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  Saturday, 10 December 2016
  3 Replies
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I'm planning to move several of my hives about ten miles from their present location. These are ten frame Langstroths with two deeps and a medium. My plan is as follows:

  1. Close the bottom entrance with a folded piece of #8 hardware cloth the same way you would put in a larger opening mouse guard with a couple of staples for extra security.

  2. Cut a piece of plywood the size of an inner cover and cut a large hole in it and cover that with #8 hardware cloth. On moving day remove the telescoping cover and the inner cover and replace with this for lots of ventilation.

  3. Use two ratchet straps - one front to back and one side to side to hold it all together.

  4. Slide a pair of 2x2 s under the hive so two people can lift and carry it.

  5. Rent a small box van with a low bed and ramp to walk the hives in and protect them from wind and sun while moving.

I have flexibility on the date but I'm thinking that mid-late April would be the optimal time. The bees will be breaking cluster and have gotten some early spring food but it won't be real warm and the dandelions won't have bloomed yet.

I'd appreciate any comments on any aspect of this plan including date, moving strategy, methodology, etc. I don't want to spend more than I have to but I don't want to risk damaging the colonies either. Thanks for your thoughts in advance.
5 years ago
I actually moved my hives to their Winter quarters last weekend, not ideal but that is life. I strapped them (straps with a ratchet as the pull tight ones don't get that tight for me) after blocking the hole in the inner cover with some newspaper or something similar. Cardboard, staples, and tape to seal up any cracks. I sealed the front entrance with a mouse guard that I taped over the holes and then screwed it in tight.

Used a dolly and ramps to get them on and off a pick up. Can't stress how useful having really tight straps is. Instead of moving a wobbly stack of boxes, they move like one single unit.

My big hives all had screened bottom boards which helps with ventilation, though if you are the one pushing them up the ramp it can be disconcerting to be staring at lots of angry bees buzzing on the other side of that screen.
5 years ago
I can only say what I did for 20 years. Moved 600 hives to apples about May 12 and out just before Memorial Day weekend. Before I palletized, we moved by hand. Never had any issues with needing a screen inner cover. Actually, we never screened the entrance. If they're screened in, they get nervous and will come out any crack they can find. If you do screen the bottom, be sure there are no cracks or holes...like the inner cover. Think Duct Tape! Strap the hives before moving day. We used to start moving at 8pm, and move bees until sunrise. If it's cold, the bees don't even come out of the hive. The earlier in April you can get it done the easier it will be.
5 years ago
Hi Don, one thing you may want to consider is to make your move after dark, that way if the bees are out foraging they will be back in the hive. As you stated that may not be a problem if it is still cold and the bees are not out and about, only cleansing.
I might also suggest that you not bother with a piece of plywood instead of the inner cover and telescoping cover. Maybe just staple some screen over the inner cover vent, leave the telescoping cover on, install the ratchet straps and make your move.

Good luck and Happy Holidays. Peter
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