They will figure it out, you did not kill them off. There will be foragers at the old location each day, but it'll reduce quite a bit after 3 to 5 days, but will continue for 3 weeks or so. Don't put a box there to catch them as that will just delay them figuring it out.
I did the same thing a month ago. I moved five hives 50 ft. I had upset bees at the old site enmasse. A suggestion on here was to place another empty hive at the spot I moved them from, I did this with two frames of brood, and a week later I split the queen cells and got two extra colonies. When I moved them I was very careful to place several pine boughs in front of each so the bees had to crawl thru them to get out. This caused them to reorientate and I didn't get the build up at the old site again. Take this for what its worth as this is my first year, but with help from this forum I am up two colonies.
Yes as ABruce says, that works very well. I meant to not leave an all empty box in place to catch bees and then dump them in hives at the new location, that seems to make things worse to me. Leaving a box of frames with eggs and stores behind works very well, and then you can move it after a week or ten days to the new location with obstacles in front of the entrance.
This raises a question for me. If I REPLACE my top bar hive with a langstroth, will they still think it's their home if it's in the same spot even though they LOOK completely different? When i do my splits (when they need it) I planned on doing this... sorry for threadjack :-\
Yes Dakota, if it's in the same spot with entrance facing the same direction then the bees will be able to figure that change out right away, even though it does look different, location is more important than looks.
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