Moving a hive of bees is a delicate process that requires careful planning and execution. By considering the safety of both the bees and their handlers, and taking steps to minimize disruption to the existent hive environment, you can successfully move your hive with relative ease.
Whether the hive needs to be moved a short distance or a longer one, following the steps outlined below will help protect the bees, the hive, and ultimately the beekeeper. With the right equipment and some preparation, you should be able to move your hive safely and securely.
If you already have a new location for the hive, continue to read the steps below. If you are still scouting, make sure to choose the right site for the new location.
Things to Consider
Prior to beginning the process of moving your beehive, it is important to consider factors such as location and safety, for both the bees and any necessary handlers. Ensure that the location you’ve chosen for your hive is safe and secure, free from potential threats or disturbances. In addition, make sure that you have all of the necessary equipment and resources on hand, such as beekeeping suits, protective gear, a bee smoker, bee-friendly containers and transportation vehicles.
The best weather conditions to move a beehive are mild temperatures and calm winds. The ideal temperature range for bee activity is between 16-28°C (60-82°F). It is also important not to move a hive if there is any chance of potential thunderstorms or extreme temperatures, winds, and rain. This can cause the bees to become agitated, which can be dangerous. Moving a beehive during or shortly after rain should be avoided as it can cause the bees to become disoriented and confused.
Make sure to move the hive during the day. Bees are most active during daylight hours and have less energy at night. Use a bee brush or soft cloth to gently remove any bees still clinging to the hive frames. Position the hive in its new home before noon so that bees can orient themselves and return home in the evening.
What you Need
Moving a beehive requires a few steps and materials. You will need:
- Blankets or tarps for wrapping the hive, or you can use a large box or crate (optional)
- Bee brush to remove any bees clinging to the hive
- Burlap or Newspaper to protect the boxes
- Rope or Straps (ratchet straps work best)
- A truck or trailer to transport the hive in, (if needed). If the move is short distance, a manual platform truck may be suffice
- Protective clothing and gear such as a beekeeper suit, veil, gloves, and boots
- Bee Smoker to calm the bees while you move it
- A pair of extra hands or two depending on the weight of the hive
Preparation for Moving a Hive
Preparing to move a beehive requires some planning and preparation. Before you begin, you should assess the size and weight of the hive. Once this is done, you can determine what kind of truck or trailer will be needed for transportation. If the hive needs to be moved for a short distance, it is easiest to use a manual platform truck. For longer distances, you will need a truck or a trailer.
If you have not done so already, you should scout an extra pair or two of helping hands. Next, ensure that you have all equipment and supplies on hand.
Make sure that all your protective gear is in place, i.e. beekeeper suit, veil, gloves, and boots. As part of the safety preparation, it is important to put on all of your protective gear correctly. Make sure to pull the veil down over your face, so that no skin is exposed and the hood is securely fastened. Ensure that all clothing items – such as the beekeeper suit and boots – are zipped up or tied so that no bees can get in, and wear gloves for extra protection.
Preparing the hive
Next up is preparing the hive. Begin by smoking the hive entrance to calm the bees before moving them. Smoke is used as a calming agent and should never be overused. Once they are calm, slowly open up your hive and inspect it. Gently clean the hive with the bee brush from any bees clinging to the hive.
Make sure all of the frames are properly secured before moving it. If possible, secure each frame separately using string or elastic bands so they don’t shift during transport. When moving a beehive, it’s important to ensure that the parts remain secure and together. You can use straps to firmly attach the baseboard to the brood box.
You will need to close off entrances and exits for the bees. This can be done with tape or cardboard so that the bees are unable to leave during transport. Then, wrap each box of the hive in burlap or newspaper to protect them, making sure not to secure too tightly as to inhibit air flow.
Moving a Hive
Once your hive is ready to move, you can safely lift it and place it onto whatever transport you have chosen. Make sure all boxes are secured tightly either with straps or rope before taking off. If you are moving the hive for a longer distance, you can wrap the hive up in blankets, tarps or a moving box for extra protection.
Finally, use rope or ratchet straps to secure the wrapped hive onto the truck or trailer. Make sure it is tightly secured and won’t move during transport. Once you have loaded the hive on the truck or trailer, take off!
Keep the Bees Calm During Transport
The most important thing to remember when moving bees is to keep them as calm as possible. When bees sense that they are in danger or perceive a threat, they will become agitated and swarm. To lessen their anxiety during the move, it’s best to cover the hive in something like burlap cloth, which can help reduce the amount of light entering into the hive and reduces stress levels on the bees during transit.
When moving a hive a short distance, some beekeepers suggest moving the hive a few meters each day to its new location. However, when moving a hive over a short distance, it is usually better to move it in one go. This is because moving the hive a few meters at a time can cause distress to the bees and disrupt their natural navigation. Additionally, the stress of being moved could potentially kill some of the bees in the hive or leave them disoriented.
Step by Step Summary
Step 1: Ensure that moving day is a good one for moving – preferably on a warm, sunny day when there are plenty of flowers around for the bees to explore in their new location. Plan the move during daytime, preferably before noon.
Step 2: Make sure that everyone involved wears full protection.
Step 3: Cover your hive with a shelter such as an old blanket or other fabric so that the wind won’t blow away any parts of the hive while moving. This is especially important if moving a long distance.
Step 4: Transport your beehive slowly and carefully to its new location, making sure that it is not subject to sudden starts or stops during the trip. Also make sure you’re familiar with the local rules and regulations regarding moving a beehive as these can vary from place to place.
Step 5: Once at its new home, double-check that all straps are still secure so that no parts of the hive come away during transport. Then remove the coverings you used for protection before placing your hive in its permanent spot in its new location.
Step 6: Make sure there are plenty of flowers around for the bees to explore, so they become acquainted with their new home and create the necessary nectar resources they need.
By following these steps, moving a beehive can be done safely and with minimal disruption to your hive. Taking the time to properly secure, cover and transport your hive is essential for protecting not just your bees but also the beekeeper!