Moving Top Bar beehive
Hello Master Beekeepers! We have a top bar hive we were storing under on our porch last summer. There was some pre-existing comb and honey built by a colony that did not survive, and a new colony found it late last summer and swarmed into the hive. We left the hive alone, not sure if the new swarm would survive the winter. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that there are new spring bees! This is the first time we have had a swarm survive over winter. Do you have any suggestions as to how best to move our hive to a better location? We have been told by some about the "2 feet 2 mile" rule, but we also read how we can plug the hive and move it, and unplug it after 72 hours or so provided there's adequate ventilation in the hive and that we provide some orienting structures at the hive entrance for bees to return. Do you have any suggestions? We don't want to lose our colony again! Thank you so much!
Multnomah County Oregon
I am glad to know that your colony in the top bar hive survived. I am not sure why you plan on moving this hive to a different location. Is the current location not providing enough food resources (pollen and nectar) for your bees? How far are you planning to move this hive? If you really want to move this hive to a new location farther (more than 2 miles) from your current location then please plug the entrance well with newspaper or grass after all bees are home and move the hive during night. After reaching the new location you can remove the plug and the bees will reorient to the new location next morning. The most important thing is to move the hive when the weather for next couple of days is going to be nice (no rain and not too cold). They need at least couple of days good weather to find food resources in the new place. If you are planning to move this hive just few yards from the current location then you may have to move this hive a little bit each day (approximately 2 feet each day). If you have further questions then please feel free to call me at 541-737-5460.
Thanks so much for your reply! We want to move this hive since it is currently under our porch where we were storing it. It's not a great location since we would like to eat and barbeque here, and it is shaded and covered so not as much sun and warmth. We were hoping to move the hive around 50 ft to the northwest end/back corner of our lot, to get it more morning and daytime sunshine and to get it out of our path on the porch. We will also need to turn the hive, so the entry direction will change.
Do you advise moving only 2 feet at a time? How much can we turn the hive at a time?
If you do not have any other hives near this this top bar hive then you can try moving the hive even 3 or 4 feet each day, but be more careful with not abruptly changing the direction of the entrance. You can change the direction of the entrance a little bit each day. I would also suggest that you move the hive during the night when all bees are home rather than in the day when they have taken foraging flights.