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Where to site split

I have one Flow hive that got going last spring and has done well since. I am now thinking of getting through winter and into spring and swarm season.

One thing that I have in mind is to get another Flow hive and set it up ready to do a split at the right time. The frame my hive is sitting on has room for two hives and so that’s where I thought to put the second one. There would be ten inches or so between them. However, I’ve also read that a split should be taken a few kms away so the bees don’t just go back to the host hive.

What is the advice of those who have done this before?

PS. Another thought is to buy a langstroth base and box or nuc box for the split and sell it on and remain with my single Flow hive. That means that next year I only have one hive to do swarm control with.

I think it would be a waste to get a second flow hive unless you are really sure that you want two hives in the future.

The best time to do splits is a factor of your local climate etc so I will leave others to comment on this.

Yes, it is usually recommended to move splits c5km away from the parent hive to ensure that the flying bees dont return home, leaving the split with not enough bees to be viable.

However it is very possible to make a split at the same location but i think that10inches from the parent hive is too close. That might be too confusing for the bees and might be asking for trouble.
I would try to place the split at least 3meters away from the parent and by preference use a nuc not a full hive as this is easier for the small colony to manage. The nuc should be populated by at least two frames of capped brood (preferably 3), along with their nurse bees. Give the frame a light shake before placing in the nuc as this will allow the older flying bees to leave. Also add a couple of frames of stores and finally shake in two more frames of nurse bees (bees from supers are good).
You must be sure that you havent included the queen in the split so its a good idea to find her first and isolate her until the job is done.
Its not clear if you intend to add a queen or allow the split to make their own. If the latter its especially important to populate it well with young bees and brood, as they’ll have to make the queen cell, and also keep the colony going for longer until the new queen starts laying.

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Hi Kim, you can have the new hive that close but it would be better to give yourself more room to manage the hives. We have ours about 1 metre apart.
With regards to a split we have done at least 6 walk away splits and placed the split 1 metre away, all successful.
The splits always go straight into a standard 8 frame brood box. We take 1 or 2 honey frames, replaced by new frames with foundation, 2 broad frames ensuring 1 has eggs, replaced by new frames. The frames in the new brood box are all push to the centre to ensure the brood are warm. We don’t shake off the bees, the foragers will drift back to the original hive. The key point is ensure you have eggs in both hives. If the queen moves then they still can create another.
Once you have placed the queen excluder back on the original hive shake some additional bees off 1 flow frame into the new hive to give some extra numbers.
The reason we don’t use a smaller nuc box is they expand so quickly in Brisbane it is less disruptive. Depending on your climate this may differ for you.
You will get many other opinions I am sure from those more experienced. Good luck


When I do a split inevitably the new hive is maybe next to the original hive in my apiary. Initially both the hives will have the same scent so you will have some bee drift between them but the foraging bees will prefer the hive in the original location.
In my climate I don’t use a nuc box at all, a split goes straight into an 8 frame brood box. Often a super is added in as little as 4 to 6 weeks.
My Flow Supers were bought separately and added to the Lanstroth brood boxes which are dimensionally the same but cheaper from a bee gear shop.
Having a second hive can be very handy in hive management. They also sell quickly on GumTree. There is little extra time needed to care for a second hive as you are already suited up and the smoker going, so go for it Kim.

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If I do a split I do so into a nuc. Then I position it next to the original hive. If too many bees drift back to the original hive I just swap their position. Leave for a day and observe again. Might relocate back to the original postions if needed. Just a matter of managing bee numbers between the hives.

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Thanks for the replies, everyone. The second hive arrived a few days ago and is now assembled and ready for painting.