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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Posts
    130

    Default Is the 2 feet/2 mile rule dead?

    I need to move some hives in the next day or two less than 2 miles. It seems the current line of thinking from reading on the forum is that as long as you put an obstruction in front of the hive entrance (leaves, grass etc.) to cause reorientation, it doesn't matter how far you move the hive because the bees will redirect to the new location. Is this correct?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,073

    Default Re: Is the 2 feet/2 mile rule dead?

    in MY experience ( which is limited ) it USUALLY works, I have had a few return to old location one time when I moved hives about 80 ft. Moved them 1 mile a few times and it worked great.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Lake Worth, Florida, USA
    Posts
    126

    Default Re: Is the 2 feet/2 mile rule dead?

    In my small experience lately (8 hives during this spring) they seem to figure it out quickly. They are all tucked in by nightfall and few go back the next day. Some hives are faster to firgure it out than others.
    South Florida, 7 hives, 1 nuc, no treatments, foundation free, slatted racks, bottom entrances, zone 10b

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,358

    Default Re: Is the 2 feet/2 mile rule dead?

    If you don't mind drift back its no big deal. Drift bees with no mamma love to get their grumpy on a few days later. Beware!

    You can also leave one hive behind to catch the drifters after moving the majority and then move the last one at a latter date.

    Orientation impediments will help greatly. What ever you do don't lock them down..

    Move at night and not the morning..

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: Is the 2 feet/2 mile rule dead?

    The current thinking seems to be that if they make at least three turns from the obstruction it normally works. I think it is a pain in the butt to do though.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Bakersville, NC
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Is the 2 feet/2 mile rule dead?

    The 'leave one hive behind to catch the stragglers' is great advice if you can do it.

    I moved five of six hives at late dusk to a location several miles away last September. Left a tiny hive (a small swarm caught in late July) behind to catch stragglers and went back for it the next night. I couldn't believe how many bees were in it!

    Hadn't realized how many girls were out flying just before dark and I'm glad I didn't leave them behind for the landlord to find a big clump of unhappy, homeless bees the next morning.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    creek county oklahoma
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: Is the 2 feet/2 mile rule dead?

    Quote Originally Posted by Honey-4-All View Post

    Move at night and not the morning..
    Great advice if you have a forklift, or lots of beefy helpers and good ratchet straps. For the rest of us, taking boxes apart in the dark is asking for trouble. Especially if you are moving them in the back of your SUV.

    To move them in the daytime, just screen each box one at a time, and move them, and reassemble them at the new location. Screened inner covers work great for moving, one on top and one on the bottom. The bees will orient fine. Leave a box behind to catch the stragglers, and then just close the screen either late that night or early the next morning before they start flying. Take that one to the new location the next day.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,136

    Default Re: Is the 2 feet/2 mile rule dead?

    Some of the bees will go back to the old location, turn right and go to the new location until they die. But that is no reason not to move a hive if you need to. If you leave nothing at the old location the bees will start spiraling out when they get back and spiral until they find a hive. If you leave a hive there, they will keep returning to it. If you put an obstruction in front of the new location of the hive, they will tend to orient and take note of their surroundings as they leave. When they are done foraging they will fly directly back to the old location and circle a little trying to figure things out, then they will fly to the new location. This is faster than the spiral. Either way bees will return to the old location for at least a couple of days. Some will go to the old location and then the new location as previously noted...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Posts
    130

    Default Re: Is the 2 feet/2 mile rule dead?

    Thanks everyone. I moved hives on Friday and left a spare swarm box behind. Only about 50 or so bees returned back to the old location so they made the trip to the new yard (again) on Sunday. Overall a success!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Bastrop TX USA
    Posts
    218

    Default Re: Is the 2 feet/2 mile rule dead?

    As a newbee all I can say is that better safe than sorry. I did my first cutout last week in a downed bee tree and moved the bees about 1/2 mile. Forgot that I should obstruct the entrance. Now I have a hive with very few bees foraging, brood in the hive and it is too late to try to collect the bees back at the original site (though the hive was originally 30' in the air, so I wonder if a trap would work anyway. Rationalization for a screwup?).
    I am now in a quandry on the best way to save the hive. With no other resources and since it has brood (still do not know about the queen) I guess I will just wait and see if enough bees hatch to orient to the current location and build the hive.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Tigard, OR
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Is the 2 feet/2 mile rule dead?

    I had to move mine from one end of the yard to the other, so I waiting until sunset and then plugged the entrance with pollen pattie; after we moved it I took a toothpick and poked a couple of small holes to get them started
    As for me, all I know is that I know nothing...
    - Socrates

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,076

    Default Re: Is the 2 feet/2 mile rule dead?

    Another option is to leave a nuc complete with a queen to catch the stragglers, and then move it far enough away to force them to reorient. If you try you can find someone who will let you keep a nuc in their yard for a week or so, and moving such a hive from place to place is pretty easy.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Greenfield, IN
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: Is the 2 feet/2 mile rule dead?

    I need to move my 2 hives about 25ft. Everyone here locally tells me I have to move them a foot or two a day. I can't do that because they are going up a big slope. Basically moving them from the bottom of the bank to the top so they can get a lot more sun. I can't see moving them 25ft making that big of a impact. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    Greg

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,076

    Default Re: Is the 2 feet/2 mile rule dead?

    Moving them always has some impact - unless you adhere to the "2' or 2 mile" rule of thumb. But if you don't leave anything in the old spot for them to hang their hopes on they will beg into another hive in the same yard.

    If they are in a wide open space you can move them straight foreward or backward without much drama.

    If you are still in the middle of the main nectar flow, you might want to put it off, but if - like here - the fun is all over anyway, then you don't have a lot to lose anyway.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,136

    Default Re: Is the 2 feet/2 mile rule dead?

    >Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    I never move a hive unless I have a reason. But if you have a reason, by all means move it. If you do nothing else they will sort things out within a couple of days. If you do something to trigger reorientation (a branch in front of the hive, knocking the hive a round a bit, confining for 72 hours etc.) then they will sort things out sooner.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    891

    Default Re: Is the 2 feet/2 mile rule dead?

    And if it's a split or a mating nuc, don't mess around, just move the darn thing 2 or more miles and be done with it. With a little split or a mating nuc you can't afford to lose a bunch of bees. I lost lots of mating nucs last year because I tried keeping them in the same yard they were made up from, this year moving them about 3 miles away I only lost a couple early spring when temps dropped into 30s again and they still weren't strong enough to handle that.

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