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If I move a hive out of my apiary mid day, will the returning field bees find a home in another hive close by? My hives are positioned in a row with maybe 24 inches apart.
 

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Sure they will. Not a worry.
If you can and move the remaining hive a bit after the move (say mid-way) - not required though with only 24 feet adjustment.

Consider that the remaining hive will have a boosted foraging population within a day.
You may want to adjust to that (add an extra honey box, what not).
Also consider - you are weakening the hive moved mid-day.
 

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My hives are positioned in a row with maybe 24 inches apart.

And depending upon which hive you move, the one off the end, may move many bees over one hive. Depends what other focal points you have.
Every bee will find a bed for the night though.
 

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So is there a limit on distance moved? I have 2 hives about 3’ apart but want to move both of them together about 50’ away. Is it ok and what time of day is best?
 

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So is there a limit on distance moved? I have 2 hives about 3’ apart but want to move both of them together about 50’ away. Is it ok and what time of day is best?
Have you thought about just leaving a brood frame with bees and just making it a walk away third hive?
 

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Saltybee- I have two new packages so nothing to split yet. Just wishing I’d set the hives up differently in more direct sunlight.
 

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So is there a limit on distance moved? I have 2 hives about 3’ apart but want to move both of them together about 50’ away. Is it ok and what time of day is best?
the rule of thumb is 2 feet or 2 miles. In other words if you have to move a hive move it 2 feet at a time. or take it more than 2 miles away. for a few days then bring it back forcing the bees to reorient. be sure to close it up a dusk after all the bees have returned
 

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We move ours without issue within the apiary from a few feet to 15-20 feet, sometimes more sometimes less. We close them up, move, hang a cut branch in front of the opening and the bees reorient as they come out of the hive.
 

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Welcome h2o
Nice to add more regions.

Come to my house will a full wallet you want to unload and I will welcome you in!
 

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We move ours without issue within the apiary from a few feet to 15-20 feet, sometimes more sometimes less. We close them up, move, hang a cut branch in front of the opening and the bees reorient as they come out of the hive.
When you hang a cut branch in front, how exactly are you placing the branch? Is it laying in the entrance area so they have to crawl over it? I've read about reorienting the bees this way, but I've not done it yet. Thanks!!
 

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Maybe a stupid question but won’t the returning bees to a different hive not be let in by the guard bees?
Not a stupid question.....I was thinking the same thing..... I would assume the guards wouldn't let bees from another hive in either.
 

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Not a stupid question.....I was thinking the same thing..... I would assume the guards wouldn't let bees from another hive in either.
It depends how the foreign bees behave.
If they are really begging and act submissively and even offer a bribe of nectar - they will be let in.
If they act like a$$holes - they will get an appropriate response.

All in all - magically, bees in good summer times always find home (a couch to crash onto, that is).
Therein lays the drifting problem - spread of infection and parasites via drifting.
 

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Maybe a stupid question but won’t the returning bees to a different hive not be let in by the guard bees?
A forager coming back with pollen and nectar isn't a robber and is usually let into the hive. If a guard bee greets it the guard is easily bribed by any bee carrying nectar to offer.
 

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When you hang a cut branch in front, how exactly are you placing the branch? Is it laying in the entrance area so they have to crawl over it? I've read about reorienting the bees this way, but I've not done it yet. Thanks!!
I cover the entrance with it for around a day, sometimes two, the bees need to crawl over, under, around the branch. I usually just tape it on. Usually tape the stem on the box with the branches hanging over the opening.
 
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