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Moving Hives in Spring

1647 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  mnist
Hi Everyone

I've decided to move my hives to a better location about 1/2 hour drive from here (better feed at my brother's house. Here on the edge of the NJ Pine Barrens they nearly starve every year)

My question is when would be the best time to move them? I have two hive bodies on each of them now and it's been too cold to reverse bodies or even check the brood.

It will be hard to move them if I have to take them with both hive bodies stacked on top of each other things. (Little things like not having a truck)

My thinking is if I find the lower chambers empty (when I can check them, that is) to take that one off entirely then close up the hives, put them in the trunk of my car and drive straight over to my bro's where I can set them up for a summer of great bee life.

Any advice you can give will be appreciated.
--Madeleine in NJ
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· Registered
3,086 Posts
If you can "compress" the colony into a single
chamber for purposes of moving, you should.
All the bees and all the brood goes into one
box, and the "stores" combs and empty combs
are moved to the other (now beeless) box
for transport as "luggage". But you don't
obviously don't want to do this if the bees
are still in a winter cluster.

Using a passenger car poses a certain level
of "risk" to the whole moving operation:

a) If the trunk lid won't close with a hive
in the trunk, you end up with a whole
different version of airflow around the
car, and may end up with turbulence that
could suck large amounts of exhaust into
the trunk, and hence, into the hives.
(Volvo 240s wagons have the same problem.
If the back cargo bay door is open, one
can smell exhaust as one drives the car.
Volvo 740/760 wagons have less problem.)

b) But with the trunk closed, even though it
is cold, will the bees have adequate airflow?

c) You can ratchet-strap around the entire hive
side-to-side, and back-to-back to keep the
assembly together, but how do you secure the
hive against bouncing around in a car trunk?

So, if you could find a station wagon, and figure
out how to secure the hives, you might not need
a truck. (My basic tool for moving anything less
than half a dozen colonies are Volvo wagons, which
have nicely-positioned hook points for attaching
ratchet straps, nice big cargo bays, fold-down
rear seats, and high rooflines.)

But I would not move hives in a passenger car.
A station wagon, yes. An SUV, yes. A mini-van,
sure. An El Camino, of course.

You gotta know someone with a vehicle listed
above. Put a disposable painting tarp down
to protect their upholstery.

· Registered
105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Using a passenger car poses a certain level
of "risk" to the whole moving operation

Actually we brought them home in the trunk of my car when we got them as nucs.

I know the trunk will close and I can put all kinds of things around them so they don't move around. Air didn't seem to be a problem back then so I'll risk it again this time.

The idea of "compressing" the bees into one hive body is good. I doubt I would have thought of that.

And coyote thanks for the reminder about time of day. We'll probably do our work at night. I'm way to "fumble-y" early in the day.

The hardest part will be driving allllllll the way over there just to get my bee fix. At least my brother's got a nice swimming pool to help make up for the long trip.

· Registered
1,682 Posts
Remember when considering a "better location" that the price of gas is skyrocketing. If you are in it for profit, make sure you'll make a profit considering your gas expenses.

As for moving, I recommend a couple of Inner-cover style frames with window screening (easier to get than 8-mesh) for the top. Even better is if you have a varroa screen for the bottom in addition to the screened top. I place the top under the inner cover earlier in the day. This keeps the bees out of the "attic" when I take the tops of for moving. With the screen(s) in place, I don't feel rushed to get the hive set up.


· Registered
105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Remember when considering a "better location" that the price of gas is skyrocketing. If you are in it for profit, make sure you'll make a profit considering your gas expenses.

Oh I'm not in it for the profit (we all know how rich you can get from beekeeping, right? ;) It's just for the pleasure of the bees' company.

Where I live there is almost no forage for the bees. They do fine right up through July then we hit a dearth that leaves them starving in August and through the fall. That's not right.

For now I'm moving the bees to my brother's place, smack dab in the middle of farms. After that I'll decide if I want to hang on to them, sell them to my brother if he wants them or just move me and my husband to a better bee location.
Thanks for the screened top idea. I'll definitely keep that one in mind!
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