How to Make a Walkaway Split: A Simple Technique for Beekeepers

Beekeeping is an art that allows us to observe and interact with the fascinating world of honeybees. One technique that beekeepers employ to expand their apiary and prevent swarming is called a walkaway split. This method involves creating a new colony from an existing hive by separating it into two parts. In this blog post, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of making a walkaway split, enabling you to multiply your colonies and enhance your beekeeping experience.


What is a Walkaway Split?


A walkaway split is a method of colony division that mimics natural swarm behavior. It involves splitting a healthy and populous hive into two separate hives, allowing the bees to create a new queen in one of them. This technique can help prevent swarming by providing the bees with ample space and resources, while also allowing beekeepers to increase the number of colonies in their apiary.


Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Walkaway Split

Before proceeding with a walkaway split, ensure you have the necessary equipment and knowledge to handle the process safely. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you successfully create a walkaway split:


Timing is Key

Choose a time when your colony is strong and populous. Ideally, this should be during the spring when the colony is actively growing and raising brood. A strong colony will have enough resources and bees to create two viable hives.


Prepare the New Hive

Set up a new hive next to the existing hive that you plan to split. Ensure it has enough frames with drawn comb or foundation for the bees to build on. Provide a solid bottom board, hive body, inner cover, and outer cover for the new hive.


Find the Queen

Begin by inspecting the original hive to locate the queen. Look for the presence of eggs, larvae, and capped brood, as these indicate a healthy queen is present. Once you have confirmed her presence, mark her with a queen marker to make her easier to identify during the split.


Split the Hives

Remove 3 frames of brood containing eggs, open and capped along with honey, and pollen frames from the original hive, ensuring each hive receives an equal distribution. The queen remains in the original hive. When moving frames of brood be sure to take the nurse bees with the frame as they will stay with the split whereas some of your foragers may return to the original colony so you want to make sure you have enough bees. You can even shake an extra frame of nurse bees into the split especially if you have equal resources in both boxes.



Add Frames and Establish the New Hive

Place the frames from the original hive into the new hive, ensuring they are in the same order and orientation as they were in the original hive. Fill any remaining space with frames containing foundation or drawn comb.


Provide Resources

To support the newly split hive, ensure there is an adequate supply of food. Add a feeder with sugar syrup or a frame of honey to give the bees a head start in building their new colony.


Monitor and Assess

In the days and weeks following the split, regularly monitor both hives to ensure the new colony is developing well. Look for signs of a queen being raised, such as the presence of queen cells, and monitor the overall health and population of both hives. If you do not want to wait for a queen to hatch and mate you can save yourself six weeks of bee decline by purchasing a new queen for the hive you split.


Making a walkaway split is a valuable technique for beekeepers to expand their apiary while preventing swarming. By following these steps and being attentive to the needs of both the original hive and the newly created split hive, you can successfully create two thriving colonies. Remember to be patient and observe the progress of each hive, adjusting your management practices as necessary. With practice and experience, walkaway splits can become an essential tool in your beekeeping repertoire, allowing you to witness the growth and resilience of these remarkable honeybee colonies.Checkout colony maintenance supplies at

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