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Bees fail to get Amnesia

I have been putting off moving my 1st hive to join the 2nd hive in the Bee House.
Well I went ahead during this yukky weather on the basis the closed hive would not overheat, the cool weather would not encourage them to be active and hey it had to be done. Note: distance between old site and new site about 50 metres, so not far.

I closed up the hive Friday night (with adequate ventilation) and shifted it. I opened the hive Tuesday morning giving it 3 nights and 3 days to loose their memories of the previous site. As a belt and braces boy, I completely covered the front of the with bushes to re-enforce reorientation.
Tuesday morning was not a particularly nice and the bees seemed to want to stay inside. However by afternoon there was activity but it was bees leaving and going to the old site. I left an empty box there to catch stranglers a but I had about 500 or so bees in there by dusk. I quickly put the box on the hive at last light and went back an hour later and removed the catch box as all the bees migrated to the warmth of the brood box. I was very concerned that the move would cause collapse of the hive.
This morning, not only did I find a lot, perhaps 3 cups , of dead bees at the old site and plenty hanging about. Deeper concern.

This afternoon however I was heartened by the activity at the hive entrance. there were bees entering with pollen and (I guess) nectar and there were some doing enthusiastic dances on the entrance platform, so some at least have settled.
Luckily I have a fair bit of blossom out if the rain and wind eases to allow them to forage. I am still getting some bees returning to the old site, however not as many now.
The purpose of this ramble is just reiterate that hive shifting does not always go as planned. Some bees need a lot more than others to force reorientation.

Should I ever need to move a hive a short distance in future, I will do the 3 mile thing and after a week shift it back to the new site.

As a newbie, I have a theory, which might mean nothing at all, that the older bees take the longest to reorient to the new location and younger ones are more flexible as they haven’t done the trip to the old site so much. Is it possible? I also had a relatively close move and a few days of bees hanging around the old site despite inclement weather. Plenty of action at the new site. I’m not sure if the lost bees figured it out or they just died. Either way, the hive lives on…


I have moved hives short distances with in a row of hives (20 feet). I put a board in front to make them exit different. I do not put a catch box at the old site. There is usually a small cloud of bees at the old location for part of the next day but they disappear after several hours. I don’t know if they make it into the correct hive or not but I do not find find dead bees anywhere. The hive seems to stay healthy through it all.


I have done two similar moves of about 60 metres and in easy line of sight for the bees in a cleared area. I placed a box of a honey frame and a few stickies and room for more frames and any returning bees seemed happy to all use the one box. After a day I added young brood frames and locked it up for 2 days at the new apiary site. I added a clutter of foliage at the entrance then opened it up. The end result was no more stragglers to the old site and a new queen in the stragglers hive, the new hive is up to normal strength and going well. It just took a little forward planning, So it can be done that way.
Cheers Peter

Well, I thought I had it all covered. I think a contributing factor may have been a big Yellow Box is flowering (out of season) above the old site.

Fortunately I don’t think I will need to move any hive again.

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Hey Wilfred, I have ignored my “When it flowers book” for a year now, at the moment my Spring wattle flowering has just finished off again and this is just the 2nd week of Winter. I’ve lost count on the flowerings of the common paper bark’s and the coastal banksia is budding up 4 months early so not only are the trees confused, so am I. So much has been out of season here for me.
I called down on JeffH a couple of weeks ago to buy honey from him so I could meet an order and though he is only 18 k’s away it seems we have our own micro climates, his hives have been producing extractable amounts of honey while my hives have been struggling.
Cheers, Peter

Hear you loud and clear.
I am also quite bewildered. Some trees are doing a double flowering, yes the wattles are a good example and others just flowering out of season.
I suppose one can not blame the trees, as rainfall has been so light and erratic and the seasons seem to be less defined.
Maybe we are just getting old Peter and its all in our mind.:upside_down_face::upside_down_face::wink:

I’m sure that not getting my normal ‘wet season’ Summer rain is an issue. Instead of maybe 10 days of no rain over the November to mid March we had heatwaves with new maximum temps and a couple of mm of rain. Trees flowered but there was no nectar flow. My lawn didn’t just dry off, it would have died had I not used my sprinkler. Since March there has been good rain and the bees have been producing nectar again. I suspect the out of season and multi flowering is all about the out of season rain or lack of it.
It might be a sign of more to come I fear. Maybe us older guys 'n girls are more aware of climate changes and remember better, and yes, more defined reliable seasons. The area of drought was always increasing in Queensland till the out-back floods when livestock drowned instead of starving to death… I feel so sorry for the farmers that lost everything one way and the other…
Cheers, Peter