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New Hive Split!

I’m relatively new to the game but I think I’m at the point whereby, coming into Spring, I’m ready to split the hive.
I don’t intend placing a queen into the new box.
What distance do you shift the new hive to?
I’m guessing I’d need to ask permission of a distant property owner to “park” the new hive.
If so, how long does one park it for?

Any advice welcome.


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Hi Serge, I take my splits far enough away so that I think no bees will return to the old hive. I guess it all depends on the bees foraging range.

If I was going to bring it back, I would wait 2 weeks. That’s not based on any scientific study, just my thinking. @Dawn_SD might have a better idea on how long to wait.

Thanks Jeff. About 5km away or thereabouts?

If I wasn’t sure if the queen went with the split, I would wait at least 2 weeks, and then not bring it back until I saw a decent pattern of eggs and larvae. I wouldn’t want to move a split if there is a new queen out on a mating flight… :astonished:


Yes of course Dawn, I overlooked the most important bit. It was at the end of the day.

I never move nucs around during the time when virgin queens are needing to get mated. I want to give the colony a few days to locate the DCAs, as well as allow the queen to orientate to the entrance.

I don’t know what I was thinking when I said that. I got onto a tangent of the bees themselves, thinking that a lot of the older bees would have died off, so therefore a lot of new bees would make new orientation flights & not return to the parent hive.

Having said that: One could bring the split back prior to the first queen emerging, which could be about 10 days later, if time was of the essence, otherwise wait a month.


Thanks to both of you for your helpful advice.


I leave my splits next to the original hive… The new Queen will orientate to this location. Have I misread the question?

Its not essential to move the splits away from the apiary. The important thing is to know that most of the older bees will return to the original hive and to be prepared for this when making the split.
Therefore do include frames of capped brood, the closer to emerging the better, and populate the split with bees taken from the supers of the original hive. These are younger bees that have generally not oriented to the parent hive yet so they will orient to the split the first time they go outside. Be sure to overpopulate the split.
If you need more bees than you can easily obtain from the parent hive you can add from other hives, but don’t populate the split with bees from two hives as they will fight. If you populate from three or more they will be ok.
Closing the new hive for a day, weather conditions permitting, will also help.


Hi Jim,

Thanks for your reply which gives me some hope for not having to relocate the second hive if I don’t have to! I’m in Victoria, Australia and just starting to come into Spring.

My setup is simple:: I have the narrow original FlowHive brood box with a second box above it - I’m thinking you’re calling that the super. Rather than keeping that arrangement I’m wanting to remove that top box completely and start a new hive with it - effectively a new brood box - but keeping it nearby/next to the original hive. This second hive is the larger FlowHive version.

At the moment, both boxes are packed solid with comb, bees, and brood so I guess you could say that the younger and older bees are mixed and quite “close" to one another!

I was hoping that I could relocate all those frames from the top box into the new wider brood box and also add in some frames with foundation just to “fill out” the new brood box. I know this sounds simplistic and the risk is that a new queen won’t necessarily form. I guess I could also add in a new queen.

The super is the box above the brood box and is delineated with a queen excluder (QE) - if not, you essentially have 2 brood boxes. If you have a QE in place, there will not be brood in both boxes. But if you wintered your 2 boxes without a QE, chances are the brood could still be in the lower box. Either way, you’ll have to be selective of which frames to transfer to your new box and avoid moving the queen.

To successfully split and allow the colony to rear a queen, you require brood in all stages (BIAS) and a colony of nurse bees to care for the new brood.

Search up walk away splits.

Alternately, take a photo of your current setup and we can offer you further advice.

Thanks so much “fred”!
You’re correct in saying there are effectively two brood boxes (BB) and I didn’t use a QE.
Okay, so I’ll have a good look at the frames. When I looked about a month ago there was plenty of honey, 10-15% brood (uncapped) and about 10% drone cells in the top BB. Oh, and there were stacks of bees. Couldn’t find the Queen though!


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Don’t sweat it, the queen will even elude the most experience of bee keepers. As long as you see evidence of a queen, that’s all you need (in order of preference - eggs, larvae and capped brood).

If you’re seeing drone cells and plenty of worker bees, sounds like you’re ready to split, it’s now season of swarming/ breeding.

For your split, provided both hives have BIAS, you should be reasonably safe not knowing which box the queen is in.