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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Dickens County, TX, USA
    Posts
    58

    Question Moving hive in winter?

    If a bee's memory is 3 days, can you move the hive a few hundred yards in the winter when temps have been below 50 for several days?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN USA
    Posts
    685

    Default Re: Moving hive in winter?

    Yes. If its cold enough to keep them from flying for 3 days (close up the hive just to be sure though), you should be able to safely move them wherever you want.

    I plan on doing the same thing this winter myself.
    Beekeeper since 2013. Read my bee blog at:
    http://harrisonbayhoney.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    365

    Default Re: Moving hive in winter?

    I had a hive to move but I didn't want to wait until it got cold. My concern was the vibration, bumps, hopefully not drops of the hive would break their cluster, and it would be to cold for them to recluster, but I guess that depends on how cold it is.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,939

    Default Re: Moving hive in winter?

    I think that they 3 day rule is a myth. I moved some nucs one year during the middle of winter and rain and cold kept them inside for a month or more. On the first nice day all of the flyers were back at the old location.
    Bruce

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Palmyra, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Moving hive in winter?

    go ahead and move them now, just be sure to put something in front of the entrance (limb with a few leaves , ornamental grass )they will reorient pretty quick .
    I just moved 6 hives, placed a couple sprigs of ornamental grass in front of the entrances.
    worried it would not work, I put nucs in the old locations came home the next eve. and there was bees at all of the nucs . I thought that I messed up.
    went back at dark there was max 3 bees in a couple of the nucs.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Moving hive in winter?

    Move them now, and put a branch in front of the entrance to re-orient. Dropping or jostling a box of cold and irritated bees is not fun.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Dickens County, TX, USA
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: Moving hive in winter?

    Does a branch in front of the entrance really cause them to reorient? Anybody know why?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Moving hive in winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by hopeful View Post
    Does a branch in front of the entrance really cause them to reorient? Anybody know why?
    Because it changes their entrance/exit pattern and makes them pay attention.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Dickens County, TX, USA
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: Moving hive in winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by merince View Post
    Because it changes their entrance/exit pattern and makes them pay attention.
    So does that happen when you add an entrance reducer?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    601

    Default Re: Moving hive in winter?

    I assume it is kind of like someone moving your live room furniture while you are sleeping.

    If you get up half asleep and walk around the corner into a sofa that is not supposed to be there, you quit using memory and pay attention to what is going on.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Moving hive in winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by hopeful View Post
    So does that happen when you add an entrance reducer?
    Yes, it also does when you add an entrance reducer, a mouse guard or a pollen trap.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Dickens County, TX, USA
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: Moving hive in winter?

    Thanks. That is good to know.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Dickens County, TX, USA
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: Moving hive in winter?

    So is the 3 feet or 3 miles thing just outdated?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,539

    Default Re: Moving hive in winter?

    I have gotten away with moving a hive two feet in the middle of the day. Sure... you will lose a forager or two, but they will be absorbed by other hives.
    On the FB page below, I have a video where I opened up a nuc with about 300 bees (no queen, after swarm) in it below my hives. They were welcomed in by another nuc which was low on bees.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,607

    Default Re: Moving hive in winter?

    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.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,162

    Default Re: Moving hive in winter?

    >I think that they 3 day rule is a myth. I moved some nucs one year during the middle of winter and rain and cold kept them inside for a month or more. On the first nice day all of the flyers were back at the old location.

    I agree some will return to old location.

    >Does a branch in front of the entrance really cause them to reorient? Anybody know why?

    Even with a branch some don’t reorient

    >So is the 3 feet or 3 miles thing just outdated

    it's 2 feet or two miles, it works fine, one mile works too with just a few that don't figure it out.

    I use allot of branches and sticks, forcing every bee to work around your obstacle. I also put a empty hive in the old spot, collect the bees that didn’t figurer it out.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,387

    Default Re: Moving hive in winter?

    I have done moves in the winter like described. I can also assure the 3 day rule is a myth. I have moved them after having been locked up due to weather for a week or more and foragers still return to the old spot. Not many, but they were there. Bees are a lot smarter than people give them credit for. Something else to keep in mind - if you are in a very hilly area, bees do not like to fly up or around tall hills or obstacles. They tend to stay in easy to fly areas. I moved a hive once less than 1/4 mile to the otherside of the hill (really a small mountain) and none returned to the old spot.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Paw Paw, SW Lower Michigan
    Posts
    124

    Default Re: Moving hive in winter?

    I moved a hive 100 feet early this spring before the bees were flying and placed an old wooden sled with steel runners in front of the hive to force them to reorient. They were stuck indoors for a week due to cold weather. When they started to fly only a handful went back to the old location.

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