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It’s wicked cold here and there is no way my bees are coming out. Can I move my beehives now without having to do the three foot a day method? I want to move them far across my property.
Thanks Don
 

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I think it depends on how and when you move them.

Strapping them up on to a hand cart and rolling it up and down over frozen bumpy ground will likely jounce the cluster apart. It may be too cold for them to reform it fast enough to survive.

OTOH, if your strapped the hives together tightly and added another pair of straps as a hoist and lifted them gently using the bucket of your tractor and had someone walking along to steady and keep the hive from swinging, then I think the cluster might stay intact and the bees might not know know the difference.

The other issue is this: if the first day they can go out after a prolonged cold spell occurs at a new location, and if the "warm" weather is really still marginal then a lot of the oriented bees may fly out without realizing they are in a new position and fail to reorient on it. if they fly back to the old spot and it's too cold for them to take the time to circle around and relocate the new place, they will die.

If I could delay, I would do so until the extremely cold weather is over, and then move them on a cool day at the start of a warm spell, if you know what I mean.

I am north of Albany NY, and these conditions might occur this month ('cause ya never know with winter weather like ours), but it's more likely to occur after the middle of March, and almost certainly will occur by the middle of April.

With a move of more than 15 or 20 feet even in warm weather, I would always use Michael Bush's moving techniques, including having a box at the old site late in the day to collect any clueless bees. I have modified his ideas a bit by adding a bee escape board to the top of the to-be-moved hive beforehand, so that I can just plunk the clueless bee box on top in the dark.

My annual plans include moving some of my hives on a seasonal basis, distances of 500 -1000 ft away from their common winter stand., so I move my bees a lot. We always hoist the strapped-together hive with the bucket of our tractor and I walk along to keep it vertical, and not swinging or whirling madly. Then my husband sets it down at the new location so softly I doubt the bees even realize it has happened.

Hope that helps - I can explain in more detail, if needed, and I have pictures, too.

Nancy
 

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I would ratchet strap them tightly together and staple screen over the entrances and move them where you want them. Leave the screen on until dark at least and they will be fine if its not flying weather. In my youth I used to help load trucks with doubles for shipment to Texas to divide. The bees that came out in bitter January cold just hit the ground. These doubles were handled gently or they broke apart and a lot of bees were lost. The truck was loaded one day, netted after the bees quit flying out to suicide and driven south the next. This was a business model used for many years. I think it is pretty simple to move yours across your property. Choose a time to move when the bees will not have flying temperatures for at least three days or leave them screened that long if you can at all.
 
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