When moving a beehive there are a few things you need to remember, be it a short distance across the garden, or a longer journey to a new location. We'll guide you through both scenarios, and there are a few essentials you need to remember:
Suit up - Bees can become agitated when their home is moving around, and who can blame them? So it's important that you wear protective gear such as a full bee suit, including gloves and veil when moving your hive. Even if you've sealed the hive, there's always a chance some bees could find a way out, or there may be stragglers around that won't appreciate your efforts.
Strap up – When moving a beehive, it's important to make sure it all stays together. You can secure the baseboard to the brood box using straps. For long distance moves, we use a couple of ratchet straps to be safe. For shorter moves, a single strap should be enough.
A Flow Hive strapped ready for a short move (left), and one more securely strapped for a long distance trip (right)
Shut the door! Or don't – The distance you plan to travel will dictate whether or not you should seal the entrance of your beehive before moving. For moves of less than 10 meters, we recommend leaving the hive open. Anything longer and you should seal up the entrance. The best time to do this is at night, or very early in the morning while all the bees are inside the hive. This way you will avoid losing any bees that are out foraging. If there are some bees around the entrance to the hive, use your smoker to gently encourage them back inside. There's no need to blow smoke into the hive, but a few puffs around the entrance should be enough to send them inside. When they're in, you can block up the entrance. We like to use steel wool, which can be pushed into the entrance. You can also cover the entrance with mesh, and secure it with tape or staples. Don't forget to close the roof- the Flow Hive 2 comes with a plug, if you've got the Flow Hive Classic you'll need to block the hole in the inner cover, this can be done easily with some mesh.
Keep it cool – Beehives can heat up very quickly, so ventilation is really important! When sealing your hive before moving it, always make sure that air can circulate. Flow Hives come with inbuilt ventilation control, so ensure that this is open. If you've got a screened baseboard, ventilation is taken care of. If not, you'll want to use mesh, which you can staple or tape over the entrance. Also, be careful not to leave the hive in direct sunlight for too long.
No place like home – Bees are oriented to where their hive is located. When moving a beehive, we want to ensure that the bees will get used to their new home, and not return to their original hive location. The distance you want to move your hive will determine the method you should use. If you're going more than 6.5 kilometres, then the bees won't recognise the new area and are unlikely to return to the old spot. If you're moving a shorter distance than that, you'll have to take some steps to ensure the bees can find the hive at the new location.
Long distance moves – More than 6.5 kilometres
Check out this video for a full run through:
Moving your hive a short distance - 10 metres – 6.5 kilometres
Shorter move – Less than 10 metres
Watch the video here: