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Splitting a hive


Hi all.

I have a very happy and healthy hive on the Gold Coast. I am newish to bees having had the hive for a couple of years.

My hive consists of 1 brood box, 1 traditional super and 1 hybrid super.

I recently bought a hybrid flowhive and wanted to get another full flowhive so need to split my hive.

My questions are;
After purchasing my new flow hive Can I simply take say 3 brood frames and 5 honey frames from my existing hive and put straight into the new flow hive?

I don’t want to purchase another queen and my brood box has a number of queen cells.

I don’t mind if my hive swarms and leaves as I figure good for the world however if I could get another hive out of it then that would be nice.

Secondly how far do I put the new split hive to ensure all the bees don’t just bugger off back to the original hive?


Hi Damien,
Rather than go into the detail here, take a look at Michael Bush’s explanation for splitting as there are a few important considerations to make before performing such a procedure.



Thanks rod.

Good article. I think I’ll try the even split.

Just a question, I was going to out the second hive in a different location about 50m away, I’m on acreage, and was wondering the best way to do this?


Make sure you shake LOTS of bees into the new hive then place it where you want it. Any foragers will return to the original hive but the nurse bees will stay with the new hive. Get a good lot in there!



Thanks rob. And the new hive will make a new queen?


Damien Daly
0412 010 731


Something to consider if you are in a rural area then there may not be any drones for your new queen to mate with. Are there any other beekeepers in your area? It would be worth checking with them to see if they have any drones in their hives for your queen, this is VERY important.


To answer your questions: Yes & about 4 or 5 k’s away. It’s not a good thing to let hives swarm, particularly if you have close neighbors. Also from the point of view of SHB management. A primary swarm followed by a secondary swarm can leave your hive very vulnerable to SHB damage.

A flow hiver phoned me up the other day because he thought his hive was getting ready to swarm. He has close neighbors. Anyway he was so relieved when I told him that around half the bees go. He was worried that he’d lose the whole colony when they swarm. His neighbors wont be impressed if his swarm decides to move into their wall cavity.


Do you lot get a honey crop if your bees swarm?
Here in the UK that would probably be done for.
Just asking because if you do it would explain why you have such a laissez faire attitude toward losing half your bees?
Living in as populated an Island as the UK losing swarms also gives us beekeepers a bad name when the bees take up residence in somebody’s roof, so the advice is to clip your queens.
I read somewhere that fewer than 10% of swarms here make it through the winter.

Such different practices eh?


Try everything to prevent swarming. First, your neighbours won’t be happy with massae of bees flying around. You lose most of your production for the season, you lose the opportunity to split and expand your aipary and ladtly, most swarms die as there are a limited number of suitable hive sites with lots of competition.

Just some things to think about.


As for them making a queen, just make sure you take a frame of eggs and young brood, they will make emergency queens from the eggs. Also, a frame of sealed brood is good so you have new bees coming in over time.


G’day Dee!!! I’d say that a beekeeper could kiss a decent honey crop goodbye once a colony swarms. I thought clipping queens wings was something they did 40 years ago, at the time of the publication of my ABC to XYZ of bee culture. I couldn’t imagine people doing it today.

I’m a bit paranoid about colonies swarming on account of close neighbors where my bees are. I have no fear of them swarming here, because I only keep nucs here.

I’m able to still get plenty of honey on account of the preemptive swarm control strategy I adopt. Today I took 3 frames of brood, bees minus the queen from one colony, 2 frames of the same from another colony & two frames of bees only from a third colony. I combined them into one brood box plus other frames to stop them moving. I brought that home. After 3 days, I’ll split it in two, with equal queen cells in each split.


this is great news- you are ready to go. Last year I made a split taking just three frames from the donor hive- two brood and one honey/pollen- I added to fresh foundation combs and put them in a Nuc hive which I moved to a second location. The bees dutifully built queen cells which hatched and the queen mated exactly on the correct timeline. being that it was a small split it took the whole season to build up and only produced a few KG’s of honey.

If your hive already has queen cells then the process will be even quicker. I assume you are running a double brood box if you thought you could take out 8 frames? But you mention only a single brood and standard ‘super’? Is there brood in that super? If so it’s really a brood box… and you are running a double brood hive. If not- how many frames of actual brood do you have in the brood box? After winter there may not be that many- as the outer ones may be honey?


I have checked and I definitely gave drones


Jeff that is exactly what I always understood. Lose a swarm and lose your crop. I have had a trying year with the bees. They have worked hard but the weather has worked harder against them. Husband and I have worked even harder to keep them all together and to keep the hives healthy. Sometimes I stand back after four hours with the bees and wonder whether it’s worth it. It is, of course but sometimes it’s difficult. Hats off to you Jeff. You’re the tops!


And they didn’t fight, right? Amazing what you can do and the bees just sort it out sensibly. :blush:


Hi & thank you @Dee & @Dawn_SD, Dawn, This only works well during good times. I checherboard the frames of brood & bees. Important to use strange boxes & lids to any of the bees. Then I put the two frames with bees only on either side of the brood. Those extra bees ensure that the brood is well catered for. My first mentor told me that trick. He said that if you use equal numbers of bees, they call a truce & don’t fight as long as we mix the frames evenly.

I did use a lid that one lot of bees was used to once. I got a bit of fighting that time. As long as we do this during good times & use unfamiliar gear & keep the numbers close to even, as well as stagger the frames, we’re fine:)


Well, my experience is a little different, but it is also limited. I have taken 2 frames of brood and nurse bees (let the foragers fly off the frames for 10 mins or so) and put them into an 8 frame hive with no fighting. I have done it twice this year, with no ill effects. Maybe my bees were just in a good mood. Plus you are right, we were in the middle of a good nectar flow when I did it. :wink:


Hi Dawn, I think it’s important to keep as many bees on the brood frames as possible. Mainly because of warmth for the brood as well as defense against SHB, if that is applicable. That’s why I brought the nuc home, so that the foragers stay. If my nucs get too strong here, I can do the same thing & take them to my main site.


Yes in my experience if you take beesfrom at least three colonies they don’t fight


Hi Damien, check this out. Hard to hear at times, but this looks relatively simple and should work. I like it.


Thanks @Dan2 great video! It’s always helpful to watch someone go through steps you’ve read about.

I was surprised though to see the super replaced on the new hive. I suppose because the bees are in swarm mode they’ll be wax-building machines, as someone once said on the forum? So all the new space will soon be filled as long as there’s a really good flow on…I think I’d personally still wait and look in first before putting a super on a new split like that. Other thoughts?

Also, is that type of split the one known as a Walkaway split? I’d be doing more of a Stagger-and-Almost-Dropaway :scream::sweat_smile: