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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to move a beehive

 As most of you know, all but one hive died this past winter.  They were good, strong hives, but the winter was too rough.
 In May, I tore down all of the non-surviving hives and put them away.
 
  That left this hive......
and the swarm I retrieved, also in May.

which I put in this hive.  They were tall, heavy hives, and would be hard to move.  But move them is exactly what I had to do.  Because after pondering for a year or longer, and moving pole barn locations, in our minds at least seven times, we decided the best location for the pole barn would be right where my beehives are located. (sigh)
 So here is how you move a strong, big, heavy, live, hive. First of all, you set up some 4x4's on cement blocks, about two feet from the hive.  On that 4x4 you set up one hive body with five empty frames,
 and you pull five full frames from the hive you are moving.  The full frames should have brood, larvae, honey and nurse bees on them. (not the queen, which you can see in this picture)
 
You now have reduced the big hive, to a small hive, but you still have the big hive!
So, you tear the big hive down into movable pieces....I had a friend help me, and my Shug drove the tractor.  A truck would have worked just fine too.  So, this is one big hive that we moved to a new location.
 
and we set it back up in it's new location.
One down, one to go.

 Now this part is important.  See how the hive is moved from the end about two feet?  That's all you can move a hive....two feet a day, at dusk.  You see, we moved the biggest part of the hive to another area in the yard, but some of the bees from that hive were out foraging.  If we wouldn't have left them something, a part of that hive to come back to, they would have come back to the same location with no hive. When a honeybee leaves a hive, it circles the location a couple of times, and when it's finished foraging, it comes back to that same location. So, we left a small piece of the hive for those bees.  We took the queen, with the bigger part of the hive, to the new location.
 
and every night at dusk, for about six weeks, I suited up and moved each hive two feet.  (we put the hive on the left on the 4x4's as well)
Eventually the hives were out of the way....
 so the guys could clear the ground for the pole barn.

 And now, the hives are away from the pole barn.  They have made new queens and are  strong, new hives.  And the old hives are in their new location doing well also. 
 The three on the left are the new hives that I purchased in June.
And that folks, is part of the life of being a beekeeper.

Cindy Bee

5 comments:

  1. Whew! What a lot of work! I am very thankful for people like you who are devoted to bee-keeping!

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  2. I second Nellie' comment - I'm very thankful as well. So sorry to hear how rough the winter was on them!

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  3. Well, it makes perfect sense now you've explained it, but what a job moving them just 2 feet a day!

    Hope they like their new site!

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  4. Cindy bee wow what a lot of work. I truly appreciate honey a lot more. Do you ever get stung?

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    1. Ha ha! Yes Larkrise, every now and then one of them gets an attitude! Maybe once or twice a year I'll get stung. But one out of 50,000 isn't bad odds, I'd say. Unless I was truly allergic.

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Cindy Bee