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I have been watching some interesting behavior. I am slowly moving a hive in my yard. It is a swarm I caught in a bait hive. I have them on a wagon, and I move them a couple of feet a day.
The interesting thing is, when I move them a little to far, or turn a corner, they still look back where they started out. Not where they just where, they go back to the begining which is now about a hundred feet away, and around a corner totaly out of sight from where they are now. If I keep the move down to two feet it's ok. If I try four or five feet I get mass confusion and for the first half of the day they go back to the old spot. I have used Michael Bush's trick of putting a branch in front of the hive, and it worked other time, but not this time. Maybe it's because they are a swarm with very few new bee's at this point? Any way it's fun to see they are still full of surprises even after over fourty years of surprises!

Bill Schaefer
 

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I think watching bees react to a new location is hilariouis- even just changing the side of the hive with the entrance. I had 3 hives stacked atop each other with entrances offset at right angles. I combined two of them, and the one that got "moved" had bees coming in from the field, looking like they were orienting. Then every now and then 1 bee had had enough of this nonsense and moved in, bumping the solid face of the hive where the entrance used to be. Yea their GPS is pretty dang precise and they will trust it more than their eyes.

I'd guess that every time you move the hive they are stressed to a degree. Seems like it'd be better on everybody just to do it all at once. For the old foragers that are still hanging out in the old spot in the evening then put an empty nuc there for them to go into, then move it to the new location first thing in the morning before they get out or after dark. Usually this only has to be done once. By mid morning the nuc is usually vacant.

I'm guessing that the bees that return to the original site when you've moved too far, probably go back there every time but when their home is gone they "remember" then relocate to where you moved it.
 
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