There are a number of reasons it might be necessary to relocate a beehive. Maybe the hive needs to be moved from one part of the apiary to another. Or possibly the hive is going to be transported for pollination. Or perhaps a beekeeper has purchased a complete hive and is moving it to his or her own apiary. There are several things to keep in mind when moving a beehive to make sure the move is smooth and the loss of bees is minimised.
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Things you need
- Bee suit, gloves and veil
- Smoker and smoker fuel
- Window screen or fine-mesh hardware cloth
- Staple gun
- Two nylon straps with ratcheting lock
- Metal hive carrier
Put on a bee suit, gloves and a veil before entering the bee yard.
Smoke the hive entrance to encourage the bees to go back into the hive.
Remove honey supers from the hive to reduce the weight. Leave only the brood chamber and one empty super on the hive.
Secure the entrances to the hive by stapling window screen or fine-mesh hardware cloth over the hive entrance. Staple screen over the top of the colony. This will keep the bees inside the hive while allowing ventilation.
Attach the hive bottom board to the bottom of the brood chamber with special hive staples. While similar in shape to regular staples, hive staples have points that are 2 inches apart to hold hive components together. They are sold by the pound by beekeeping suppliers.
Attach the other frames to each other in the same manner. Leave enough room so the staples can be removed later.
Run two nylon straps vertically around the sides of the hive. Tighten the straps to secure the hive bodies. The straps serve as backup protection for the hive staples.
Lift the secured hive from its old location and place it in the hive carrier. The carrier is a two-person metal device that provides movers with a firm grip on the heavy hive while still being able to see where they are walking.
Place the hive inside the transport vehicle. Secure the hive inside the vehicle to keep it from tipping over.
Double-check that all hive components are securely attached so nothing will fly off in transport and become a safety hazard to other motorists.
Place the hive in its new location and allow it to sit overnight.
Remove the entrance screen from the hive in one movement while walking away from the hive at the same time.
Return the following day to remove the screen on top of the hive and the straps.
Tips and warnings
- The best time to move a hive is when temperatures are above 10 degrees Celsius. The best time of day to close up the hive is in the evening after the worker bees have returned to the hive or in the morning before they begin foraging.
- For best results, the hive should be placed at its new location so it will receive the morning sun.
- To avoid killing bees during the move, avoid dropping or bumping the hives.
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