Ordinarily, I would be giving you routine advice about maintaining your hives in July – do bi-weekly inspections, add honey supers as needed, be on the lookout for honey robbers, and harvest your honey when appropriate. (Remember bees need at least 60 pounds of honey – two shallow supers – for their own consumption during the winter.)
But my July was anything but ordinary. I lost a hive of Italian bees and discovered I had a Buckfast hive that was overcrowded. As a result I did a hive split to make two hives out of one.
There are a number of reasons to do a hive split, the most common being 1.) to get more hives and 2.) to prevent swarms. I split my boiling Buckfast hive for both of those reasons.
When I first thought of doing a split, I wondered whether it was too late in the season. Typically, splits are done in May or early June after the original hive has had time to build up. I was nearing the middle of July.
Was it too late to do a split?
I checked The Practical Beekeeper by Michael Bush. According to Michael, you can do a split as late as August, provided you have a good honey flow into the fall.
So I went ahead and did the split on July 12. So far, so good!
I’m going to do an inspection today, and I’ll report back on the status of the new hive later.