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  1. #1

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    I moved my hives from my covered patio where I kept them for the winter to their usual summer spot on the other side of the yard (about 50 ft. away). All the forage bees are returning this morning loaded with pollen, but they are all swarming around the patio. I lit a small fire hoping the smoke would keep them from landing there, but they are just hovering around. What can I do to direct them to the new hive location? Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,402

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    What I WOULD have done is this. Move the hive after dark by closing up the entrance and moving it, if it's light enough and you have enough help to lift it. Put a branch in front of the entrance so they will know to reorient themselves when they leave. Some bees will still return for a while to the old location, but they will circle until they smell the hive.

    If I didn't have any help and had to move a hive myself with two brood chambers and some supers, I would move them in the middle of the afternoon. Set a bottom board down, move everything from the one hive to the new bottom board until they are all reverse order (execpt the last box) and then move the last box and bottom board to the new location followed by all the others except one. I'd leave it until dark and close it up and move it to the new location. Put the branch in front of the entrance and still some will return to the old location and circle until the find the new location, but not nearly as many as if you leave out the branch. It kicks in their instinct to figure out where they are.

    Now that you moved it, you can either accept that they will eventually circle big enough to find the old hive, or you can put a super there, preferably one from their hive they were working on, on a bottom board with a lid, and wait until dark and move it back to the new location and put a branch in front of the door.

    That's what I'd do.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
    Posts
    821

    Smile

    You will loose all you honey collecting bees and there is trouble for days.

    The best thing (the only right possibility) is to wait till all the bees are in the hive and bring the hive on a place outside from the 2km flight zone for at least 4 days. After 3 day the bees have no orientation to the old place any more and you can bring the colony on the other spot in your garden.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,479

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    Winter the bees in their "usual summer spot" this year. It will save you alot of headacke. When moving bee hives, it is recomended to either move them about 3 or 4 km away for a few days, or a little bit every day.

    Ian

  5. #5

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    According to our beekeeping class teacher, you either move a hive no more than two feet at a time, or at least three miles. In other words, you really should have either taken 25 days and moved the hive two feet each day, or moved it to a friend's house that was at least three miles away, left it there for a few days, and then moved it back. Now, however, that information doesn't really help you that much.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    43,402

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    I have heard this opinon. If you have a place two miles away where you can put a hive, maybe this is a good method. I have never had that luxuary. I also don't have the time to move it 25 times. From my experience if you put something in the way of the entrance that they can't miss, like a branch, they get oriented as then are leaving. You can observe this. They will circle for a while before they leave. And when some of them return to the old location and they can't find the hive at the old location they find their way back to the one they oriented to that morning. Some of them have to do ever enlarging circles until they find it, but even those dense ones find it eventually.

    It does disrupt the hive for a day, but no matter how you move you will disrupt it for a minimum of a day. If you move it 25 times you'll disrupt it for 25 days. If you move it two miles away and then back you'll disrupt it for 2 days.

  7. #7

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    Mr. Bush, I took your advise and placed a branch in front of both hives and put an empty super on the porch with the inner cover from the "home" hive on top. This morning there were about two cups (is that a measure of bee number?!) of bees clustered inside. Before they had a chance to start the day, I sat the super on top of the hive in the new location and I have yet to see a bee on the porch. It worked! Thanks.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,402

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    Glad it helped. It always worked for me. You're welcome.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,479

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    Another method that seems to work with moving spring colonies within the beeyard is to move them to the new location during an overcast drizzly cool three to four day period. It seems that the bees tend to reorientate themselves after delayed periods of little foraging activity in the spring.

    Ian

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