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The Bushy Split


I want to do a split around the middle of March and try the @Michael_Bush walk away.
I tried a split in Spring last year but separated the split by about some 300 m (yards). I saw plenty of brood, pollen and honey in each box and put branches in front of the entrance. I did not see (find) the queen and did not know which hive she was in.
The hive at the original location was hostile for weeks and I suspected it to be queen-less but this hive survived and thrived and has the flow super on and will produce honey in the next day or so.
The hive in the new location was docile and I thought had the queen,and initially seemed to be thriving but did not survive.

  1. If I see there is at least 2 frames of brood, one frame of pollen and 2 frames capped honey in each 8 frame Lang box can I do the Bushy method by taking the top box of a 2 brood box hive and placing it beside the bottom box (on a new bottom).
    Should I take two new boxes and doll out some from each of the 2 hive boxes so that there is and even(ish) split of frames from the top and bottom boxes in each of the new boxes. I would be reluctant to stir up the bees by going this way unless it was the clear best way to do it.

  2. The separation distance I am guessing at 75mm (3"). Sound about right. (Edit : measurement)

  3. In Bushy’s book P348 he says “put a bottom board on the left facing the left side and one on the right facing the right side.” Does this mean each entrances will face one another separated by the space the old hive occupied or each will face in the direction the hive originally faced. Being a bear of little brain, my thoughts are taxed to the hilt here.


I have a whole page on the website which translates to a whole chapter in the book on splits. A lot of that is the concepts. Timing is one of the main concepts of a split. Size is another. You want both sides to have resources coming in and plenty of drones to breed the queen. I don’t usually do a split unless I have at least ten deep frames of bees for each side (20 deep frames of bees) or 32 medium frames of bees. You want a strong split so they can get going again. A weak split will languish for a while. A strong split usually doesn’t miss a beat.
You also want to even out the drifting if you can, or take it into account. You can even it out with the method of having no colony left at the old location and both new locations facing the old location. In other words if this is the old location | and it’s facing ^ then you put the new bottom boards facing that -> | -< so they are like this -|- and when you are done divvying up the resources you remove the old bottom board and you have distributed everything else so now you have - - with nothing at the old location. Returning bees have to choose. In one week, swap the two so that you even things out a bit more because the queenright half will always get more bees. You do it in a week because that is before the new virgin will have emerged and she won’t be orienting already. You don’t want her flying back to the wrong colony.


Thanks for the reply. What would be the separation between the two entrances, My guess 300 mm (12 ")?
I only have one hive of two, 8 frame deep lang brood boxes so it will have to be. Would I take two new deeps and split each of the brood boxes between them so each in the split has a bit of each or just put the two existing brood boxes facing each other, providing they have brood pollen and capped honey.


It’s not a critical point, other than when I do this, I’m usually working from the old location to the two new locations and they are all right there together. So there is probably two feet between them (half a meter) just to put down a bottom board on each side and then working the boxes and or frames to where they go until the old one is now gone. There is the space for the old location and a little space to work with to get it all done. Since I have all eight frame mediums it’s easy enough to divvy up the resources by the box if I have two boxes of brood and two boxes of honey before I do the split.