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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Springfield, MO, USA
    Posts
    102

    Default transporting packages

    Hello all,

    I hope this is the right place for this thread - it is more of a sideliner question but I don't see a better place for it.

    Question: Is it better to transport packages of bees in an open trailer or a closed trailer (like a box truck)?

    I have moved hives before, both short and long distances. But, this is the first time I am picking up packages in another state and transporting them (about 150 packages). I have an open trailer with tarps and nets to use if necessary. My partner wants to use a box trailer. I have heard to many horror stories about bees overheating or suffocating in a closed carrier.

    Please give me some advice and benefit from your experience.

    Thank you,
    Jeffrey Maddox
    Jeffrey Maddox
    www.MaddoxBees.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Ohio
    Posts
    855

    Default Re: transporting packages

    How far are you hauling them? Pickup date.

  3. #3

    Default Re: transporting packages

    150 packages is not a lot to haul. you can get 200 in the back of a standard pickup with room to spare. They need air but not wind. time of year and distance is a factor. 150 packages in the back of a box truck for a 1-2 hour trip is nothing if it is not hot out.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,301

    Default Re: transporting packages

    When I ws doing packages, I always had them in my mini van... sometimes a hundred or so... but I think you need to adjust things to the current weather. If it's really cold out, it may be more important to protect them from that. If it's warm and sunny, overheating may be the bigger issue. The nice thing about the mini-van is, if I'm comfortable, the bees are too...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Springfield, MO, USA
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: transporting packages

    We will be picking up about 150 packages and transporting from Georgia to Oklahoma. 800 miles and at least a day's travel. Probably in mid to late April. So we could run into any kind of weather from 80 degrees to snow.

    If I put them in the pick up, I can cover them with tarps or netting to regulate air flow. In a box trailer I don't feel as if I can regulate conditions well- if at all.

    Glad to know someone else has used a van. That was another option for us.

    So, if I use the pick up, what materials do I need to bring to be prepared?
    Straps of course, Tarps, nets, blankets? Water sprayer if it is too hot?

    Thanks for the advice. Please continue to share.
    Jeffrey Maddox
    www.MaddoxBees.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Scarborough, Maine, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: transporting packages

    One local supplier uses an open trailer to haul from Georgia to Maine. They place a wireless thermometer in the trailer and monitor temperatures via the base unit inside the vehicle: https://thehoneyexchange.wordpress.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    souris, manitoba, canada
    Posts
    749

    Default Re: transporting packages

    what materials do I need to bring to be prepared?

    everything you can think of , and more, including the kitchen sink
    Last edited by irwin harlton; 02-24-2014 at 09:39 AM. Reason: info added

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Binghamton,New York ,us
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: transporting packages

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    When I ws doing packages, I always had them in my mini van... sometimes a hundred or so... but I think you need to adjust things to the current weather. If it's really cold out, it may be more important to protect them from that. If it's warm and sunny, overheating may be the bigger issue. The nice thing about the mini-van is, if I'm comfortable, the bees are too...
    That's how I moved them up until this year. My wife was a nervous wreck the whole trip back with bees flying around the van and I had to stop so many times to open the windows and lift the tailgate to let them out, she drove me nuts.
    Maybe now that I bought a trailer she will want to go again.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: transporting packages

    For 800 miles I would transport in a van, even if you had to rent one. I move 550 packages at a time on an open trailer almost 1000 miles.
    I take:
    water
    pump sprayers
    industrial fans
    extension cords
    5 kw genset
    laser thermometer
    Load tarps and nets. (If it rains the tarps go on, the nets provide shade from the beating sun while still down south)
    enough power tools to build a house
    2 full size spare tires for the tow vehicle and 8 spares for the trailer.
    Mechanics tool kit, including impact wrench set, air comp, jack, flares.
    I change all the fluids in the tow vehicle before I go as well as all fan belts, test alt, and visually inspect water pump.

