I ordered several queens to replace existing ones I have, they should show up in a week or two. After consideration I decided not to re-queen (2) hives, I would make splits of these hives instead since they are doing so well. When I put the frames of bees with the new queen in the new hives do I have to keep the hive away from the old hive that the bees came from?? I am concerned that the bees will go back to the original hive and abandon the new hive.
A lot of them will go back. I do splits all the time without moving them the 2 miles away. The secret is to shake in enough nurse bees from the parent hive. Put way more bees than you actually want and assume half will return home and the other half will stay. To get nurse bees, you shake bees off of open brood (trying to leave the one with the long abdomen).
After I make my splits I plan on feeding 1:1 syrup, would it also help to close up the entrance for a week to get the bees used to that hive??
24 hours might help, but more would be too stressful, IMO. I don't close them up at all.
Here's a few tricks.
(All of them exploit known bee behavior "errors",
so this could be called "bee hacking".)
Put a uniquely colored marker in a pattern that
bees can recognize (simple solid geometric patterns
are best) on each of the hives that you plan
to split. Do it now, so the bees will get
used to having a marker.
When it is time for the split, move the marker
to the split, leaving the parent colony unmarked.
This won't fool the experienced foragers one
little bit, but it will fool the younger bees
who have only been on a few orientation flights,
and will reinforce the illusion that they are
"home", even though they are now in a different
physical location, perhaps several feet from
the parent colony.
In any one yard, keep the colors as far apart
on the spectrum as possible, and try to vary
the shapes too.
Another popular strategy is to place the
splits towards the center of a row of hives
(if you have your hives in rows, which really
is not the best configuration). Bees tend to
"drift" from the hives at the ends of the rows
to the center of the rows, so you can exploit
this tendency to help the splits gain some
Another trick would be to move the parent colony,
and put the split in the exact location of the
parent. I'm not sure I like this approach, as
it means that I get a split full of relatively
"stupid" foragers, but what can one expect from
insects with brains the size of pinheads, anyway? [img]smile.gif[/img]