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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am moving a strong, double-deep hive from close to a home to a more suited location in the same yard. There are three kids under 5 in the home, so my goal is to minimize the number of bees who don't successfully reorient, return to the home and engulf the home in a cloud of angry, confused bees for a few days.

After reading multiple sources on the subject, it seems that keeping the bees closed in for a prolonged amount of time aids in ensuring that re-orientation occurs upon relocation. Dolowich, 2010, shows that locking a hive for >6 days significantly contributes to reducing memory retention and thus successful reorientation/relocation.

So, below is the plan I have hatched. I am hoping for review and critique from those of you more experienced on the subject:

  1. Day 1, noon: Modify hive to increase ventilation
  2. Day 1, evening after sunset: Close up hive, move to cool, shady spot
  3. Day 2-6: Monitor temperatures, make water available if temperatures are high
  4. Day 7, morning: Move hive to new location. Obscure entrance with branches and grass. Open entrance.

Stores are strong, so I don't think I need to provide supplemental food/protein, but I wonder if there is a need to make water available and/or mist the screens. At the same time I don't want to keep the moisture to the point where it gets too humid in the hive.

Thoughts?
 

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So the whole three feet or three miles thing that you may have heard is really more of a suggestion than a rule. I understand you want to minimize the bee chaos, but the bee chaos is going to happen any way since when they reorient to the new location, thats going be sight to behold. How far is the move distance wise? Normally, if I can still see the original hive location from the new location, I just go ahead and move it. I would just let your neighbor know that you plan to move a hive so that it is safer for their kids, but the move day can get pretty chaotic so ask them to stay indoors for a day.

No matter what you decide, 6 days is way too long, bees start to lose their orientation memory in 48-72 hours. If you keep them plugged up for 6 days you are going to have thousands of dead bees in the hive and 6 days worth of new emerging brood. Point is, they might swarm. Everything else about your plan is good, its just a lot of effort!
 

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How far do you have to move it? I moved a hive about 50 feet in my yard last year, no closure, no clouds of angry bees. There is the rule of thumb "move 3 miles or 3 feet". Well, I moved my hive about 6 feet per evening for a week, right after sunset when all the bees were inside. They were smart enough to find the new location in the morning without getting angry, without getting lost or clouding up at the old location, and without closing up the hive, except for the few minutes it took to move it each evening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
See image for situation info:

Untitled.jpg

Total of ~120ft. Complicating factors are that the start is on a roof, and that the total elevation difference between starting point and final point is ~50ft.
 

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Based on my experience, test reports and my own measurements, in a humid environment with no top vent or exit hives, your humidity concerns are unfounded. Considering your location I would think water access for bees is a big issue. The top vent is likely dumping much needed water vapor so bee water demand should be high. Bees can control the RH in the brood area, 50-60% is needed; adult bees seem to like it higher.

I closed up hives for 3-5 days min and then use branches too, as you noted, but move them once. It works for me.

Thanks for the reference and good luck.
 

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I have used Michael Bush's method successfully. I would not close up a hive that long and do not believe it is necessary. Move it in one move, place a "leave behind box" at dusk to get stragglers. Repeat gathering the bees that don't get the message, as necessary. You can determine whether it is necessary by going to the old location and see how many didn't get the message. J
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmoving.htm
 

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I have three hives right up against the house. I plan to move two of them about 60 feet to the back of the yard and leave the weakest in place, hoping most of the stragglers move in and beef it up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So... I moved them two days ago and now the house is engulfed in a cloud of confused bees for the second day in a row...

I moved them after dark and did use a re-orientation obstacle. I didn't leave them locked up as was recommended. Yesterday the number of bees declined as evening arrived; at the end of the day there were maybe ~50 bees clustered on the ground where the hive was and I gave them a box to crawl into. They're still in the box, so the ones that are here today are a new bunch...

Any ideas for what to do? I am surprised there is now (what appears to be) a second bunch that is confused.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Are you taking the box to the hive at night? If so, are they crawling into the hive? J
From what I could tell, yes. I only released the ones I caught yesterday after the second cloud showed up...

There is really nice activity at the hive (it is a strong hive), so there is a good number of them who got the hint... There were probably 300-400 of them there today.
 
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