raising hives a foot or so
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    Kearneysville, WV
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    86

    Default raising hives a foot or so

    We have three hives sitting on blocks but I would like to put them onto a more stable, long term rail setup. This would mean raising them by anything from 8-12+ inches. They would be in the same location but slightly higher.

    This might be a silly question but, being new, I would prefer to be cautious and check whether this will cause issues before I act.

    So, can I simply raise them or is there some process I need to go throguh to ensure I minimize lost bees. i.e. will a 12 inch raise cause disorientation?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Shelby, Missouri USA
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    526

    Default Re: raising hives a foot or so

    Some bees will be slightly disorientated at the start but they will find their way back fairly quickly. It should not be a set back that will harm the bees at all.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    Kearneysville, WV
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    86

    Default Re: raising hives a foot or so

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Gough View Post
    Some bees will be slightly disorientated at the start but they will find their way back fairly quickly. It should not be a set back that will harm the bees at all.
    Many thanks Scott, I know a 12 inch move seems trivial but not knowing how big a move would cause issues I am glad I checked first.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    5,536

    Default Re: raising hives a foot or so

    Mine are on platforms and I regularly move them 2 to 4 feet along the platform when I want extra space to work on a nearby one. Each stack of mine is separate color, but other than that I do nothing special to differentiate them.

    The only time I would not feel comfortable doing this was when I had a hive that was putting a queen out to mate. During those few days I take great pains to leave the virgin's hive and the ones surrounding it in exactly the same configuration. Who knows what she's using for visual cues to guide her back to the right entrance?

    You'll like them better raised up - well, until you get a heavy flow and have to tend supers up in the sky! But the rest of the year it's much easier to have elevated bases. And I think the bees like it better, too, being farther away from the cool, damp, ground.

    Nancy

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    Kearneysville, WV
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    86

    Default Re: raising hives a foot or so

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Mine are on platforms and I regularly move them 2 to 4 feet along the platform when I want extra space to work on a nearby one. Each stack of mine is separate color, but other than that I do nothing special to differentiate them.

    The only time I would not feel comfortable doing this was when I had a hive that was putting a queen out to mate. During those few days I take great pains to leave the virgin's hive and the ones surrounding it in exactly the same configuration. Who knows what she's using for visual cues to guide her back to the right entrance?

    You'll like them better raised up - well, until you get a heavy flow and have to tend supers up in the sky! But the rest of the year it's much easier to have elevated bases. And I think the bees like it better, too, being farther away from the cool, damp, ground.

    Nancy
    Nancy

    The primary reason for the raise is that we are seeing a lot of ants attracted to the hive top feeders. I want to let our chickens into the bee area and to minimize any temptation to cause trouble, want the landing strip a little higher than the chickens.

    I am hoping the chickens will serve a multitude of purposes, from keeping the grass/weeds low, eating pests/ants and generally keeping the bee area cleaner (except the obvious chicken poop).

    I am not too worried about lifting the supers as I am taller than most and the weight shouldn't be an issue.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
    Posts
    1,809

    Default Re: raising hives a foot or so

    A number of my hives are on concrete blocks most 18-20" off the ground to keep the single deep and medium configuration at a comfortable working height, as more supers are added I'll remove blocks during deep inspections for the top supers to be more manageable. Other than an initial "I remembered the entrance being higher" response, the hive doesn't miss a beat.

    I am not too worried about lifting the supers as I am taller than most and the weight shouldn't be an issue.

    Mediums at eyeball height may change your mind. Since I refuse to work bees off of a ladder, I find doing two extractions an alternative.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Kearneysville, WV
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    86

    Default Re: raising hives a foot or so

    Quote Originally Posted by Eikel View Post
    A number of my hives are on concrete blocks most 18-20" off the ground to keep the single deep and medium configuration at a comfortable working height, as more supers are added I'll remove blocks during deep inspections for the top supers to be more manageable. Other than an initial "I remembered the entrance being higher" response, the hive doesn't miss a beat.

    Mediums at eyeball height may change your mind. Since I refuse to work bees off of a ladder, I find doing two extractions an alternative.

    "Mediums at eyeball height may change your mind." lol yup, you could be right. I guess I will know more next year when I get to honey production.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Red Bud, IL, USA
    Posts
    1,809

    Default Re: raising hives a foot or so

    Oy vey, and such a problem to have!!!!!!! LOL
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
    Posts
    2,295

    Default

    consider just adding another course or two of blocks. I like blacks because they are stable and I can adjust the height of the hives. When it comes time for their winter configuration I put the blocks on the same level and Slide the outside hives towards the center. Makes it pretty easy to do. I think it is also good to have a solid base for when it's cool or cold. they don't provide much insulation but I don't have cold air blowing under them. J

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,729

    Default Re: raising hives a foot or so

    Most of our colonies are on stands that have them a foot off the ground, we do it this way in the home yard due to winter moisture on the ground, often we have standing water out there during the winter torrential rains. Even with mediums, when a stack gets 7 high during the honey flow, one curses the extra foot, ask me how I know. Lifting that top super off when it's full of honey with a bit of burr comb sticking things between the boxes is a real chore. We use bee escapes to remove honey, so after that box is off and the escape is in place, gotta lift them all back up, then come back in a couple days and lift them all off again.

    With that said, raising the entrance a foot will confuse a colony for an hour or two. I use a cloak board setup for making queen cells. When we reverse the bottom and put the cloak board in at the start of the queen rearing that raises the entrance by 10 inches, there is mass confusion in front of that hive for an hour or two, then it's all over. By the end of the day they are all coming and going as if nothing had changed.

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