Saturday, July 9, 2011

Moving a Hive at Night

The plan:  Relocate the swarm hive to the bee yard.

This was the swarm that we collected from our neighbourhood a week ago.  We don't know where the original hive is located but I suspect it's close by.

Day Time Preparations:
  1. Empty the syrup from the hive top feeder into a jug.
  2. Put empty honey super with frames on hive (so that I won't have to do it at the yard at night--that's the aqua coloured box).
  3. Secure the hive parts for transport.  My favourite tool is duct tape and yes I use a lot of it.  A ratchet would be better, I agree.  (Note:  this hive is new with freshly drawn comb so it's pretty light to carry.  Also we're only travelling 4 km to the yard).
The platform at the yard had already been set up - it's a painted plywood board sitting on a skid and the skid is sitting on a couple of cement blocks.

Preparations After Dark:

Some good supplies to have on hand are a veil and helmet - bees can fly and sting at night, a flashlight so you can see
  1. Smoke bees into the hive if they are on the porch.
  2. Place screening into entrance and secure in place.
  3. I also cover the upper entrance.
  4. Carry hive to truck without dropping it.
  5. Place hive so frames are parallel with the vehicle with entrance facing to the road behind.
  6. Place hive on new hive stand.
  7. Remove screening.
  8. Fill up the hive top feeder.
  9. Place partial entrance reducer and greenery temporarily in front of entrance so in the morning it'll look different and the bees will orient to the new location before flying off.
  10. Slap the mosquitoes off.
  11. High 5 with Dad for a job well done and drive home.
Back at Home:

I'm like the army that says "no one stays behind".  I don't want a single bee to get lost, so when we removed the hive I put the cardboard nuc in it's place in Dad's yard.  That way an escaped bees will go inside or if by chance any bees fly back from the move site which is 4 km away, they'll go into the nuc.

Then at night I close up the nuc to keep them inside and the next morning deliver it to the yard.  I let them smell home for a bit and then crack the lid slightly right next to the entrance.  Once they smell their queen they're very quick to go inside.

Photo - Hive #7 is white and aqua coloured.  I have a newer deep and bottom board that I'll give to this hive, but that'll be another time.

The Next Day:
  1. Return to yard for a check
  2. Remove duct tape from sides of hives if I didn't do it the night before.
  3. Take photos
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