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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had to move my hives about 40 yards. I did it Sunday night and left them closed up through this morning (Tuesday morning). When I went to check on them at lunch there were tons of foragers at the old location. Are those foragers going to figure it out or are they done for?
 

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They will probably figure it out. I find if they have line of sight then they will eventually find another hive. The foragers have about a 48-72 hour memory, usually we close them up for two days.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Give the foragers a nuc to gather in, then move them again to the new location after dark. You may have to do this for several days. My understanding is different from the common belief. I think home is imprinted and they never "forget", but they can learn a new home.

Simple experiment. Move a hive of bees to a new location over three miles away. They will orient to the new location. A week later, bring them back to the apiary, but put them in a different spot, and put an empty hive in the original location (prior to the move). See how many of the foragers go back to the old location. Then try to explain how simply closing them in for a few days will cause them to forget their home. :unsure:
 

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@rtaylor the only time that closing them up for 3 days works is during the winter. If one moves a colony when there's 3 ****ty weather days ahead, they will generally re-orient.

This does NOT work once the foragers have already been out...foraging. Hence why your strategy failed.

If you read through some of the threads here, the only way to get them to re-orient reliably during the foraging season is to block the **** out of their front entrance to the point that it's 100% different looking which will force a partial re-orientation.

You could put a box there with some drawn comb and try to get them to the parent colony, but as soon as they fly out the next day, it's back to square one.
 

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I think home is imprinted and they never "forget", but they can learn a new home.
I also suspect it takes longer. I have seen bees try to keep using a top entrance for over a week (i think several) after I closed it up. The bottom was wide open, but they still kept trying to go thru the sheetmetal strip over the top entrance
 

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This has probably been posted before but when I move hives within the same yard I move them at dark and then put a lot of branches all over the front of the hive so they have to maneuver around and through them to get out the next morning. They reorient to the "new" entrance and very few try to go back. Leave the branches a couple of days and all is well. This works well when you don't have extra boxes around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the replies. I did leave an empty nuc at the old location and it was full of bees when I got home from work. I wish I had an extra queen laying around and I would throw her in there with them.
 

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I was just talking about this with an employee of a big commercial outfit. He said they move hives around their yard all the time for one reason or another and give no thought to it. I've observed the same thing as the OP and the number of bees hanging around the vacant location decreases over a couple of days then they're gone. It would be interesting to know if they can smell their way back to their queen and their proper home or if they disperse to one of the other colonies in the yard.
 

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They will probably figure it out. I find if they have line of sight then they will eventually find another hive. The foragers have about a 48-72 hour memory, usually we close them up for two days.
not my experience.
I have moved them under a shed roof after all inside for a week early winter.
2 weeks later a warm up and many field bees back to the old location.

so if it rains for 3 or 4 days all forage locations are forgotten and relearned? not likely.

sorry we will need to agree to disagree.

right now i see bees circling where I placed wet capping's last fall, for them to glean.

GG
 
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