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Walkaway Hive Split Bee Maturity


We successfully did a walk away split end of August, and now one of those two hives is so strong it needs to be split again. This hive has an 8 frame brood box and 6 frame flow super. We want to refine our method.
We understand the need to have eggs ,brood of various ages and food stores etc but with regards to shaking additional bees into the new split I have a question. Our splits will be side by side again about 1 metre apart.
Are the bees that are in the flow super suitable for adding to the split to give strength in numbers?
Given it is a large population are some of those bees capable of looking after the brood or are they too old or are they mostly foragers?
Keen to know what the mix of bee maturity is generally like above the queen excluder.


Hi Gaz, I would use bees from above the QX in the split. The frames of brood that I choose for the split are the ones with the most amount of sealed brood & emerging bees. Just a word of caution, I would take the split a few k’s away so that bees don’t return to the parent hive. It is important this time of year to do this on account of this hot humid weather. This is the weather that SHBs love to breed in. What we can get away with during August, I found the hard way that we don’t get away with now.

If too many bees return to the parent hive, that will leave the brood with less protection. I’m not real sure how good newly emerged bees are at protecting the brood against the beetles. I have come unstuck a couple of times thinking that newly emerged bees are defenders.

PS, I sort of have the opinion that older bees will revert back to nurse duties if needs be. I could be wrong.

I found out through experience that older Tetragonula bees don’t go back to nurse duties. Once they become field bees, there’s no going back.


Hi and thanks Jeff. I will definitely try adding bees from the super this time. I am very concious of the SHBs so will see if we can get the split to another site. We plan on giving the split away either when it is strong or straight away.
I thought you might like to see a couple of pics of our native bees coming back to their tree log.


Oh my goodness Gaz, what great photos! I have a colony of native stingless bees that just moved into an old esky which I had stored compost in. I intend to hive it one day (when my son builds the boxes!) and have been busy learning about them. Just love having them as well as the blue banded bees and firetail resin bees and great carpenter bees in the yard.


Thanks so much , We can sit and watch them all day. Sometimes I just take snaps in burst mode and get a nice surprise. We have a few varieties here in a log and boxes and find that they love the blue salvia. The blue banded bee loves basil and mint. We have split a few now and the biggest single factor for them is location.
The boxes are best made of heavy hardwood for insulation and if you follow the “oath” model then future splits are easy.
Good luck.


They are great photos Gaz. I’ve never seem mine with pollen sacks that big. Are they TH’s?, (T. hockingsi) mine are TC’s (T. carbonaria)


These are Australis very similar but they close off the entrance every night. We have Carbonaria and Hockingsi also, but the Hockingsi struggle a bit this far south. The Australis seem to get the yellow pollen regularly. You can smell the honey through the cracks in the log. We have the Hockingsi in a very shaded spot and they are very slow going and I have noticed liquid at the drain holes in the nest box so think maybe overheating or just a lot of evaporation? The TC seem to be the most robust and split easily.


I get away with moving a split three feet. I just go in the next day and maybe the following one and shake more nurse bees in.