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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Springfield, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    287

    Default How do *you* move hives?

    Now that the Fall flow is over and winter is on its way, I'd like to move my three hives to a different location on my property. All are on 10 frame double-deeps and full of nice, fat, bees. Two of the colonies have plenty of stores while the third (small feral swarm caught in June) will definitely require feeding over the winter.

    I am trying to think through the mechanics of hive relocation. Two will be moved about 100 feet, while the third (lighter) will be moved about 100 yards. For those of you who have moved hives, did you do so by keeping the hive intact, or did you move them over piecewise, a box at a time?

    edit to add: I intend to undertake the move in one step, not by a gradual progression from old to new location.
    Pete. New 2013, 3 hives, zone 6a
    To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    438

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    I just plugged my entrance and gently carried my hive (hehehee) about 120 feet. Didn't shake them too bad, but it is only two mediums with honey they are storing up. All the brood have hatched and we are waiting on the queen to lay (or a new one to be delivered).

    Anything more than a single deep or two mediums I think would require more than 1 person or a better method.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bertie County,NC
    Posts
    797

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    move them as a complete hive. Screen them in after dark and then move the complete hive. Leave them screened in at least 24 hours then place a very thick branch or a large board over the front to make them re-orient

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    488

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    Double deeps can be moved with a well-built handtruck. If they any larger with honey supers, it is usually easier to take the supers off during the move.

    A binder strap or a line with a well tighten truckers hitch is essential. If you are wheeling them over rough terrain, or hoisting them by main force into a truck bed: add a diagonal wood brace screwed accross the long side of the boxes from bottom corner to opposite top corner of the stack.

    A stack that is seemingly glued together with propolis has an unnerving tendency to lurch to the side even when strapped to a cart. The temporary wood batten prevents the disasters.

    Other advice given is good: screen the entrances for the move, and force re-orientation by obscuring the entrance. Provide a small cardboard box at the old location to hive the lost bees, shake these back into the hive at night for a day or two.

    I make my entrance screens from plastic drywall corner bead. You can staple this to the bottom board and to the box making a good seal, and one can cut the drywall bead with kitchen scissors.

    It is easiest to make the moves at half-light of morning or evening. If rain is predicted for a day or two, take advantage of the bad weather to move just before the rainstorm holds the bees in the hive.

    If you move them in full dark -- use a RED Led flashlight. Bees are very defensive against white light at night. A headlamp with a white light is an invitation to face stings and truck headlights illuminating a scene often result in a truck cab filling up with angry bees.

    Make sure you don't have in-hive feeders in place. You can imagine the mess when a whole yard with just-filled feeders get tipped up on a handtruck. (Error # 4,876 in my book of "Things I should never do again")

    Don't push the handtruck, but drag it behind you or walk backwards and look over your shoulder. Plan your route before it gets dark.
    Last edited by JWChesnut; 10-16-2013 at 09:31 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN USA
    Posts
    685

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    For larger hives, block the entrance at night then get some of those vinyl straps with the ratchet on them and put them around the hive to hold it all together. I would then get a friend and some of those arm straps used for moving heaving appliances (you can get them at any Home Depot/Lowes type store these days) and use those to carry the hive. Helps prevent unexpected bumps and jostles when your two wheel truck suddenly hits a gopher hole. If you happen to have lots of friends, you can get a third one to follow along and hold the hive to make absolutely sure it stays completely upright and doesn't sway around.

    For smaller hives, I'd just use the nylon straps to hold it all together and pick it up and carry it.
    Beekeeper since 2013. Read my bee blog at:
    http://harrisonbayhoney.blogspot.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    782

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post

    I make my entrance screens from plastic drywall corner bead. You can staple this to the bottom board and to the box making a good seal, and one can cut the drywall bead with kitchen scissors.
    Nice
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,415

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    I use ratchet straps and a hand truck lately, works fine, double deeps with medium on top, telescoping covers. When I didn't use straps, I used the cleats to secure the boxes together by putting screws into the top box at the cleat junction as well. Never had issues either way, always screen the entrances close and tape up any cracks they can get out of. I can lift a double deep filled with bees and honey with a new (third) box on top, that's my limit and I consider myself in decent shape, anything bigger I need my brother to help me, but it's always a good idea to have someone to help you anyway unless you can lift them w/o issues.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,477

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    I use my skidsteer loader to pick up 4 hives at a time and place them where I want to. The greatest effort is in getting up into and down out of the machine.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,447

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    I move hives within my own yard all the time.

    I don't place a branch in front of the entrance, I stuff a sprig of something right into the entrance. Make them work to get out. Give them a one bee exit at first. I also use rosemary sprigs because of the recognisable scent.
    Moving weak hives in fall is a little risky. You will ultimately lose some foragers. If the hive can't afford to lose any, I wouldn't move it. You don't have any recovery time to build back up again.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,415

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    Now that's just bragging Mark.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,477

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    Hey, he asked "How do *you* move bees?" and I answered. Though I have never seen stars used as punctuation and don't see any need for emphasizing the word anyway.

