Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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Which hive to split?

We are grateful you are here

Which hive to split?

(knocking wood). We look on track for both of our hives to survive winter (New England, region 6a/b). If so, we plan to do a split of one. Acknowledging that we have at least a couple months of spring to go, we're in a bit of a quandary about which.

Right now, hive "A" is looking stronger (maybe 50% more population), right now we'd think they're likely the better choice.

However, there's a "but". "A" has had consistently touchier occupants. They're at least twice as likely to sting. Our evaluation of that is based on the latter half of summer (dearth etc) and fall / winter, so perhaps in spring with full nectar flow underway, they'll be equally well tempered.

Now we could split the apparently weaker "B" hive and then swap around some frames of brood & stores to be sure both halves of the split hive are similar strength as the "A" colony. We don't want to start by jumping into grafting, we think the split is the best bet to let the bees draw their own queen cells and choose the queen they like best.

Or would the best plan be to simply split whoever looks strongest come May? Certainly the more aggressive hive is manageable, and by then "B" could well be the stronger looking colony.

Thanks for any thoughts!

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