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Moving A hive 80m

I’m about to do the worst beekeeping job I have to do. Moving my hive. Been procrastinating for a year but have to do it as it is visible and accessible from the road.

It has to move about 80m or so from one end of my block to another. It is an uneven slope down.

What’s the best way you guys recommended?

So far I’m thinking of getting an escape board to contain all bees in the brood box overnight. Tape up the entrance in the morning before sunrise and somehow grab the brood box and bottom board and carry them down. Put some branches in front the entrance to re-orientate.

But… easier said than done. How heavy is it going to be full bees? I’m not much of a hulk. Shall I try to put in a wheelbarrow for transport?

What else am I missing? I really don’t want to stuff this up.

The night before. I typically go out and put this around the entire hive

I then get a piece of screen wire ready to go all the way across the entrance folded in half and then stuff it in. This way it allows them to breathe.

Sounds like you may or may not have a bottom board.

If you don’t have a bottom board certainly do that. The day or two before before putting the strap on. Truly, the strap will contain the entire hive when ratcheted down pretty tight. I’ve done it with two deeps and it has worked well.

I have the bog standard Flow screened bottom board.

When you tighten that strap over the lid, won’t it break the roof shingles?

Also, can one feeble middle aged man lift a brood box full of bees ? That’s my biggest worry.

I think I’m ok with the theory of moving the hive but struggling with the logistics.

Hiya @HillWallaby - I don’t envy you :flushed: but I’ll try to add something helpful! I would say NOT to use a wheelbarrow. I recall a forum member some time back reporting a disaster after doing this with one of his hives. It was too bouncy, and combs collapsed inside the box, killing bees and brood…could easily have killed the queen also but I don’t remember if he said so. It was sad to read and I felt badly for him, all that work and ending in loss.

I like Marty’s ratchet straps, but I do wonder too if they will put too much pressure on the roof. I would swap it out for a migratory lid @JeffH and others use for transporting. Plus, you’ll have more leverage without having to wrap your arms all the way around the wide Flow roof to grip the box. Jeff will certainly have some good advice for you too.

Last suggestion is to consider putting half your frames in another box with a bottom & lid at dawn, screen off and ratchet down both, so you’ll have to make two trips but only carry half the weight. Stray fliers will still have a chance of finding their way to their new home I would think.

Good luck and tell us how it goes!

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I did take the pitched roof off and only used the inner cover lid making sure I covered up the hole as well. Very good catch “Eva”

With the straps, one time I put the straps around the hive short ways and then around the hive long ways basically crisscrossing them and two of us were able to pick up each side of the strap and carry it. The boxs were very heavy, really requiring two people to carry it.

Good point about the wheelbarrow I would try to avoid that for sure, or even a appliance carrier. Dolly type item would try to avoid

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Hiya wallaby, it’s probably time to look at removing the super anyway. You’ll probably find the brood nest is shrinking and the super is being vacated as the nights cool. Is there much honey in the super?
I wouldn’t want to carry a complete Flow hive on my own either and I’m more of a kangaroo. :grinning:

No way to attempt that myself. That’s why I am going to get a Bee Escape Board so I trap all the bees in the broodbox and will only have to carry the one box, not a full hive. I still think it will be heavy for one person.

Eva’s suggestion to split the frames in two hives is interesting and will give it some thought as I have an empty hive waiting at the moment which I can utilise. My cncer is that will loose some bees in the process.

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All good suggestions. If you are having doubts that even the brood box may be too heavy for you…get help.
This needs to be done after dark to get the majority of bees in the hive.
Do as @Martydallas says : take the roof off , stuff screen wire in the entrance, use two tie down ratchet straps to completely lock everything together, use a single overhead pole (to take at least 80 -100 lb) or two under hive poles and use 4 adult to shift the hive. Keep the hive closed at least one day 2 or 3 if weather is not hot the do the bushes trick over the entrance when you take out the mesh from the entrance.

Alternative pay a local beekeeper to shift it for you.

There are a lot of videos on YouTube for shifting hives and worth a look and a lot of posts in this forum on shifting hives . Type in Moving a Hive in the search box top right and you will get heaps.

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Depends on how tight. We have tightened a ratcheting strap fo more than 2 years without breaking our Flow roof. Just do it to moderate resistance, and stop at that point. Don’t be Superman about it. :smile:

Well, one late middle-aged woman can’t on her own, but she can use brain power. Pizza and beer can recruit a lot of muscular young things to help. :blush: Food and beverages delivered after the job, of course! Craigs List or Gumtree posts, even local Facebook posts may result in more volunteers than you need. Especially if they know the reward. :blush:

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If I can’t do it by myself I have to pay someone I think.

Plenty of videos on YouTube but none I could find showing the actual carrying of the brood box.

Does anyone know the weight of an 8-frame brood box with bees, plus lid and bottom board?

Another question. Why does the entrance have to be ventilated when close? Can’t air get in from the bottom screen?

Do you really have to move the hive? Could you put a screen between the hive & the road?

You could be making the job of harvesting honey & other bee related work harder on yourself long term by placing the hive down a hill. Ask @Peter48 about the “mountain goat” hive he looks after. Also I helped a bloke out once where the hive was located down a hill, on a slope, while the hive would have been much easier to work on top of the hill, on a flat surface. The hive would have been fine up there. It wouldn’t have worried anyone.

