Beekeeping 101 - Making Splits
Generally, when the phrase making splits comes up, the image of increasing ones beekeeping holdings is featured. That is, making two or more colonies from a single parent colony. That is because splitting a colony is the easiest and least expensive way to increase the number of colonies owned. It is also a way to reduce colony population thus averting a swarm.
The overall principle in making a split is to start with a large, healthy, populous colony (or colonies). The goal is to remove some uncapped brood, some honey and pollen resources to a new box, or two, to start a new colony. A new queen will need to be added to the new or parent colony. It is often easier to add her to the new colony
The question most often asked is How much is some? Usually, you do not want to reduce the parent colony to less than half its resources so it can continue to keep pace with the season. You may need to take bees, brood or food from more than one parent to successfully build a new split. Splits should have enough nurse bees to care for the brood, some foragers to gather resources, sealed brood for immediate colony expansion, younger brood for continued expansion and some resources for immediate consumption.