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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
If a number of hives are moved in fall, or later, will they re-orient during cleansing flights/warm days?

Or will they all get lost, and die during the cleansing flight?

Plan is to only move the hives approximately 5-10 feet.

Thanks.
 

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I think they will be fine, no further than that is.
I plan to rearrange mine this Winter also. I will be moving some of them a bit further, so I am going to install robber screens as I move them to force them to reorient.

Good luck with the move.

Alex
 

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You might not want to move them on a cold day. No matter how careful you think you are going to be, if you move them you will wreak havoc on their cluster and probably lose a bunch of bees to the cold. You can move a hive 5-10 feet and they'll find it. Even if they don't recognize it as their own, they'll move in to the closest hive they can find by where their old hive was. If you are really worried move them a foot a day for 10 days.
 

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Some winter bees are oriented to their current location. I have moved bees in the winter, about 20 feet move. A tale of 2 hives....

The first hive was facing north (it had a tremendous windbreak), and to its west was a mini-tree/large bush. We moved it 20-30 feet away, to the middle of a pasture, facing south. Nothing (other than the bush) was left at the old location. About 100 or so bees went back and found the old location, but don't seem to have landed, or at least I couldn't find any corpses later. :(

And then we have my bone-headed attempt to move the second hive.

This hive was facing south, with a short bit of fence by the entrance as a windbreak. We moved it only 10 feet, and we placed an empty hive body in the old location. Well, at least 200-300 bees landed on the hive in the old location, unable to get in as all entrances were blocked. They got chilled and died. I felt pretty disgusted with myself. :(

So, I learned that for a 5-20 foot move can be easy for a hive - if you can remove almost all traces it was there. I would work hard to move anything the bees could cluster on, or alight on, to discourage

I didn't see any evidence of excessive bee mortality due to the move - but they were not jostled much, since they were hand carried. I put old plastic lids under the hive entrances, to see how many dead bees are being chucked out in front of the hive. I didn't see high numbers the days after.

I tried to choose a move day where the next day or so would be warm enough that the bees could break cluster and re-form the cluster easily - like 40s. I worried that a move while they were in deep cluster, so outside temps in the 20s or lower, would be very hard on them. I don't know if that is the case or not.
 
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