Walk away worries

I tried my first walk away split last Monday 10th Sept, one frame of eggs, larvae and capped brood and one frame of capped brood with some pollen. All frames covered with bees plus I shook in one extra frame of bees in as well.

This was placed in new 8 frame brood box along with a frame of capped honey and nectar which was harvested from the parent donor hive three week previous and kept in freezer and a frame of open cells taken 2 weeks prior to that and four foundationless frames, two each side.

These were my pre-emptive swarm prevention planning (opening the brood) as I only have the one hive from a cutout December 2017.

I removed the robber screen after three days as I saw no activity at the entrance, second mistake, first mistake was not splitting into a nuc and turning entrances to face each other. After a couple of hours there was a mass of robbing so I replaced screen as per the photo this is the current setup.

I did a quick inspection yesterday (Monday) and located a queen cell just about to be capped, did not look any further and closed up the hive.

Today will be day 8 so I hope it is now capped, I have observed a couple of bees exit and enter the split, I also added a 1:1 bag feeder to the inner cover.

My guess is all the foragers have returned to the parent hive, should I close up the hives tonight and swap positions for a couple of days or will that cause chaos, or do I leave well alone and maybe add a frame of brood in a weeks time?

The parent donor hive is going gang busters but today the weather has turned a bit cool and I am worried the split hive will get chilled.

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I would leave well enough alone as it is now and in a week add a frame of brood to the split and add a frame of brood every two weeks till you see that you have a laying queen. A cool night won’t cause an issue with the bees providing the weather changes again.
Your split was done correctly and I am wondering if what you thought was robbing going on was actually the bees being confused at to which hive they belonged to, I have seen that happen in my apiary when I have the parent hive next to the split, but I don’t see any fighting at the entrance, it seems more a case of the bees checking out the changes.
Regards Anthony


Thanks for the reassurance @Peter48 being my first split it may be as you have said, there was no fighting as such just a lot of activity in a short amount of time and I panicked and replaced the screen. Would the bees from the parent hive be interested in entering a queenless hive?

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An interesting question. At the moment in my Apiary I have 4 hives that I have got from doing splits. When I do a split it is into a full depth 8 frame box. With a good nectar flow and it seems a truce is called in the apiary. The bees from the parent hive would not relate to the ‘new’ hive as related but bees can be inquisitive when they see a change. The scent of the queen would normally be dissipated by the time a nuc is closed up.
You could fit a mouse guard over the entrance, a handy piece of kit, to restrict the entrance size if you are concerned about robbing. But I have only seen or heard of robbing taking place in a dearth. It is easier to forage for nectar than risk death from angry neighbors.

I can reduce the entrance to about an inch wide, so I might do that when I add the brood frame next week, thanks for your advice.


@Peter48 that’s helpful to for us less experienced beeks to keep in mind, as it’s always important to look at context, not just behavior.


Nice looking setup @liteceeper :sunglasses:

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That is very true that we need to work out why something is happening, just seeing something is often ignoring the issues behind it.
Bees don’t do something without a cause and as bee keepers we fail if we don’t sit back and think about issues in a hive. Often it is a matter of thinking about all the possibles then eliminating those that couldn’t apply. But sometimes it is so obvious with a little thinking with a bees mind. I see bees as very intelligent insects, we have so much to learn about them.
Spend time when doing inspections to think about what you are seeing and you will be a better beekeeper. Hive management and inspections are so important.