I need some more advice, Checking the post from Eman, on May 19, I get some advice about moving bees a short way. However I moved bees 1/2 mile and lost most of the field force. This same situation likely will occure again. Any advice as to how to ,how NOT to, when etc. will be appreciated.
Thanks to all you all. I been geting lot of good information from this site.
If you need to move as far as that, I'd try to find a way to move them 2 miles or more and then move them back. Otherwise I don't think it will work well. If you only move as far as the circling field bees will eventually find and if you take steps to get them to orient when they leave you can usually get away with 100 yards or so. But if you move more than that and it's less than 2 miles then you have problems. If you can move them 2 miles and put a branch in front they will reorient pretty well. But if they are within their range of normal flight they will fly back to the old location. I guess if you insist on doing it, I'd do what I always do anyway. Which is this.
When you move the hive, either move it intact at night (without disassembling and while it's closed up) or move it into a trailer etc. right next to the current location a piece at a time and wait for night and then close it up. I will skip the details of how to nail it together and make sure it doesn't break open in the middle of the night. You've never seen angry bees until you get them angry at night.
Move it to the new location. If you can, park the trailer and wait for daylight then open up and move it a piece at a time to the new spot and then put a branch in front. If it's practical to move it in one piece you can close it up after dark and move it and open it after you get there. But the branch is critical. It makes they stop and look where they are.
Late that afternoon, I'd look to see if there are a lot of bees at the old location. If so, (and I think there will be) put a bottom board, empty box and lid at the old location. After dark, close up the box, which should now have a lot of clustered confused bees in it, and move it back to the new location. At most you might have to do this twice before they catch on.
I won't gaurentee you won't lose some field force, because when it's only 100 yards a lot of the not so smart ones circle until they find the new location, and that won't work in this case. Some will circle and end up in some other hive probably.
Still with an empty box for them to find you might get them all reoreiented in a couple of days with minimum loses.
Well, never moved a hive less than 2 miles so really don't know why you lose your workforce when you are within this range. Don't the bees know their own hive/queen? I've heard that if you even move your hive 3 feet the workers will go to the old hive location at least temporaraly. So anyone know why it has to be moving your hive 100 yards or less OR moving it more than 2 miles? Can anyone clarify why they fly back to the old location other than 'it is in their flight range and can...'
Field bees quickly memorize thier hive location and do not take the time after a day or two of field work to re-orient themselves when they leave the hive. Here it is important to remember that they navigate by the sun, not by local landmarks.
Therefore when you move a hive a distance that is still within thier normal flight pattern, they fly out without re-orienting themselves. When they go to return, they navigate by the sun and return to the old location.
When they are moved longer distances, they realize this when they leave the hive and re-orient themselves to the new location.
I've heard that putting branches in front of the hive when moving short distances will cause them to re-orient to the new location, but never tried it.
Basiclly it goes like this. If you just move a hive, 2 miles or 2 feet, the bees usually don't bother to reorient themselves unless something obvious gets their attention. In the case of two miles, this often happens because as they fly out NOTHING looks familar. When it's 2 feet or 100 yards, it's within their familar territory, so they often don't orient. Now when they are within their territory and they already had in mind where the nectar was, they just fly straight there on auto pilot without thinking. With the two mile move they start to do the same but when they don't see anything familar they usually start circling to find their hive again and then they start circling to get oeriented.
In the case of a two foot move, they fly to the nectar on auto pilot, come straight back to the old location, and when they don't see the hive they circle and within a couple of circles find the hive.
In the case of the 100 yard move, they have to keep making those circles bigger and bigger and if they find some other hive first, they often drift into that hive instead. Some keep circling until they do find their hive and smell their queen.
In the case of 1/2 mile that's a lot of circling before they ever get to the new location.
The purpose of the branch in front of the door is to force them to realize that somethings changed and check it out before they leave. In other words, reorient. If they circle the hive a couple of times they will remember where they were "parked".
There are always still some dense ones that will come back the old location and they do the growing circles until they find a hive, hopefully theirs or they will stubbornly cluster on the ground where the old hive was.
If you put an empty hive there, they will usually go in and you can take it after dark to the new location where they will smell the hive and usually go out of the "empty" one into their hive.