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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to move the colony in Hive A to Hive B. The colony is now in the Lang deep pictured on the left. The destination, the top bar hive on the right, is vacant. My question... When I move my colony into the top bar hive is the only feasible option to move the colony more than three miles away for a short stay and then back to this apiary?

20190521_184419.jpg

In about 21 days I want to transfer the entire population to the top bar hive. The left hive (Lang deep) is a transition hive with lang frames and top bars. In 21 days all the brood should have emerged from the frames and I can transfer the top bars into the top bar hive. The queen has been excluded from the frames as of today.

I'm thinking the best method is to transfer them into a portable top bar hive which will take a three mile trip for a week or two and then reacquaint them to their original apiary in the top bar hive. I have read about similar types of moving, nut, not quite what I am proposing. If there is an alternative please let me know. If not, how long should they be "on vacation" from the original apiary?
 

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I want to move the colony in Hive A to Hive B. The colony is now in the Lang deep pictured on the left. The destination, the top bar hive on the right, is vacant. My question... When I move my colony into the top bar hive is the only feasible option to move the colony more than three miles away for a short stay and then back to this apiary?
[...]
If there is an alternative please let me know.
There's really no need to make life that complicated ...

Think 'entrance', and in particular 'entrance location' - that's the only thing which is of importance, as the bees will have become conditioned to using that particular location in space.

So - on the day of the move, relocate your occupied hive a short distance away from it's current location, say 2 or 3 feet. Assuming that the foragers fly off and return from a usual direction - my preference is always to place the occupied hive (say) 3 feet towards that direction, so that the returning foragers will meet their entrance earlier than usual - but where the hive is placed really isn't at all critical.

Then - place your new empty hive in the same position as that of the previously occupied hive, with the new entrance as near as possible to where the old entrance was, and if possible facing the same direction. Again, this isn't critical - even if it's a couple of feet away, they'll find it - but if it's within a few inches, so much the better.

Then, simply transfer the frames/combs across from one hive to the other. There will be a lot of confused bees flying around at this point, and this will continue for an hour or two. As soon as the transfer of frames/combs is completed, shake out the old box into the new hive, smoke and brush out(*) any remaining bees, then move the old box and it's bits well away from that location (10-20 feet or more) to prevent their smell from attracting the bees.

That's it - done - time for a cup of coffee. No need for any transfers out of the yard. I do box-swaps like this on a regular basis, to change from one box type to another and for maintenance purposes. They sometimes take an hour or two to adjust, but they always get there in the end. :)
LJ

(*) An alternative to this is to place an inclined plank of wood against the entrance, and place the old box on the ground near to it. Eventually any remaining bees will climb up the plank and into the new hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks LJ.

That's as good an explanation as I can imagine.

I guess I assumed with all the efforts I've seen with beekeepers painting different color combinations across their apiary that the bees were keyed into that hive in that location with that color. I expected with the different hive shape and entrance type that they would reject the new hive even with the queen inside. I guess I am making this more complicated than it needs to be. Just don't want my $145 worth of bees to find a better keeper due to my screw up.
 

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If the frames/combs fit, just move them. Face the entrance (if you possibly can) the same direction as the first set-up, at about the same height off the ground (again if you can). You will have no issues at all.

Last week I moved two started packages out of brown and yellow ProNuc boxes that were sitting on the ground. I put one in an unpainted FlowHive and the other in a red-painted deep Lang single. Both of the new boxes were set up about 18" above ground on a metal stand and about two feet behind were the ProNucs had been sitting. The only common factors were the general hive entrance direction and I tried to roughly line up the new hive locations up with where the boxes had been sitting on the ground (even though this week I plan to move them again.)

The bees needed about two minutes to make the transition after I moved the frames and took away the Pronuc boxes. The bees were fanning on the new front porches immediately.

Nancy
 

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(*) An alternative to this is to place an inclined plank of wood against the entrance, and place the old box on the ground near to it. Eventually any remaining bees will climb up the plank and into the new hive.
Perhaps a more convenient way of getting the last remaining bees out of the box once the main transfer has been made is to ensure that there's some means of entry to the new box close at hand, and simply place the boxes close together. What happens then is that a dozen or so bees will adopt the role of guides and start fanning away - which is the bees' way of saying "This Way In".

Here's a shot of one such transfer - the means of entry being an open feeder hole just underneath the divided brood box:



And another one where I've pulled back the top board a little to provide a temporary entrance.



But you can't rush this - they'll only move at their own pace. Which is why I prefer to smoke and brush-out bees if for some reason there's a need to wrap-up the transfer in a hurry ...
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nancy & LK, thanks again.
 

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Sort of off topic, but have you considered a walkaway split? Move the queen and part of the bees to the top bar with some starter strips, and let them raise a new queen in the existing hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
have you considered a walkaway split?
I hadn't considered that. I'm thinking it is too small of a colony to attempt that. But, being a rookie I just don't know about these things. I suppose being mid June that would be ideal split timing in terms of building back up.

And, the day after i intend to move them I will be away for a week. I'm sure they would handle that separation without anxiety, but me, I don't know : )
 
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