f Eduction Vs Splitting – The Stingless Bee Lady

Eduction Vs Splitting

Australian Stingless Bees - Eduction Vs Splitting

Australian stingless bees are fascinating insects that play a crucial role in the ecosystem. These bees, known for their non-aggressive nature and lack of a sting, are becoming increasingly popular among beekeepers.

A keeper of stingless bees is called a meliponist. 

Many are keen to learn about the most effective methods for propagating colonies. Eduction and splitting are the two main techniques used to increase the number of colonies.

Understanding the differences between these techniques can help meliponists decide which method suits their needs.

Each method has its benefits and challenges, making it essential to consider factors like time, resources, risks and desired outcomes.

Propagation Methods - Eduction And Splitting


Eduction Overview

Eduction (sometimes called budding or soft splitting) is connecting an empty bee hive to a full hive, with a tube. Some of the bees from the full hive make their way into the empty bee hive and start building a second colony. This process is similar to what happens in nature, when a hive wants to duplicate. It is a gentle method of duplication and results in no bee deaths.

To make things easier, we sell an Eduction Kit which includes the connective tubing, a T piece (which you open once you see brood in the new hive), two viewing panels,  (so you can watch the second hive being built) and step by step, easy to follow instructions . You can find them here.

Workers travel between the two hives and eventually a princess sneaks over from the full hive, mates and becomes a Queen. Once she starts laying eggs, wait ~50 days before opening the T piece or removing the tubing. 

This method is less stressful for the bees and has a very high success rate, when compared to splitting a hive. It's important to keep a close eye on your mother hive during the process, to ensure it's still healthy and strong. The main downside to eductions are that we don't know how long they will take because it depends on the bees. A year is a typical amount of time to wait for the second hive to be ready.

See our  Eduction Kits They include everything you need!
Or you can buy separately our  Eduction Instructions and Viewing panels,



Splitting Technique

Splitting a hive involves dividing the brood (eggs) directly into two hives and adding a new, empty half to the split sections. This technique requires careful timing and handling because it can be disruptive and violent. Although it is a fast way to increase the number of bee hives, splitting has a lot more risks associated with it as the spilt honey and pollen, combined with the stress pheromones from the bees, attract pests to the hives. It's the worst time possible for pests to be hanging around a hive, as the hives defensive walls have been opened, making it easier for pests to invade the hive. This risk can be reduced by taping around the joints of the recently split hives. 

Only one half of the split has the Queen, so the queenless hive needs to re-queen to ensure the hive can carry on. 

Yes - Splitting can quickly increase bee populations, but you run the risk of losing both hives when you do this.

Personally, we prefer to educt our hives at The Stingless Bee Lady, due to the significantly less bee deaths and much lower rate of hives dying. 

Ethical Considerations

Avoiding excessive stress during propagation is key. Ethical beekeeping practices include ensuring bees have enough food and proper living conditions. Following these guidelines helps maintain healthy bee populations and supports the environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section addresses common questions about splitting and eduction techniques for Australian stingless bees.

How do you perform a split on a native bee hive?

To split a native bee hive, you separate the brood mass into two sections. Each section should have enough resources and bees to thrive on its own. A new hive box is placed next to the old one, and half of the brood and stores are transferred to the new box.

What is the process of hive eduction for Australian stingless bees?

Hive eduction involves connecting a new empty hive box to an existing colony. Bees are encouraged to move into the new box by creating a tube or short passage between the two hives. The bees then set up a second colony inside the connected hive.

When is the best time to perform a hive split for stingless bees?

The best time to perform a hive split is during the warmer months, typically in spring or early summer. This is when bee activity is high and there are ample food resources, making colony establishment more successful. Keeping an eye on local weather patterns also helps in choosing the optimal time.

How should the entrance hole be designed for a stingless bee hive?

A stingless bee hive should have a small entrance hole, about 10-12 mm in diameter. This size is optimal for allowing bees to enter and exit easily while defending against pests and predators. 

What are the steps involved in disconnecting a native bee eduction setup?

To disconnect an eduction setup, wait until the new hive is fully established, usually after several months. Then, gently remove the connecting tube between the old and new hive. Seal the rear tube hole in the back of the new hive to prevent pests from entering. Place the hives next to each other for several weeks, to let the bees chose which hive they want to be loyal too. Monitor both hives for stability afterward.

Can vertical splits be done on all native bee hives, and how?

Vertical splits involve dividing a hive into a left and right sections. Not all hive designs support vertical splits, so ensure your hive can accommodate such a division. The process is similar to a horizontal split but requires care to ensure each section gets an adequate share of bees and resources.