Hello, we are having to do some construction very close to my hive. There will be a mini excavator digging out earth about 3 feet away. Should I close up the hive? Or close up the hive and move it for the time of the work and then move it right back? The work in that area will last about one maybe two hours.
Only you know the temperament of your bees to really know. I think you can close them up for an hour or two without problems during the construction; you might consider a screen mesh to allow for air flow but keep the bees from escaping.
You could loan the excavator operator a loan of your bee suit and gloves. When I mow around my hives I suit up and have had days that the bees are really angry, so I guess with some soil being dug out the bees won’t be happy about it. You could lock them in while the work is happening but in your climate they will need good ventilation.
If it is only for a few hours I would shut them up.
Wait another hour after work has finished and then release them. When you transport a hive the bees can be restricted for a lot longer than this inconvenience.
If you choose to close them in, do it before dawn so you keep the field bees in too. Otherwise you’ll have a lot of confused field bees gathering. I’ve used my excavator close to my hives without any problem (Not in the flight path), but as Peter suggested give the operator a veil or bee jacket in case your bees are defensive.