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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Bedford,KY,USA
    Posts
    29

    Question

    I noticed this evening a large amount of bees in the grass in front of their hive. Most of them are loaded with pollen of various colors, and there is a lot of activity from the hive, the temps are about 55 in the sun. I moved several of them into the sun and they soon livened up and took off. This is my first experience with bees, but I beleive they are getting chilled before they can get into the hive. My hive is in the sun from morning until about 2 then shaded the rest of the day, I am probably going to have to move it into full sun, about 40 feet away, these bees have only been in their hive for about 2 weeks so what is the right way to move it or does it matter?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lynnville, Ia, USA
    Posts
    165

    Post

    The rule of thumb for moving bees is two feet or two miles. If you move the hive forty feet, the bees will go back to where the hive used to be and you will have a mess.
    They have to go to an area where they have no familiar points of orientation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Post

    I have posted my method of moving a hive several times. The axiom is always quoted "2 feet or 2 miles". I move hives all the time with no real problems. I should write up a long version taking into account all the things a newbie may not assume, but the short version of what I usually do, since I have no help and the hives are usually large is this. In the afternoon a couple of hours before dark, I move all of the boxes. Use your logic and figure out that you'll need some extra bottom boards and you want to end up back in the order they were. Move all of the boxes except one to the new location and set it up like a hive. Put a branch in front of the entrance so the bees leaving the new location will reorient. Leave one box (super etc.) at the old location. After dark, put a block over the entrance and move it next to the new location. Don't open the hive after dark unless you have a death wish. Remove the block on the box and in the morning when the bees are flying put it on top of the new hive. If you want, you can put a box at the old location with a branch in front to catch any stragglers and bring them back that night, but I've never had any straglers after the day after.

    Of course if you have enough help, maybe you can close up the hive and move it whole after dark, but I usually don't have that much help.

    The key is getting the bees to reorient to the new location and the method of doing that is the branch in front of the door.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Bedford,KY,USA
    Posts
    29

    Post

    Does the description I gave sound like the bees are just getting chilled, has anything like this ever happpened to you? And please excuse my ignorance but the branch you talk about, is this just stuck in the ground a few feet in front of the entrance so that they have to fly by it to forage?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Post

    I take a small branced branch and lean it against the hive in front of the entrance. The important thing is that they have to fly between the little branches to get out and it causes them to realize that something has changed which causes them to circle the hive and get reoriented before they leave. The only critical part is they have to be able to get through it and they have to not be able to miss seeing it. Just an old branch with three or four forks in it, put where they will have to see.

    Basically if you don't do this virtually all of the field bees will go out and forage and return to the old location.

    If you DO this some will return to the old location, just like you going on auto pilot and driving all the way home when you meant to go to the store because you got on that route. But if they saw the branch when leaving, then after circling a few times they will remember that and return to the new location. The dense ones will do ever widening circles until the find the new location.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Post

    As to the cold bees in front of the hive, I've seen it mostly on a sunny cold winter day when the hive got warm enough that the bees thought they could fly and they fly out and fall in the snow. I have not seen it just because it got chilly in the afternoon.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Milford, NJ, USA
    Posts
    73

    Post

    What I just read is a very intersting way of moving hives a short distance. I had always heard the 2 ft or 2 miles deal before.
    However I would go back to the pont of whether the move is needed at all. I will guess that if you put the hive where you first put it, it might be for some reason. Perhaps just convinience to you. In any case, sun from morning to 2pm as you describe in your case is much more sun than many other people's hives have. Although mine are in full sun I bet that many people would say that the "partial full sun" that you have is ideal.
    Also I would point out that I did see a lot of bees around my hives on the grass recently. Being kind of new at the game, I though that they might be the loads of new bees getting out of their hives for the first few times and getting a hang on the location and actually flying. I did read that idea in some book once. I could try to find it if you like...
    So in short, personally I would leave the hive where it is. And perhaps add a second one in the full sun 40 ft away.
    Only my two cents.
    Alex

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