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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Julian, NC, USA
    Posts
    252

    Post

    Just transported 9 hives from the mountains in NC back home. Total travel time was about 2 hours and this was done after dark.
    My hives all have screened bottom boards and screen mesh was used to close the entrances. I waited until 6:30 the next morning to unload them.
    2 hives experienced a total meltdown and all bees were lost. The 2 that were lost had migratory covers which allowed for no top ventilation. 6 of the others had telespoping covers and 1 was also migratory.

    Question:
    Did the bees more likely die in transit or sitting on the trailer until morning? What can be done to prevent this in the future? (please be more specific than "give them more air")

    Thanks,
    Kurt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,481

    Post

    I don't know what the temps were at the time. If it's a hot night the bees prevent a melt down like this by moving out of the hive so they don't heat it up too much. Being trapped can get them agitated which can make more heat. Hard to tell when the collapse happened.

    Wax is very soft when it's really hot out and a bumpy ride can collapse some combs which can cause more to callapse. Collapsing combs can excite the bees making more heat.

    If it's 90 F or less out I'd put a totatlly screened lid on top and a screen door on the front. That way they can ventilat it well. If it's over 90 I would not move them at all.

    I probably would have unloaded them that night, waited a few minutes and opened the front but I don't know if that would have made the difference.

    Screened cover: http://brushymountainbeefarm.com/products.asp?pcode=373

    A double screen board is handy for many things and can work for a screened lid or screened bottom for moving: http://brushymountainbeefarm.com/products.asp?pcode=694

    Screened Front door: http://brushymountainbeefarm.com/products.asp?pcode=665

    And of course a Screened Bottom Board: http://brushymountainbeefarm.com/products.asp?pcode=277

    A screened top or a double screen board can also work for this. Make sure there is space unerneath for air and no tray.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,353

    Post

    We have transported our bees, not due to preference, from SC to NY in 80 degree heat and have not lost one yet. We always unload right away. Were the entrances screened or closed? My guess is that it happened after the bees were home if the hives were closed. It is better to leave the entrances open and throw a bee net over them. You loose some of your field force which seems to have minimal impact but are less likely to overheat. Although it's painful, don't fret too long, we all have this type of thing happen at some point in our learning process.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Waxhaw (Charlotte) NC
    Posts
    56

    Post

    Kurt,
    Sorry to hear about the loss of your bees.
    You might want to consider the physical location of where the hives that died were on the truck bed. Occasionally, a back draft (or a exhaust line leak) can develop from the exhaust pipe into the truck bed. This could kill your bees with the exhaust. Even the extra heat from the exhaust could materially endanger a hive. Obviously this would be exacerbated if a solid, rather than a mesh, tarp were used.
    WJPowers Waxhaw, NC

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, N.C.
    Posts
    5,080

    Post

    Kirt, I hope Rob Harrison or some of the other migratory keepers will step in on this, for I was only a truck driver, but the man I drove for, and others I have known, would always gather the bees and move them to a staging area in the middle of the day. With the honey flow over, he left the field bees in the field. He wanted to haul the young house bees only, stating that the field bees were nothing but a burden eating stores and would not live through the winter anyway. With all house bees, they would eat less and survive the winter with less stores. I am guessing that the wind would keep the hives cool if they were not closed in. I have carried them in Fla. at very hot temps. with no problem, but knew better then to stop for any reason. I think they probably melted down after you parked the trailer and they had no more MOVING air.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Post

    I kind of feel sorry for those abandoded bees.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, N.C.
    Posts
    5,080

    Post

    I feel sorry for my fellow man in Iraq, too, but they say it is for the benefit of the masses.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Cedartown, Georgia
    Posts
    11

    Post

    Kurt: I transported a pickup load of double brood chamber hives from North Ga. to Va. and back for the sourwood flow about 33 years ago.
    I lost a few hundred bees from each of about half of the hives but overall it was sucessful. I screened the tops of the hives using a Queen excluder wood frame which you could get from Kelly at that time and regular window screen. I used an entrance plug of my own design shaped like a wedge thet slipped into the entrance and extended past the 3/4 inch thickness of the hive wall. The plug was made of 1/8 inch hardware cloth not screen. Bottom boards were standard wood. The dead bees were packed at the entrance against the plug. The weather was hot and the trip took all day. Don't remember if they stayed on the truck all night before we unloaded, but believe they did.
    If you can find 1/8 inch hardware cloth, that is what I would suggest for the top screen and to plug the entrance or leave the entrance open and use use a bee net as Joel suggested
    Hope this helps.

    Tom Miller

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Julian, NC, USA
    Posts
    252

    Post

    Well, thank you all for the input.
    Just to clarify a few details...
    The bees did have hardware cloth covering the entrances, so they got air bottom and front.
    The temps were around 80 degrees with high humidity. It was after the sun went down.
    The bees were stacked on a trailer 3 to a row 3 deep facing forward.
    The ones that died had migratory covers with little or no ventilation through the top and were on the 3rd row furthest from the truck.
    A bee net sounds intriguing. Who supplies them and can you get them in various sizes? I will definately unload after I get back from now on.
    My guess is that they did die after I got back and they sat the night on the trailer.
    What a sad sight it was to see each wire square of the bottom board with a bee poking its head down through to (gasp) to get air.
    Live and learn. Hopefully wont happen again.

    Kurt

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Waxhaw (Charlotte) NC
    Posts
    56

    Post

    Kurt,
    I found a selection of plastic mesh tarps at Northern Tool, starting at @ 8' x 10' and going up from there. I'd expect Pep Boys, et.al. would have similar tarps.
    One thing I found fascinating in bringing my bees back from Wilkes Co to Union Co. early on a Saturady morning was that some returning "early bird" field bees ended up arriving too late to get back into their hives and rode home holding on to the outside of the tarp. Every time I stopped these ladies started to clean the road dust off their faces and then hung on to the next stop. I doubt if I could have done anything like that.
    WJPowers Waxhaw, NC

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    waco, tx
    Posts
    528

    Post

    I got shade cloth at Lowe's; lets thru air but not bees. IIRC it is 6x20 feet; cost about 20 bux or so

    Lew

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,353

    Post

    AH Meyer & Sons, 605-485-2221 sells bee nets and other bee supplies. The have an ad in ABJ every month. You can buy the type they use on tractor trailers also but be prepared to pay. Don't buy dark colors as they will collect heat and increase the danger of melt down. We run screened tops on any overcroweded hives as what you see is the common meltdown. Bees plug the only air intake they have and suffocate the hive. Absolutly classic. We run migratory on everything but try not to move crowded hives without maximum ventalation. Soaking the whole load with water helps too.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Lancaster, Ky. / Frostproof Fl.
    Posts
    991

    Post

    Throw away entrance screens when moving at night...no need for them...just agitates the bees!! They will do fine.

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