Updated: Feb 27, 2021
Simple Hive Increase
Splitting hives is one of the easiest ways to increase your hive count. This method is especially perfect for those who wish to split close to the honey flow, as it does not overly weaken your donor hive. These little increases expand rapidly and will store fall honey provided they are well fed and are not made up to late in the year.
Remove from your donor hive: 1-2 frames of capped brood covered in bees and place it into a nuc box.
Shake another frame of bees off the brood into the nuc box. (Make sure the queen is not on it)
Add 1-2 frames of honey/pollen
Place either a queen or queen cell in between the brood.
Feed 2:1 sugar syrup.
I make my increases with one and one half to two frames of brood and a full frame of honey. Half frames of brood can be found along the edge of the brood nest. The outside of the frame is usually full of honey, which provides great insulation.
A 2 frame Nuc will expand very rapidly, especially if they are given a mated queen. There is a lower success rate for queen cells. Don’t start these increases out in full hive bodies Start them out in a small nuc box and let them expand to 4 frames before transferring them.
Note: The earlier in the year that the increase is made the more bees will need to be added to prevent the brood from chilling. If you do not move the nuc at least 5 miles away from the original location a few more cups of bees should be added to make up for the bees that return home.
Practical Tip: As the weather warms up, empty frames of comb that were formally full of food can be rotated in between the frames of brood. This forces the queen to lay in the comb, expanding the brood nest. Be careful! Do not rotate to many frames into the brood circle as it could cause the brood to chill.
If you raise your own queens, these little Nucs are perfect for those queens cells!