Splitting A Bee Hive & Bringing Home Bees!

I am not exactly sure when I decided I wanted to keep bees someday. I do remember when I first learned about how important bees are to our food system. Without bees, we would likely lose entire links to the food chain. Our precious earth would struggle even more to feed all of its inhabitants. As scary as that is, and even with as long as we’ve known it, we are still managing to kill off the bee population in droves. Between pesticides, pollution, and even construction – these busy beauties are having a hard time. If keeping a hive on my land could help keep up their population numbers and help pollinate my crops, then why not?

I also heard from many sources that regularly eating honey that is made local to you is a miracle cure of sorts for allergies. Local honey is made from local pollen and when ingested over time your body naturally becomes stronger against that pollen. My entire family suffers from different seasonal allergies. So again, why not keep bees?

Also, just last month Harpers Bazaar reported that none other than Her Royal Highness Kate Middleton herself also has a passion for bees. Soon after that article my husband’s Aunt Lisa called me explaining that their new bee hive was looking like it wanted to split. She asked if we wanted to take the other half of their hive? After picking myself up off the floor, we started the plan to bring bees to Hayseed Farm!

First, I had to understand what a splitting hive was. It basically means that for one reason or another, a group of bees from the hive was looking to move onto another hive. My husband’s Uncle Brent said he noticed his bees loudly swarming in and out of his hive. He knew that this meant they were scouting out a new home, which was when he put the wheels in motion towards moving them to our farm.

Next, equipment. We ordered the following items off Amazon (because we knew we needed them quickly):

The Langstroth style hive we ordered needed some assembly, but my husband Dean said it only took some wood glue! We would definitely order this box again.

Now, how on earth do we get bees to leave one hive, go into another, and then transport them 30 minutes out to the farm? It was easier said than done, but we did it! Brent said we were going to use the Taranov beehive split method. I will admit that I had to promptly Google that. I was amazed to learn it’s basically a ramp that we build to lead the new bees into their new hive. Check out our set up below!

Here are the steps we took to perform the Taranov split:

  • First, we opened the hive.
  • Then we loosened the frames.
  • Then we temporarily put the frames between two saw horses.
  • Then we had to to empty the actual beehive box. Dumping it didn’t seem to work, so Brent brushed the bees out onto the sheet. At this point the bees were right angry and I actually got my very first bee sting, right through my jeans!
  • Next, Brent gently shook out each frame over the sheet.
  • From there, we took a lunch break and watched in amazement as the ramp actually worked! The bees were slowly making their way up the ramp and into the new hive. At one point, Brent was even able to confirm that the queen was in the new hive. He noticed a specific way the worker bees were moving about that meant they were protecting her.
  • When the bees were done on the ramp, we closed up the new bee hive and wrapped it in a large black trash bag. We closed it up with tape but it wasn’t quite secure enough, so we ended up adding an old sheet around the outside.
  • We put the double wrapped beehive in the back of Lisa and Brent’s car and all made our way out to the farm.
  • When we arrived we drove their car over to the site we had chosen for the hive. We put the hive in place, cut open the trash bag, and got out of the bees’ way!

We left the bees alone for a couple days as they were quite angry. Dean was able to check on them throughout the past week or so. He could tell they were working on sealing up the hive and even saw them bringing back bulging pollen sacks – yay! Who knew you could actually see the pollen as they were collecting it? I am learning so much and will need to continue learning as I manage them going forward. Ultimately though, bees fit in perfectly with our whole farm philosophy. As it turns out, the best way to keep bees is to let bees be bees! Nature is perfectly designed and perfectly balanced, we only need steward it!

For more pics of the split and set up check out my Instagram! I will have photos in the feed/stories to accompany this post and I also posted an IGTV video of the first few steps!

XO – Olivia

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