Anyway, that’s my thoughts on the subject.

Hello there,

I just moved a 10 frame hive last night- and it had a mostly empty super on top. It was very heavy with a lot of honey in the brood box. The weight of your hive will really depend on how much honey is in the brood. If there isn’t much- it won’t weigh much and one person should be able to manage it easily, assuming they are reasonably strong. Pick the hive up from the back and tilt it to get an idea of how heavy it is first. If you can easily tilt it then the whole move should be pretty easy. Even a full single 8 frame box shouldn’t weigh that much- maybe 15- 25KG’s? The pine ones are a heavier than the cedar but most of the weight is in honey.

If your hive has a lot of honey in the brood- you could possibly remove a few frames before you move it and then put them back afterwards. I would only do this if some frames were 100% capped honey…many times the outermost frames will be. Removing two of them will drop the overall weight by maybe 4 to 6 kg’s. I had to move my long hive once and was able to remove nearly 10kg’s of honey- which helped a lot when I moved it.

when you carry the hive be sure to hold it by the base if possible- that reduces the chance of it coming apart. Clear the path beforehand…

Another trick I use a lot with great success: when it comes time to close the entrance- often there will be some bees outside milling around. I have a spray bottle full of water and I gently mist the bees. they think it is raining and most times they head back into the hive- you can then quickly shut the entrance. Be careful of bees wandering around on the outside of the hive- as the last thing you want is to get stung while you are carrying it. At night bees can be quite crawly- and to get angry easy if you manhandle them.

I also use a red torch as bees cannot see the red light- but they can be attracted the white LED torches.

I have never moved a hive such a short distance- and I am guessing the next day you will have quite a few bees returning to the old location. If you have a spare nuc box and a spare frame- you could put it in that spot. Bees will settle on that comb in the evening and you can then take them to the original hive and shake them near the entrance. That’s if you can be bothered messing about to save a few lost bees.

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It definately pays to think carefully before positioning a hive- as moving it afterwards is such a pain. You really want to choose a location and that’s it: done. One of my hills apiaries is through a fruit orchard- and I have to lug everything in and out- over rough terrain- with no car access. It’s annoying but it’s a great location so I just have to deal with it.

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A full deep frame weighs about 3kg, so 8 of them would weigh 24kg. Add the box, bottom board, inner cover and roof - you will have a total of around 30kg. Brood weighs a little less than honey and of course if the box is not full, then it would be less than that. I would estimate a maximum of around 30kg.

When you are moving it a short distance on a cool day, it doesn’t need to be ventilated. It is just that bees overheat very quickly in closed hives on hot days. They can fan the hive, but the screened bottom board isn’t a very efficient route for fanning, and they do better with their cooling efforts when the entrance can be ventilated.

Definitely move the brood and super separately. That will be just fine.
Take the roof off and close the inner cover hole, easier to transport.
@Semaphore’s idea to remove a few honey frames from the brood box is great. I reckon, removing half the frames and transporting in a nuc box would be ok, as long as you put them back ASAP after the move.
If the path is bumpy, I also would advise against using a wheel barrow. Too risky that anything inside the brood box collapses. It’s less stressful for the bees to remove half the frames and hand carry.
Just don’t stress and work swiftly, steadily and calm.
I start wondering if this could be done during the day, with a box in the original place that can be shook into the moved hive the next day. And Yh, branches and all the reorientation aids.
Or take the frames out late afternoon, move at night, recombine next morning after reorientation?
That would surely keep you from getting stung.
Removing frames after dark, you need two beesuits on top of each other, and they still get through.

I will think about this a bit more. Intending to sell a full flow hive with super and would encounter exactly that scenario.

Well, I’ve been trying to convince myself not to move it for over a year. It is visible from the road and whenever I’m working on it someone will come and enquire what I’m doing. I don’t mind that usually but I get distracted. I fear someone will vandalise it one day.

I live on half an acre and it is just rocks and scarp and not much flat land. Where I’m moving the hive I have an issue with kangaroos and may topple it… so I have to protect it somehow. It also gets more sun, and visible from my house, not the road. It will be pointing North, not East, but at least a bit more from protected from daily strong easterly winds in summer.

Yes, that was the plan. I’m buying a Bee Escape Board to trap all the bees in the broodbox before the move.

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I would just move the super with the bees in it. The escape board doesn’t get rid of all the bees, but will reduce them.
If you don’t have SHB, you could leave the escape board on for 48 hours, that helps.
But unless you want to remove the super anyway, I would just move it with the bees.
Afterthought: you would also have less bees in the brood box.

Ah… ok. So I’ll make two trips: Seal the bottom of the super with an inner cover, I guess (blocked hole), strap it and move it. Then move the brood box… and put the super on top in the new location.

Do you still smoke them before the operation?

I would just give a tiny puff into the super.
Would give the brood box a bit more smoke and then let them settle a few minutes before anything.

Thanks all for your help. I solved the problem, quite drastically, by selling* the hive.

I will be setting up a new flow hive, which was gong to be my second hive.

(* reason for selling was more than just moving it)

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