    Be careful what you ask, lest you not like the answers you get.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Springfield, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    287

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Hey, he asked "How do *you* move bees?" and I answered. Though I have never seen stars used as punctuation and don't see any need for emphasizing the word anyway.

    Be careful what you ask, lest you not like the answers you get.
    Ha! Thanks everyone for relating your experience. Just so happens that I do like the skidsteer answer. I have a compact tractor with a front end loader on it, and that just might fit the bill. The plan will be to close the hives up at night and ratchet them, then return in the morning for the move. If the hives don't sit well in the loader, I'll borrow my neighbors' dolly cart and move them that way.

    Lauri: Thanks for the tip on placing a sprig into the entrance. The weaker hive is behind on stores, so I'll have to feed them regardless and hope for the best. I'll give them the rest of the dwindling season to eke out the last bit of forage before I move them. The other two hives shouldn't suffer much from the loss of a few foragers, as they are packed full of bees.

    JRG13: I'll be sure to have help on hand. The two larger hives have a lot of honey on them and are probably more than I can move on my own.

    Again, thank you to everyone.
    Pete. New 2013, 3 hives, zone 6a
    To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,477

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    Do you have a good friend who would be willing to help you pick up a hive? If you do, no special equipment is needed.

    If your two story hive is well glued together by the bees or the boxes and bottom board stapled together, two people can rather easily handle even the heaviest of two story colonies.

    You and your well suited partner, well suited in clothing as well as in ability, would each stand on opposite sides of the hive, squat down and grab the hive right underneath the entrance end of the bottom board and tilt the hive back, while placing the other hand on the back of the hive at the junction between the two boxes. Slowly and easily stand up and you and your partner should be comfortably holding your hive up off the ground.

    Walk the hive across the yard or set it on the tailgate of a pickup truck and take it where you want it and set the corner of the back of the hive on the ground and then stand it up in place. I have moved a lot of hives this way. Low tech and safe if done intelligently and w/ care.

    Hive straps work okay if a colony has not been taken apart recently. But, regardless of the damage they do to the woodenware, hive staples are better.

    I don't care for handcarts for moving hives. Things can fall off of handcarts.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    I move them the way sqkcrk described - ratchet strap and 2 guys. Like sqkcrk mentioned, don't forget the bee suits, because even when it's around freezing, an angry bee can beeline straight to the face and zap you before running out of steam (speaking from experience here).

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,477

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    And you've got to be able to take a sting or two and not only not flinch, but not have to set it down to tend to the stinger until you have finished moving across the yard.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    And you've got to be able to take a sting or two and not only not flinch, but not have to set it down to tend to the stinger until you have finished moving across the yard.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Sibiu, Sibiu, Romania
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chemguy View Post
    For those of you who have moved hives, did you do so by keeping the hive intact, or did you move them over piecewise, a box at a time?.
    Hallo. That's the main reason, i entered on this forum. How can i move, the individual Langstroth hives, three boxes, but at 200 Km. Tied with a very good, strong strap. At the arrival it was a catastrofy. The bottom board has been removed from the first box. Does anyone has a simple solution? Excluding nails, wires, sofisticated parts.
    It's a Long Way to Tipperary

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    438

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    Alex I am new to this so everything I say should be taken with a grain (or cup) of salt.

    But have done several cut outs. Put down a bottom board, placed the box on it, installed frames as I removed them, placed another box, and filled it with frames. Then let bees come to it as much as they would, slapped a cover on it.

    Then I placed 1x4 strips on the side from the bottom board up on the sides of both of the boxes so that my straps ran outside the 1x4. Little more work, but they did help hold everything from sliding while I loaded it into my car and hauled them to the yard.
    Less than 8 months, 5, opps 4.5 Langs, and treatment style not decided yet

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Richardson, TX, USA
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    I move my bee hives by putting a strap around them (under bottom board and over cover), screw on the entrance cover (something I make), tilt it forward, slide the dolly under it, tilt back and pull it to my trailer ramp and onto my trailer. I put a piece of 4x8 plywood over them, strap that to the trailer, run a strap around all the hives so they don't shift around (I don't use hive staples), close up the trailer ramp, and then take off.

    If they are singles then I just strap them, give them a puff of smoke, pick them up and put them into the back of my pickup truck (double deep if needed), close the tail gate and head down the road. Migratory covers are useful even to hobby beeks.

    I think the migratory covers are the trick since they allow my hives to all fit together snugly and once I strap them together as a group they stay that way. My covers are just MDO plywood with 1x2's on each end. I also use migratory bottom boards.

    Once I get where I am going I set them out, give them a few puffs of smoke, remove the entrance covers as fast as I can and then get the hell out of there.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lake county, Indiana 46408-4109
    Posts
    3,545

    Default Re: How do *you* move hives?

    Ed, KA9CTT profanity is IGNORANCE made audible
    you can`t fix stupid not even with duct tape

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