Walk-Away-Split

One way to increase your honey bee hives is to do a Walk-Away-Split. This involves simply taking some honey, pollen, brood and eggs and dropping them into a Nuc, and then walking away to let the bees build a new queen and start a new hive. There are a couple of things to keep in mind when trying this methodology:

1. Walk Away is just a term. It is wise to go back a week later to check for a queen cell (you have to be really careful to be sure that you do not damage this cell). Return in another 2 weeks to see if you have a queen. Finally, return 1 week later to check for eggs (it might take another week for her to lay, so be prepared to not find any eggs on this check.)

2. If you cannot tell if a queen is around or not on the second check, you can always drop a frame of eggs into the Nuc and check back a week later to see if they built a queen cell. If so, then no queen exists. If not, then a queen is in there and you just need to keep checking for evidence of egg laying.

3. On placement, many folks say to move the Split a good distance (at least 2 miles) from the parent hive. But, a colleague at work (Doug Ladd) just places his split (Nuc) in the location of the old hive. This gives it a boost from the foragers that come back to it. Michael Bush simply moves the split 10 yards and places grass/twigs on the entrance to make the reorient (he claims to have done several hundred splits in his life and has never had a problem doing it like this.) Another person (I do not recall who) said to simply place the split and the parent hive facing one another, with the old hive location directly between them. Not sure about this one, as I do not recall who told me that…

What are your thoughts on this?