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Splitting an Australian Native Bee Hive by 7 year old boy

Our youngest helping his Dad split a tetragonula carbonaria Australian Native Bee hive. It shows that splitting a native bee hive doesn't need to be complica...

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Comment by Jacqui Honeywood on November 19, 2017 at 20:47

Good luck Andrew, let us know how you go. 

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on November 19, 2017 at 19:32

I'm going to split my hive as soon as the weather is better. 

Comment by Jacqui Honeywood on November 19, 2017 at 13:57

Elaine, this video is of what's often referred to as a 'hard split' which is done very quickly. It can be quite hard on a hive because there's a lot of clean up and rebuilding to be done for each half straight after. If the hive isn't strong enough and there is not enough brood or bees in both halves, there's a risk of one or both hives failing which is the worst possible outcome.

There are other more gentle splits which I think Bob the Bee Man Lutterall is a fan of, which are often called hive eduction or natural hive duplication. The natural hive duplication (shown in another of our videos) is a more gentle way of splitting a hive as there is minimal damage to the mother hive however it can expose the mother hive to pests as you're adding a whole unprotected chamber to the original hive. We do both types of splits depending on the situation and there are positives and negatives of both ways. When doing a hard split there are some 'casualties' when you join the empty halves to the existing boxes because there's usually mayhem as bees sit on the seams as we join the boxes together, but we do what we can to minimise this as much as possible. Also if there is damage to honey pots during the splitting process, some bees can drown in the spilt honey at the base of each hive which is why it's important to be careful during splits to minimise damage to honey pots. It's also important to clean up well afterwards as the whole process of splitting can attract pests. 

With all of our splits, regardless of whether it's a hard split or a natural hive duplication, we try to minimise the risk to the bees and the hive, to the point that we're often carrying 'wayward bees' (that have been caught in shirts and hair etc. )from inside our house back outside so they make their way home :-). Whilst it's a fairly simple process, there's quite a few things that we implement to mitigate risk to the bees and the hive as much as possible. 

Comment by Jacqui Honeywood on November 19, 2017 at 13:41

G'day Dianne, it took us a while to build the courage and the knowledge when we did our first ever split about 6 years ago, but once you've done it a couple of times, it's not too complicated. As long as it's a strong hive with enough brood for both halves and you seal everything up properly once you're done. 

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on November 19, 2017 at 7:42

Does that kill a lot of bees? Do you follow Bob Lutterell's techniques to minimise bee deaths?

Comment by Dianne Caswell on November 19, 2017 at 7:02

I have 2 hives to split and I am scared to do it, perhaps I could hire your son???

Comment by Jacqui Honeywood on November 18, 2017 at 23:54
our littlest man decided to give Clay a hand splitting one of our hives today. It just shows how simple splitting an Australian native bee hive can be.

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