I have 5 hives on a roof deck. It's leaking so I need to move them -- more than three inches, and less than three miles (because I don't have anywhere that far away to put them). How big of a disaster is this and what can I do about it?
They've already expanded to fill both 10-frame deep boxes, and are out flying on 40+ degree days (though there isn't much out there, as far as I can tell). They have leftover fall honey, pollen, brood, and some empty space. They'll be moved maybe 50 feet across and 20 feet down.
1. Foragers may return to the roof deck and pester the roofers, or just not come home, to the detriment of the colony.
2. Some of these colonies are a bit ornery and need to be requeened. Being closer to the ground (and to us) might make them a nuisance. I think it'll be OK as long as I keep the dog away from the hives.
3. When the roofers are done I'll move them back up, repeating the problems. They say it'll take a day or two, so let's assume a week.
The only piece of advice I know is, I could put a cedar branch or something in front of each hive's entrance to encourage the foragers to reorient. And of course, do the move at night when they're all inside. Other tips?