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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Cincinnati, Ohio
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    Default Donated Hives a Bad Idea and Best Time to Move

    A friend of one of my family members had a death in their family. The deceased was a beekeeper and has a few active hives/colonies that the family does not want. They have been offered to me and I'm of course excited about the chance to get a few established hives for free. Is this a really bad idea to take them since I don't have any info on their history or health? Since it's cold here right now it may be fought to examine them closely.

    Secondly, if taking them is not a bad idea, is moving the hives in the winter months a bad idea? I'm in southern Ohio.

    Thanks in advance for any help/advice.

    Paul

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    McDonough, NY United States
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    244

    Default Re: Donated Hives a Bad Idea and Best Time to Move

    I would hastily agree to take them, and then -

    Do you currently have hives?

    If you currently have hives I would keep the hives separated from your current ones until you can inspect for disease in the spring. If they look clean and healthy in the spring, bring them all together.

    If you don't currently have hives, you have nothing to lose! As far as moving them, I would think that as long as you seal them up so no bees can escape, you should be fine. I'm sure it will agitate them, but all they can do is break cluster a little. Try to do it on a warmer sunny day and insulate them from the wind as good as possible.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Bristol,MA,USA
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    710

    Default Re: Donated Hives a Bad Idea and Best Time to Move

    You should accept the hives. I would not move them in the winter. Sure if jostled they would break cluster but what many beeks do not seem to consider is that often times the bees get quite angry while being moved during the winter and ball their queen. The beek only finds this out when it is too late in the spring when there is no build-up. Leave them where they are, if you can, and move them in the spring when the weather is warmer. OMTCW

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Citrus County, Florida, United States
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    258

    Default Re: Donated Hives a Bad Idea and Best Time to Move

    Gift horse...mouth....does it have all it's teeth?

    If it were me, I'd for sure claim them and move them during the first "reliable" week I'd be getting day temp above 55 F. If you're worried about AFB or something, claim them and leave them where they are as long as you can then inspect and test them once it's reliably warm.

    Just my .02

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
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    4,078

    Default Re: Donated Hives a Bad Idea and Best Time to Move

    I wouldn't exspect a sickly hive to survive an Ohio winter.
    If they are to be the only hives in you're apiary you can't do any harm by taking them in the spring.
    Dan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
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    384

    Default Re: Donated Hives a Bad Idea and Best Time to Move

    Free bees? I'd claim them in a heartbeat, but that's just me.

    I've been advised not to move my hive in winter (I'd like it to be in a sunnier spot). The concern was all the jostling breaking the cluster up.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio
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    4

    Default Re: Donated Hives a Bad Idea and Best Time to Move

    Thank you all for your input. I do have other hives in my bee yard and that was my concern about taking these. As was stated though I was assuming that an unhealthy hive probably would not live through the Ohio winter anyway. I may not have a choice but to move them in winter but will certainly wait until spring if possible. Thanks again for all your help.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
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    2,438

    Default Re: Donated Hives a Bad Idea and Best Time to Move

    I say leave then until early spring Paul. Close the hives just before dark and transport. When you do move them MAKE SURE the frames length run from front to back of the vehicle, trailer, whatever you transport in.
    If you transport with the frames running side to side, you may run the chance of killing bees due to the swinging action of the frames when you stop and start. Just being cautious is all.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio
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    4

    Default Re: Donated Hives a Bad Idea and Best Time to Move

    I had not thought of the frame direction. Thanks, that makes a lot of sense.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
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    2,172

    Default Re: Donated Hives a Bad Idea and Best Time to Move

    In the best case scenario - they are booming and disease-free - in the spring you could make splits from the hives, and then move the splits. They would be easier to carry and there should be little drifting.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    3,530

    Default Re: Donated Hives a Bad Idea and Best Time to Move

    ...I would try to find out if antibiotics were used routinely. If they were, time should consider the possibility of repressed AFB.

    DEKNOW
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: Donated Hives a Bad Idea and Best Time to Move

    If you're really worried I'll come get them
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,702

    Default Re: Donated Hives a Bad Idea and Best Time to Move

    Hmmm... Free beehives. All you have to do is pick them up!

    Between now and then, just do a google and study up how to recognise AFB. If the worst happens (unlikely), and they have AFB, you have to burn them. It will cost you your time. The other bee diseases, there are ways to live with.

    If the former owner was in poor health before he died, the hives may be in neglected condition. Just keep asking on Beesource people can talk you through how to replace old boxes etc.

    In consideration of the deceased beekeepers family, they probably want them moved as soon as you are able.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    JACKSON OHIO
    Posts
    485

    Default Re: Donated Hives a Bad Idea and Best Time to Move

    I will come and get them I am only 90 miles east of cincy. I would check with the local bee inspector to see if he knows anything about them. I agree that if they are alive they are healthy at this point also do they any boxes ,frames,lids or any other equipment. If so look for any meds that was used that could be a sign as to if they were treated I also would not be afraid to move them now or what for a warm up which is coming later this coming weekend.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Donated Hives a Bad Idea and Best Time to Move

    Thanks again for all of the input. My gut said jump on it but wanted to get some objective opinions. Very helpful I appreciate your time. I'll see if they can wait for spring but if not will be as careful as possible.

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