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Discussion Starter #1
Due to circumstances I may have to move my bees in a few weeks. I was planning on moving them in the spring, but my hand maybe forced to move them sooner.
So, I need advice on moving them. I will be moving them to land I purchased that is about 5 miles away. I live in Oklahoma where the temps are not as bad as up north, but Feb temps are freezing at night.

Thanks all
 

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Are you asking for general advice on moving beehives, or are you asking for advice specific to moving hives during cold weather?
 

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Moving them when they are not flying has it plusses - you get all the bees. Wear protection, please!

Personally, I would try to move them on a warmish day. Also, I would start early enough, so that they have plenty of time to re-arrange the cluster before the nighttime lows hit. If it is really cold on the day you are moving them, such as freezing, you may want to throw one of those hand warmer packs on top of the inner cover. That should help them re-cluster. It is an overkill, though, if the daytime temps are in the 40s.
 

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Not sure what advice you are looking for. Moving bees this time of year has some advantages. If the temperature is cold enough and the bees aren't flying much you can move your hives anytime of day. In the summer you usually need to wait evening time or early morning. The freezing temps at night won't hurt the bees. I have found my my hives can handle temperatures in the 20's just fine. Its when it drops down to 0 degrees for an extended period of time when I start seeing the small cluster hives start to die off.
 

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Move them either around dusk or dawn. At those temps you can just close up the hive and go. If the day time is better screen them in during the night and then move them when its convenient. Just don't wait to long in the day.
 

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I moved mine a short local distance (350-650 feet) on Dec. 6th in northern NY.

They did fine.

I moved the complete hives cross-strapped together, with a second set of rachet straps as hoists from the bucket of our tractor. One of my hives in transit:

Butter-in-Motion-120k.jpg

I chose a warmish day (given the season and locale)- @ 44 F - when I knew it was getting colder because since this was a short-distance move I knew I would have to put a big effort into re-orientation afterward. That shouldn't apply to you. My hives were closed in (by me) for three days and then because of the first wave Arctic cold, they stayed in for another 2-3 weeks. I had some losses when they first went out, but not over much, and they survived them OK.

I was prepared to add MW-heated heating pads underneath the hives (inserted into the sticky-board slot) if I thought the clusters had been disturbed by the event, but it went so smoothly, I did not have to do that.

As insurance since the temps were falling rapidly (though I had no idea how low they would finally go) I covered the hives with wool blankets after getting them settled in. It's been so fiercely cold since then, I haven't yet removed the blankets, though I expect that I will soon. (Don't worry they're not getting smothered or poorly ventilated, they're doing just fine, I just checked on them this afternoon!)

The only caveat I would add is pay extra attention to your planning for a cool/cold season move. Unlike a warmer summer day any unexpected event will be complicated by the cold temps. Just make sure there will no unforeseen factor and you should be fine.

Enj.
 

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Move when you can, not when you want. Load them the evening before, if you can, right at dusk. Most of the bees will be in the hive. Get up early and drive to the new location to arrive when first light is in the sky, but when temps are still cool. Wear your coveralls and veils and have a smoker ready to light as soon as you arrive. Give the hive a few puffs and get it on the ground as quickly as possible. Hopefully you have parked as close to the hive stand as possible.

Do you have help? Someone willing and able to help you pick your hive up? I hope so.
 

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I had to move two hives a couple of weeks ago. Not to much of a big deal. one was 5 boxes tall but the bees where clustered in only three of them so I removed one box that was all honey and another that was empty drawn comb. This left a hive that was only 3 medium boxes tall. we taped up all the seams closed up entrance after making sure the bees had returned to the hive. it was a cool day and getting later in the afternoon I am sure the bees had been flying around id day but had already returned and where forming their cluster.

Two people simply picked the hive up and walked away with it.

The second was a deep and a med 10 frame colony. we simply closed it up picked it up and went. We moved them about 10 miles maybe a little more. set them up and left them closed up for about 2 hours until they had settled down. they had plenty of time to regroup before the coldest part of the night. when I opened them only a couple of bees where at the entrance to check me out and the hive had pretty much settled down. Both hives are still out there and I see bees foraging each day during the warmest part of the day.

The big hive got both of it's boxes back but I put the honey just above the cluster and the empty box above that.
 

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Let's say it is 5 degrees outside, is there a danger that the cluster will break up when it is so cold on such a move?
 

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Let's say it is 5 degrees outside, is there a danger that the cluster will break up when it is so cold on such a move?
I was actually wondering the same thing, because I will be moving a hive soon. More specifically, a hive in the back of a truck, on potentially bumpy roads (unavoidable frost heaves and pot holes). I am imagining half of the cluster hitting the bottom of the hive and not being able to get back up.

Is there a minimum temperature to move the bees if this is an issue?
 

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i moved 5 hives here today. we had 10'' of new snow and it was in the high 20s. the bees who would be the guards if they were not clustered came out to sting me, the vast majority stayed clustered. i could have taped the holes and been more careful to keep the lid tight and not lost the 20 bees i lost. the rest stayed clustered and the hive will be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the info. I am going to move them tomorrow, temps should be around 40.
 

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No, unless you drop the hive.
Well I didn't think so either so just plug up the hive and move it. What difference does it make when? I understand it could make a difference in Texas where the bees might have to reorient.
 

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I've moved bees in -5degreeC weather. It's fine as long as you don't really kick them around. They will beard from the disturbance and risk not re entering the hive.
 
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