Moving Bee Hives
Hello! We just installed two beehives in a suburban back yard (in Forest Grove). However, they are a little close to a neighbor's porch and we'd like to move them to the other side of our yard--one about twenty-thirty feet, and the other about fifty feet. We have heard that we should move them 3 feet at a time. Is this the case? And if so, how long do we need to leave them at each stage of the move? Thanks so much! Al Weiss
Washington County Oregon
Hi Al, you have heard correctly the gradual move works well for the bees. Each day or two move the hives another 3 feet in the desired direction. Keep the entrances oriented in the same direction.
There are other methods of moving hives that also work. You can move the hives to a friend’s place at least 2 or 3 miles away and leave them for 2 weeks. At the end of 2 weeks you may move the hives back to the new location in your yard. Each time they are moved the bees will reorient themselves to the new location.
There is one more option, and that is to make the move across the yard all at once. However, once the hive is in the new location. Obstruct the entrance with plants so that the bees have to crawl through the obstruction to reach the light. You could arrange fir branches in front of their entrances, or place several potted plants in front, or stack a pile of shrubby pruning debris, anything that makes the bees slow down and figure out what has changed in their world.
You will want to move the bees when it is cool and in the evening or early, early morning. If the forecast calls for rain that is a perfect time to move as the bees will easily reorient. I’m including a link to a Bee Informed Partnership bee blog by Ben Sallmann, “The Basics of Moving Hives”. He covers each of the above options in more detail. Plus he includes the logistics of preparing the hive body for moving to make the move as low stress for the bees and beekeepers as possible.
Thank you Anna! This confirms the advice we received! We're going to try the third option--the move is tomorrow morning--wish us luck!
You are welcome. I hope the planned move goes smoothly.