As my hive fills up, can I, before they swarm, take a few bars out with brood and bees and place them in a newly built hive? Will they make a queen, or do I have to buy one? Thanks
These are great questions about what is known as ‘splitting’ or ‘dividing’ a Top Bar Beehive. Here are the two most popular methodologies
- Dividing a Top Bar - If you see queen cups nearing ripening, you can move the queen with 5 combs of capped brood and honey (considered to be the most minimal for a healthy transfer), and populate it into a new Top Bar. The original colony will raise a queen, and build out the population once again.
- If you do not see queen cells being formed, it’s questionable if they will reach the stage of finding it necessary to swarm. You can follow the instructions above in conducting a split, but you now will have to either ‘re-queen’ with queen that was provided to you (or mailed), and hope that she is accepted, or you’ll risk in hoping that a new queen is raised – and in enough time – to start laying again in rebuilding a new colony.
I hope this helps answer your questions, please let us know of any and all others you might have!