem is to split your own surviving hives, creating new queens and colonies from your existing resources. Beekeepers have developed many methods to do this, but I follow a modified version of Mel Disselkoen’s On-The-Spot (OTS) queen rearing method and the Coweta Beekeeping Method. In this post, I’ll describe how to split an existing hive and encourage the growth of new queens. In the next post, I’ll go over how to finish the split by making hives for honey production or population increase.
Read part One of this Two Part Series here: Bee Report — Splitting Hives and Raising Queens (Part I) — Low Technology Institute