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How do I move a large hive?

So the replacement hive that the president of our local club was able to find me is apparently enormous. It is two 10 frame boxes and in his opinion it probably needs a third box put on for them to settle into before actually moving it.

Here is the question all I have is a hatch back wagon type car, not a truck with a bed. So how do I even move these ladies realistically? Can I break up the boxes and travel them separately then retack them when I get them home?

rent a uhaul truck or trailer to get it done

Adding to @Beast9156’s suggestion, Home Depot rents trucks and fork lifts (at some places) by the hour. Add a couple of beefy friends, beer and pizza, and you will get it done in no time! :wink:

Break them down and screen the tops for ventilation.

I may have been seen traveling in my van wearing a full bee-suit! lol


Use a bee escaped crown boards top and bottom of both boxes - place the escapes facing into the hive ie the bottom one up side down - put them on the back seat of the car secured in the seat belts - worry about the 3rd brood box later. they will sit OK side by side - I assume the journey is short??

Have the air con on full blast cold - especially if it is a hot day

The main problem is that they are bearding pretty heavily so it’s either that there are simply too many bees to fit inside the boxes at night or it is still just too hot. I don’t know which it will be until I get there.

Move bees late in day when all have returned. Place straps around top lid and bottom board. two if need be front to back , side to side. Nail the entrance with a piece of wood to close off complete entrance do not set nail all the way leave them (2) so that they can be pulled latter. Pick them up and place on rear seat of car or a good friends truck bed. You should have home place set up for hive if not get to it, and just place hive on top of stand. If they have to be locked up overnight so be it, next morning remove entrance block of wood and they will take flight circle and then go forth.

I move hives in the back of my minivan all the time. But I know I can focus on driving even if there are bees buzzing around… You need them to stay cool and not overheat. You need the hive to be anchored together (a cinch strap is useful for this). Loading them, moving them and unloading them in the dark is good (they will all be home and less likely to overheat). Seal things up with screen wire (a stapler and screen are your friends here) and plug any other holes with duct tape and staple the duct tape too. You can always rent a trailer…

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I’m going to be moving 3 hives on Friday. but it is quite cool here.

I’m preparing the hives Thursday. Follower boards to stop movement in transit, Ratchet straps to stop splitting open, I have 2 Clear covers with small 2 mm holes and one with slits I made with a knife - neither will let bees through and held in place with a Shim to go on without a roof and SBB (Screened Bottom Board) open without the Correx/Corflute inserted. The entrances close with Foam for the purpose.

2 on back seat and one on passenger seat. Seat belt through an extra ratchet Strap in the back and front to stop sliding.

Can I suggest before you put the bees in the car - turn on the engine and put the a/c on high so the car is cold or as cold as possible - the wooden hives will retrain some heat and the cool air will dissipate some of that heat and help the bees and hives

Hi Adam, have you moved them yet? Do you have head room for 2 x10 frame boxes? I assume deeps. If so, I would take the heavy frames out of the top box, make sure you have plenty of ventilation for the bees & lock them up like you would normally do to move a hive.

If you don’t have the head room for 2 deeps, I’d make a 75-100mm spacer to fit between the bottom box & lid. This is after you remove the top box & frames. Shake the bees into the bottom box. The spacer is to allow room for the bees out of the top box. Once your bees are on sight, return everything to as it was before. I wouldn’t add the third box until you have the bees at your place. Good luck with that, bye for now.

It depends a lot on the distance and the weather. I have had one very bad experience trying to move a hive a long distance (8 hour drive) , nearly all the bees died from suffocation. I am a 60+ woman and had to move a very full 3 layer eight frame hive 5 km. This means the bees were confined for only a short time and didn’t suffocate. If I had to do it again I would assemble full protective gear for two people and get help with the lifting. I don’t have the strength to lift a full 8 frame box and always have to split the honey super anyway.
This is what I did over one warm day in Autumn:
At midday, using kayak tie-downs and a bee brush:

  • removed 4 frames from the top (honey) box brushing off the bees at the hive entrance and putting the bee-less frames into a nucleus box, put the lid on, strapped it closed and carried it away from the main hive and placed it in the shade
  • removed the 4 remaining frames from the top (honey) box brushing off the bees at the hive entrance as above and placed the frames into a spare box with bottom board (no entrance) and lid, strapped it closed and carried it away from the main hive and placed it in the shade
    At late afternoon, using emlock straps, 1 spare lid and spare bottom board with no entrance;
  • Removed entire 2nd box (top brood chamber), complete with bees, on to a spare bottom board (no entrance) and lid, strapped it closed and carried it away from the main hive and placed it in the shade. The brood boxes are slightly lighter than the honey supers. This was a heavy lift for me but with the help of an upright trolley I just managed this.
  • Replaced hive lid on 3rd (bottom) box (brood chamber) and left hive entrance open till just on dark. Placed emlock strap in position in the daytime so I would be able to see to close it.
  • In the back of my station wagon I placed a large mosquito net so that when I got the boxes in I could cover the whole load with a net to prevent stray bees from interfering with my driving.
  • First brushing off any stray bees exploring the boxes, loaded the honey supers one at a time into the wagon by using the trolley handle as an inclined plane to slide them into the back, leaving room for the two brood boxes
    On dark:
  • Closed hive entrance with a wood strip entrance closer I made myself using many more metres of gaffer tape than I had ever imagined needing to use.
  • Strapped the lid and base on to the box.
  • Loaded both brood supers using a trolley as above. This is hard because you have bees in these boxes so they have to be very securely closed and you also have to be gentle as you can.
  • Covered the whole load securely with the mosquito net.
    Drove home very slowly and carefully with the hazard lights flashing (I live in a very urban environment).
    Unloading the bees in the dark was very difficult, as I attempted to reassemble the 2 brood boxes and despite having full protective gear the bees crawled and stung and I had to give myself and bees a shower with the garden hose, however the next morning the hive was in position and placing an empty super on top and refilling with full frames of honey and lid was relatively simple.
    The bees settled within 3 days and the hive appears to be doing well.
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