    If you are going to break down it will happen late at night in the middle of know where. Last year I snapped an axle at 4 am and had to wait until 7am for a repair truck to show up. Out comes the generator, fans, and water sprayers.... Then he had to wait until 9 am for the parts store to open, then it took 3 hrs to fix. Sitting on the side of the highway for 8 hrs with bees on board can be very stressful. Basically think of everything that can go wrong and prepare as best you can.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    357

    Default Re: transporting packages

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
    That's how I moved them up until this year. My wife was a nervous wreck the whole trip back with bees flying around the van and I had to stop so many times to open the windows and lift the tailgate to let them out, she drove me nuts.
    Maybe now that I bought a trailer she will want to go again.
    Or maybe not I would be wary of a box truck, especially if it gets hot, how will you get any air circulation?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,301

    Default Re: transporting packages

    >Or maybe not I would be wary of a box truck, especially if it gets hot, how will you get any air circulation?

    I've been known to prop the back door open. A bungi cord and a block of wood can give you some air (driving down the road, of course gives you more when the door is cracked open).
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,301

    Default Re: transporting packages

    >My wife was a nervous wreck the whole trip back with bees flying around the van and I had to stop so many times to open the windows and lift the tailgate to let them out, she drove me nuts.

    Yea. You do have to not mind bees flying around the van... but it doesn't usually take too long to realize they have no interest in you...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Binghamton,New York ,us
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: transporting packages

    I will have plenty of ventilation , baring a complete breakdown or major traffic jam the trailer will be in constant motion and the air will be circulating. Growing up we moved full size hives for hours at a time in my grandfathers box truck and it was loaded to the brim and that truck had a tiny screen window in the front. Let's say he moved more hives at a time than I will have packages.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: transporting packages

    Box trucks or Box trailers are a great way to kill a load of packages...The bees do not have enough space in the package to adequately break cluster and fan air like they do in a hive.

    Unless you are moving at night with cool temps I would avoid box vehicles. DMV will ticket you for running with the rear door open and if you close it it can easily reach 120-150 degrees inside on a sunny day.

    If I were using a box trailer I would cut a lot of holes in it.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Binghamton,New York ,us
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: transporting packages

    Time will tell , but with the vents and screened windows I have on order I think I will be fine. I did buy two full size spare tires but I like the idea of a generator and a fan just in case something bad happened.

  16. #16

    Default Re: transporting packages

    This will be my first year for picking up a load. I have a 1500 watt power inverter that I plan on being able to use with a fan for air movement in my van. The inverter comes in handy I use it to blow out frames when I harvest honey.
    David
    Last edited by My-smokepole; 02-24-2014 at 02:11 PM. Reason: Made changes

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: transporting packages

    I have used the generator and fans so many times, mostly in traffic/road closures as well as if I need to stop for a nap.

    If I had a box trailer I thin I would buy a roof top ac unit for an RV, New they are only about 500.00, used can be had for next to nothing. Installed in the roof and wired to a thermostat and Generator you could have complete control over the temp in the trailer.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,301

    Default Re: transporting packages

    If the weather is at all warm, borrow a stock trailer. They have plenty of ventilation...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Springfield, MO, USA
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: transporting packages

    Thanks guys! This more or less confirms my fears about a closed trailer. We will go with either a van-type set up, or a stock trailer.

    Thanks Michael! never thought of a stock trailer. we have plenty of those on the farm.

    Keep the advice coming. I'm interested in those stories about what went wrong. I try to adhere to the adage "A smart man learns from his own mistakes. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others." (note I said I try...)
    Jeffrey Maddox
    www.MaddoxBees.com

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: transporting packages

    I have looked at stock trailers as they are great option, well protected from weather, but plenty of ventilation. If you have access to one that is great. I could not justify the cost of a new one and the few used ones I looked at had severe cross member rot issues.

    My ideal setup would be a gooseneck stock trailer around 30 ft long.

    I can't say that I have had any "mistakes" in package transport; crap just happens One year I had a trailer shop replace the bearings on my trailer wheels and they put too much torque on the nuts, wheels over heated and I blew through 8 tires, since then I take 8 with me. Trailer tires are hard to find on the road in the right sizes.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

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