Distance to move a split hive
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
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    Richmond, va
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    Default Distance to move a split hive

    I will be doing a few splits this year, and wondering really just how "set in concrete" the distance of 2 miles is for moving a split if you want the split to hang on to all the forager bees.

    I have a convenient spot about 1 mile down the road. I'm wondering if I can move a new split, that has a bunch of foragers from the the mother hive, down there for a few days and then back to my apiary, if that is enough distance for them to re-orient.

    My idea was to make the split (either existing queen cell, or walk away) and put the split box into the space where the mother hive was for a few hours to fill with foragers, then close it up and move it. Move the mother hive back to original spot.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    Gainesboro, Tennessee
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    Default Re: Distance to move a split hive

    what if you were to move the parent colony a few feet away and place the split colony in the original hives location. Why not keep it like that?? This way the young split gets a boat load of foragers and you don't have to move a ton of hives around a mile down the road. Which is probably not far enough.
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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Salt Lake City, UT
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    1,370

    Default Re: Distance to move a split hive

    When you make a split one hive is going to end up with all the foragers and one is going to be forager poor. Since the mother hive usually had plenty of brood and lots of nurse bees it has a population that can very quickly graduate to being foragers. Tennessee's Bees suggestion to let the new hive have all the foragers and move the mother hive just to another spot in the same apiary is the easiest and works just fine.
    Zone 6B

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Baltimore County, Maryland, USA
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    88

    Default Re: Distance to move a split hive

    Consider keeping both hives in the same place. Turn them so that the entrances face each other with the location of the original entrance in the gap between the hives. After four or five days turn both hives to face the original direction. If the populations get out of balance over the next week swap the hives.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Greenbrae, CA, USA
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    743

    Default Re: Distance to move a split hive

    I agree with all of the above... not necessary to move a split miles away. I've done plenty with the split a foot from the mother hive and they're fine.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: Distance to move a split hive

    I move my splits 2", that right, 2 inches, which is the height of a Snelgrove board.

    Nancy

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
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    5,604

    Default Re: Distance to move a split hive

    Quote Originally Posted by dddillon View Post
    My idea was to make the split (either existing queen cell, or walk away) and put the split box into the space where the mother hive was for a few hours to fill with foragers, then close it up and move it.
    If you do this and move the hive only 1 mile away you will most likely end up with very few foragers left in the hive. Most of them will probably find their way back to the original location they were moved from. I don't think it's far enough away to keep them fixed at the new spot, they will pick up a landmark and head back to the old coordinates.

    Unless you can move them more than 2 miles away your best bet is to choose one of the splitting options suggested above.
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  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,942

    Default Re: Distance to move a split hive

    In 45 years of beekeeping I have never moved a split to a different location. You need to either plan on drift, or do things to mitigate drift. Either shake extra bees in, or time your split to leverage the drift to make more honey, or play with location e.g. have the two resulting colonies facing the old colony with nothing there.
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  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Posts
    367

    Default Re: Distance to move a split hive

    Same experience as above.

    I do one of two things depending on the situation.

    1. Take the queen with capped brood and nurse bees to another location - I'm on 4.5 acres so I never go over 2 miles.
    Leave enough capped brood and eggs in original location for them to raise a new queen.

    2. Take almost exclusively capped brood from donor hive leaving queen behind. Make sure there are eggs. Find the queen and put her aside. Shake all the nurse bees you can into the new hive.
    You can then move the new hive to a new location. The nurse bees will stay while the foragers fly back to the original hive they will raise a new queen and you're done.

    Number 1 is usually ideal. I've found foragers are generally more adapt to raising a new queen while providing constant resources. By moving the queen with nurse bees and resources, that hive usually recovers quickly.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Bucks County PA
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    383

    Default Re: Distance to move a split hive

    The reality of things is you don't have to move the spit any farther than the space required to set it next to the donor colony. Force reorientation for both stacks by blocking the entrances with grass/sticks/etc., and all will be well other than maybe a few stragglers who have incredible memories. As long as they learn where "home" is, there shouldn't be an issue.
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  12. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
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    1,247

    Default Re: Distance to move a split hive

    Just like it is stated above, I have never moved a split farther than 20 feet but I have not been at it for 45 years. If you plan it out correctly, you will be just fine. There are limitations when you do splits within the same yard but they are not major problems and easy to work with.

    Moving the split 1 mile down the road is not enough distance if you want to keep the foragers in the new hive. They will find their way back to the original location. Do the split as if you were keeping the hive in the same yard.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Jackson, Ohio (SE Ohio) USA
    Posts
    817

    Default Re: Distance to move a split hive

    I've only done three splits, all moved two feet away and all were successful. As to which one ended up with more foragers, it's kind of a moot point isn't it? I thought the idea of a split was either to head off swarming or increase the number of hives you have. Either way, the bees will straighten it out. The methodology you propose is well thought out, except for the one mile distance, however not needed IMHO.

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