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Re using old nuc box


Now this is unusual, and I hope @Peter48 will take it in the spirit of lively discussion, not criticism. However, I profoundly disagree with that method unless you have plenty of strong hives (3 or more). My reason is, splitting an 8 frame hive into 2 parts may well require “top-up” frames of bees if the virgin queen part of the split takes time to get going. If you only have 4 frames left in the original hive, you may not have much extra to donate to save the split. I think it can be very risky in that situation.

The circumstances that would make me feel better about doing it his way (straight into a full size box), in no particular order:

  1. You are going to fill the empty space with fully drawn (but empty) comb.
  2. You are transferring at least 5 full frames to make the split, including 2 frames of honey/pollen and 3 frames which are well-covered with brood in all stages (BIAS). The BIAS should include eggs and some brood which is likely to emerge pretty soon. Every frame needs to be well-covered with bees, so that your nucleus will have 8-10,000 workers in it. I am referring to the queenless half of the split.
  3. You are going to put a mated, laying queen into the split within a day or so of creating the new colony.
  4. You have plenty of donor hives to boost the split hive if something unexpected happens.

I am not saying Peter is wrong, just that I am cautious, and I hate to see new beekeepers lose colonies. Splits are not hard, but they may not be easy sometimes either. You just have to have enough resources, and stay on your toes. :blush:


No, they weren’t. But thank you.


Hey Dawn, Lively discussion is good. I was talking of what I do here and is accepted practice in my climate. I made nuc boxes but only used one for a week when the box was way over crowded with hatching brood and stores building up in the hatched cells so I had to adjust my thinking about what was needed for a split. The novice bee keeper I was writing to has a similar climate where foraging and good natural nectar flow is an all year event.
When I do a split it is because the hive has the numbers of bees and stores to do it so any I have done have been a success. I guess my climate lends itself to eliminating a nuc as well, it is very stable, warm and predictable. A lot different to when I was working bees west of Sydney.
Of course bee keeping has to adjust to the season and conditions so sorry if anyone took what I said as a given. It is hard sometimes to give advise to a known climate and conditions.


Like you Peter, I split into 8-10 frame brood boxes.

@Dawn_SD, I have read before about 2 frames of honey/pollen plus 3 frames of brood, however I never follow that rule. The key to doing splits is to be aware of what’s coming in as well as the weather outlook forecast. As well as the amounts of honey, pollen & the stage of growth of the brood within the frames.

For all new beekeepers, be mindful of the fact that we are bee farmers. Like most other farmers, we need to keep an eye on the weather outlook.

It’s probably best for a new beekeeper to as Flow suggests, find a mentor. Either local or online so that attempting to do a split should be carried out after consultation with that mentor. It’s not something that needs to be rushed into.


I agree with what you are saying and making up the contents of frames to do a split is very dependent on local conditions. My aim for a split is to make it strong with bees and brood is the primary consideration. Local conditions when I decide to do a split can dictate one or two frames of honey/pollen, there is always plenty in flower here. By others standards I probably over do the frames of foundation, but again, it works well for me and the foundation is drawn out very quickly.
Weekly hive inspection gives a lot of information to the bee keeper and a mentor to get advice from and learn about local conditions and local best practice is very valuable.
By the way, the woman Wilma put in contact with me about a swarm in her bathroom ceiling wouldn’t wait for me for a couple of hours, she opted to use Baygon as her cure.
Cheers mate


Hi Peter, if Baygon cured her problem, it’s more than likely they were scouts. Scouts often inadvertently finish up in bathrooms via exhaust fans or down lights. If a colony moves in, people often spray the bees outside to no avail. That’s when they need assistance.


The coreflute plastic nuc boxes are considered fine as a nuc box. Commercial beekeepers use them to house nucs till they are ready to expand.


I’m not a fan of the coreflute nuc boxes. 5 frames fit in them, however there’s very little bee space around the frames. I find it hard to put a nuc of bees into them without squashing bees. I much rather wooden nuc or brood boxes.


Thanks for all the information that you have all shared … we are looking at doing many of the suggestions given and will continue to learn and develop our skills and knowledge …


be aware that if you make the split and leave it at your house for a few days- many of the bees will return to the mother hive. Also if you are only moving it to the neighbours yard after that it’s likely bees will return from there to.

A ‘walk away split’ is where you take the bees more than 3 miles away so they don’t come back- you could do that if you have a place to put them for 6 weeks while they build up and create a queen (assuming you don’t put your own queen in the split).

If you want to do it at home maybe @JeffH could pipe up and explain where to place the split after it’s done and how to manage the bee numbers? I have only ever done walk away splits.


It’s my understanding that a walkaway split is made up of eggs, larvae,capped brood and nurse bees along with a nectar/pollen frame. Any foraging bees that are put in are meant to return to the mother colony.
I assume the “walkaway” comes from, you do the split, walk away and come back in after a month finding a newly mated and laying queen.


I was under the impression it was walk away because you walk away with the split? I’m probably wrong…


One or both of us will be. :grin:


@Semaphore, I had the same idea as Brad. You do the split, then walk away. I first heard about it on this forum. What it’s right term is, it’s only academic. The main thing is we know what type of split we’re each talking about.

If I do a split as a swarm prevention measure, I generally take the split away. That way the bees in the split stay with the split. It’s defeating the purpose of swarm prevention if a lot of bees return to the mother hive.

There are other things to consider also. If too many bees return to the mother hive, it could leave the brood unprotected during cold nights, chilling the brood. Then there is the issue of brood being unprotected, running the risk of SHB damage, if that applies.


That’s why I’ve only done ‘take the split away’ splitsso far. It seems to require more thought and planning to do them onsite to get the right number of bees into the split.


Yes I agree Jack. You can plan it so that you use only half the frames of brood, with the other half frames of bees without brood. That way if half the bees return, you still have the other half to care for the brood, which should be sufficient.