Moving a beehive

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Both hives
Here are our two beehives. The one on the left is the hive Stephen picked up last week (our hive equipment, new bees). The one on the right is our main hive that we have had since last summer.

We moved the main hive Friday. We did have it behind our shed, and while the location wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t the best for the bees because it was too shady (which in turn encourages small hive beetles – a pest we’d rather avoid if possible). Since we placed the new hive in a more open location last week, we wanted to move the older hive to the new location as well.

We decided to go ahead and move it Friday morning. Stephen had the hard part of dragging the hive on a pallet. I had the scary task of steadying the hive. Even though it was strapped together, we didn’t want it to fall over. Once we got it to the new location, we picked it up and placed it on the supports. Stephen had told me it was heavy, but I was really surprised at the effort it took to lift it.

It didn’t help that we wanted to keep the hive as steady as possible, and that we could hear the humming of the bees inside. That was definitely unnerving. Normal, but still unsettling to be holding it.

It rained most of the day Friday, so the bees really didn’t come out much. Saturday, they definitely came out. Stephen placed a branch in front of the hive opening (as well as an entrance reducer) so that they would orient when they exited the hive and familiarize themselves with the new location. Then on Saturday he removed the branch and the entrance reducer.

Bees orienting at main hive

We can see the new location of the beehives from the house, so we have really enjoyed watching them. They oriented (as we expected) pretty much all day. There was been a huge cloud of sorts around the hive entrance most of the day. This video clip shows how many bees were flying around the entrance – I was standing about 6 feet from the hive when I took it.

There were quite a few bees that went to the old hive location, so we really enjoyed observing them there too. We have a swarm lure back there (the small brown hive box in the pictures), and the bees were very curious about it.

Swarm lure

Swarm lure

Swarm lure
You can see a drone (male bee) in the top left corner. Look how much bigger he is than the others. There were some really BIG drones flying around this box.

Swarm lure
Even yesterday there were still quite a few bees at the swarm lure. Stephen’s Monday schedule is fairly unpredictable, so he’s hoping for an opening some time today to be able to go in the lure and check the bees in there. We’re hoping it is a new swarm, but with the timing, we’re thinking it’s just a remnant from the big hive.

These bees are gentle
Honeybees really are gentle creatures and generally only sting when provoked. I have to admit – it still took a lot of self-control for me to just stand there, even though Stephen was obviously a lot closer than I was.

I have teased Stephen so much lately that he is really getting me hooked on the bees, but it’s true. They are absolutely fascinating to watch, and I love being able to have them!

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4 thoughts on “Moving a beehive”

  1. I think you, Stephan and the kids need to take a road trip to CA and teach Jonah and I how to keep a hive;) I would LOVE to have my own raw honey, since we use a LOT of honey and raw is so $$$$. Let me know when you can come;)

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