Swarm Control Splits

Well, it happened, you opened your bee box and there were swarm cells everywhere. Now what? How about performing a swarm control split?

This method of splitting is used when your hive is showing evidence that they may swarm. A swarm control split is essentially a simulated swarm where both the parent hive and the new “swarm” are both given resources.  

This is a fairly simple and straightforward method. Follow these steps. 

  1. Prepare your “new” hive box 
  2. Find the queen in your parent hive. 
  3. Clip or cage the queen temporarily.
  4. Divide resources as fairly as possible between the “new” and “original” box, leaving all swarm cells in the “original” hive box. (In order to keep resources more even, you may have to tear down swarm cells to put the frame in the “new” box. It’s important to not have any swarm cells in your new box) 
  5. Make sure the “new” hive has sufficient nurse bees as your older bees (foragers) will head back home to the “original” hive. 
  6. Move the queen into your “new” hive box. 
  7. Close the hives up.
  8. Move your “new hive” to its permanent location if applicable.  (Location can be very near your “original” hive – the “Move your splits 2 miles away” rule, has never been a very practical one) 
  9. Check back in a 7-10 days. (Your capped queen cells should have hatched at that point but don’t expect to see eggs in your “original” hive yet – this could take an additional 2 weeks. 

This may be viewed as commonsense beekeeping. The theory behind this method is that you have created an artificial swarm by splitting, now the “new” hive feels like it has left, and the “original” hive prepares to meet their new queen. 

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