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I have 4 hives that I need to move approx 3/4 mile this spring. I am currently overwintering in Wisconsin. I am unsure the best way to do this. I have 3 on pallets, one on a stand. They are 2 deeps and a medium currently. I was told to move them before they 'wake' for spring- is this correct? Do I just ratchet strap the hives tight and move with a skid loader and pallet fork? Will that bounce them around too much? I have a skid loader, tractor with front end loader, UTV with bed, truck.... Just unsure the best way to get them down a hill and through a small valley to their next home! Any and all advice welcome!
TIA!!
 

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I have always heard move the bees 3 feet or 6 miles. Winter is the best time to move them if you are going less than 6 miles. Most of the bees that will fly out in the spring will be flying for the first time and will orient themselves to what will be the only location they know. Most of the bees that were foragers in the fall, will not have survived the winter, and if they did they might return to the original location. If you still have access to the location until the spring, leave 1 hive body there with 1 frame of old drawn comb, similar to a swarm trap, and any bees that fly back will find it.
For the bumpy trip to the new location close all hive entrance(s) and securely strap the hive bodies to the bottom board and cover(s). Then strap them to the pallet. Do this on a very cold morning, so hopefully they are in torpor and don't wake up much. Drive as slow as possible. Leave the entrance(s) blocked until later in the day once set up in the new location. This allows some time for the bees to settle back down. Good Luck...
 

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Ratchet strap close entrances and go. Keep them sealed up for a few days if possible. They should reorient just fine after that. If you move them above freezing but below 40 they should stay pretty quiet.
 

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If you want to keep them on the pallet consider using pallet clips $.81 each and hive staples $7.95 for 100 at Mann Lake. Ratchet straps if you have them if not. Your skid loader will work great for less than a mile. That's why you have the red triangle on the back. Staple screen over the entrances. Then wait until they have settled down 4 hours or overnight before your remove the screens. Just ratchet strap the individual colony then put it in your UTV's bed.

For that short of a move I always lean a sheet of plywood or another outer cover in front of the entrance so they have to go to the outside of their porch. They will reorient and most of the foragers will go to their new location. Put a temporary hive box at the old location to capture the few obstinate bees that go back to the old location.

I move my colonies in a little trailer that I have and use a 2 wheeler and 2 x 8 x 8 to ramp them into the trailer. As a result I have locations that are close to the road so I can move them when I want to.
I live in a rural area but not on a farm. I have found that cattlemen are usually OK with me putting hives on their pastures or hay fields. Farmers that do field crops not so much. I do use hot wires to keep the cattle from harming my bee boxes. I would guess that you live and work on a farm with all of the equipment you have available. I usually wait until March or April to move because of the wet ground.

Welcome to Beescource and good luck on your move.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ratchet strap close entrances and go. Keep them sealed up for a few days if possible. They should reorient just fine after that. If you move them above freezing but below 40 they should stay pretty quiet.

I'm hoping to move them early march before it warms up if they make it through! I lost 2/4 colonies last year, 1/2 the year before. Hoping for at least 5/7 to survive this year as I was able to obtain nucs last spring that are overwintered in Wisconsin :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If you want to keep them on the pallet consider using pallet clips $.81 each and hive staples $7.95 for 100 at Mann Lake. Ratchet straps if you have them if not. Your skid loader will work great for less than a mile. That's why you have the red triangle on the back. Staple screen over the entrances. Then wait until they have settled down 4 hours or overnight before your remove the screens. Just ratchet strap the individual colony then put it in your UTV's bed.

For that short of a move I always lean a sheet of plywood or another outer cover in front of the entrance so they have to go to the outside of their porch. They will reorient and most of the foragers will go to their new location. Put a temporary hive box at the old location to capture the few obstinate bees that go back to the old location.

I move my colonies in a little trailer that I have and use a 2 wheeler and 2 x 8 x 8 to ramp them into the trailer. As a result I have locations that are close to the road so I can move them when I want to.
I live in a rural area but not on a farm. I have found that cattlemen are usually OK with me putting hives on their pastures or hay fields. Farmers that do field crops not so much. I do use hot wires to keep the cattle from harming my bee boxes. I would guess that you live and work on a farm with all of the equipment you have available. I usually wait until March or April to move because of the wet ground.

Welcome to Beescource and good luck on your move.
Thank you for all of the great tips! I was worried the skid loader would make a bumpy ride, but if I go low and slow hopefully they will do OK. I have to move them from an area approx 100 yards from my house to a great area where I have 3 other colonies... I developed anaphylaxis last summer from my bees o_Oo_O I decided to undergo immunotherapy so I could still keep my bees without having any more trouble but I would rather have them further away just in case they get feisty without me wearing a suit out in my lawn:LOL: Even though they tried to kill me I'm not ready to give them up!
 

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May as well wait till march, some could not survive.
block them early pre dawn on the move day so few or none are out.
try for a day above 40 degrees
leave them blocked until the next day
block with air flowable material, window screen works for me.
strap well, picking up one out of the ditch is never fun.

good luck with the immunotherapy

GG
 

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I was told to move them before they 'wake' for spring-
I would not move them until they are active, had a chance to clear their abdomens recently, and are brooding (talking spring, April - when the bees could actual raise and mate an emergency queen replacement).
You could pinch the queen while moving and kill the entire colony if moving mid-winter.
You could also disturb them enough to cause massive diarrhea - could result in a dead colony.

Moving mid-winter/early-spring is only done because of some dire straights and not otherwise.

Moving them "before they 'wake' for spring" - bad advice.
The worst possible time to move - when they had no-flight time for 3-4 months already and are struggling to hold the poop.
 

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I have 4 hives that I need to move approx 3/4 mile this spring. I am currently overwintering in Wisconsin. I am unsure the best way to do this. I have 3 on pallets, one on a stand. They are 2 deeps and a medium currently. I was told to move them before they 'wake' for spring- is this correct? Do I just ratchet strap the hives tight and move with a skid loader and pallet fork? Will that bounce them around too much? I have a skid loader, tractor with front end loader, UTV with bed, truck.... Just unsure the best way to get them down a hill and through a small valley to their next home! Any and all advice welcome!
TIA!!
After I move my hives, I always place a Cider branch (or some other type of leafy obstruction) over the entrance so when the Bees start to leave they are disorientated by the leaves that are in their way. This way they reorientate themselves to the entrance location
 
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