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Bearding bees late into the night

I have a new double bee hive stand and want to move the Flows to their new home a few metres away. For the past 3 nights i have been unable to do so as my bees are still bearding outside their hive … i was able to move one box as it is a new colony and does not have its super on as yet, but i managed to get quite stung by very angry lil bees as they came back out of the entrance at least 19 stings! ouch mostly thru the gloves and one thru my veil… they were not happy. I did not smoke them which on hindsight perhaps i should have done so.

I have not tried since to move the 2nd and main hive as i cannot pick it up without causing havoc for the bees and possibly a bad outcome for me. It was after dark around 7pm for the first attempt but i have tried 9pm and 11pm and they are still hanging outside! and not just a few but stacks of them. we are in Northern NSW and we have had some warmish nights but i assumed they would be inside by 11! hahaha.

This flow has been magic, plenty of healthy bees and plenty of honey since the beginning of spring, i have harvested 4 frames in the past week and have over 5-6kgs of gorgeous floral honey. can anyone assist with a possible fix or tips to moving them successfully or do i have to go out even later in the evening… i figured the closer to dawn they would be even more flighty…

Hi Susan you’re probably best to only move the hive, say 500mm par day. Is the few meters on the same level? I was thinking of 2 long boards securely set up between the 2 sites. You could just jostle the hive onto the boards, then move it 1/2 a meter every day until you reach the destination, then jostle it onto the new stand. cheers

PS, is your colony preparing to swarm? It might be worth looking into that.

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I had this problem last year- moving a colony from someone elses house to my house. A few times when i went to pick it up there were large beards well after dark.

The trick is to look at the weather and choose the coldest upcoming night to make the move. Next- if the bees are bearding either gently smoke them to get them into the hive- or use a water mister bottle and very lightly spay water mist outside and onto the entrance. Hopefully the bees think it’s raining and go back in. You have to do it gently and not fully soak the bees as in that case they become lethargic and don’t go back in.

then- if I was you i would staple some mesh over the entrance or block it some other way when you lift up the hive. As you found bees get angry at night- also there are often bees crawling around outside the box so be careful there are none underneath when you go to lift it. They tend to crawl all over and will crawl up your legs too… also strap the box up if you are moving it far as the last thing you want is it falling apart mid-move.

and like Jeff said if you are only moving it a small distance you have to do so in increments- otherwise the bees will get disorientated and lost. If you have to move it all at once after you have done so, put a branch with leaves directly in front of the entrance so the bees have to climb through it to get out of the hive. This will trigger them to re-orient better. Leave it there for three or four days.


Hello Jeff. Hope you and Wilma are well. Thanks for that… we actually could do what you suggest as the new setup is about 2-3 metres away from where they currently sit. it is slightly more open and better access now i have 2 hives. the new little hive, tho they were not happy being moved, have settled in immediately to their new position. the big hive is so much heavier and i don’t want to upset them or squash them… no i don’t believe they are going to swarm, just bearding, i think we have warmer than normal evenings and a full moon!

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Many thanks Semaphore…i will definitely use a smoker this time i think i was being a bit too cocksure about moving the hive. i think your suggestions are great especially about blocking up the entrance and a branch to assist with orientation.

If you can move it In small steps the branch probably isn’t needed. Same for stapling the entrance- just some wadded up newspaper stuffed in the entrance will do

Hiya All_a_buzz, I’d have expected more honey from 4 Flow frames. Our minimum weight per frame was 2.8kg. Did you inspect the frames before harvesting?

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