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Moving bee hives large distances


In the next few days I will be setting up two new apiaries in the hills. I need to move two beehives to each location. It will take me approximately an hour and a half to move them from a to B.

One of the hives I moving is a split. I just inspected that hive and it has four capped queen cells. I am hoping it will be OK to move the hive in the next four days, even though the queens May emerge at any time. I’m hoping that I will have a small window before the queens are ready for their mating flights.

I am wondering about how you secure the frames in the boxes so that they don’t move around too much? Is this vital? I have to drive on a few bumpy roads along along the way. The hives will be inside my car! I have clips on them, and will strap them, and secure them with the frames parallel to the car.

I will be closing up all the hives in the evening and moving them first thing in the morning, opening up the entrance as soon as I get them to the location. I will be closing the entrances with screen mesh so that the hives can breathe.

Is there anything I should be aware of or cautious of before I go ahead with my plans? I’ve never done this before.

And BTW- I’ll have my veil next to me!


Hi Jack, is the location 90 minutes away? If so, not something that I would do, I would look for somewhere about 10 minutes away. That’s beside the point.

I would just fill the gap with empty frames, then pack them tight with cardboard. I recently discovered that tightly packed sponge rubber works well. The other thing is to make sure that you have adequate ventilation after a couple of recent disasters of my own.


one location is 50-60 minutes- the other 90. The first is friends- with a sublime organic cherry orchard and a salt water swimming pool I can use when I visit. Plus dinners, many other fruit trees, lovely people and a nice dog. An Apiary with many fringe benefits! A must do situation.

I scouted the location the other day and no one was home. It was hot so I had a swim in the pool and relaxed laying in the sun and staring up at the clouds for half an hour. Then I played catch with the dog. Whoa! Took 2 years of my age I tells you.

the second is my fathers hobby farm- which I already periodically visit. He also has fruit trees and other gardens and the bees will be a good addition.

From what I have heard- many years the Hills do not do as well as the suburbs- so I am starting out with modest expectations. However sometime when the big gums flower- I am hoping it can be very good.

All the hives I am moving are single brood boxes full of frames- most of them the bees have had time to propolise the frames into place. The split one though I just added three frames of foundation to and there is a little wiggle room with the frames.

I am setting up a third one in the hills a few weeks later- and all of them can be visited on a circuitous route in one day. For me it’s not just about the honey or efficiency- but is a great excuse for me to get out and about and especially up into the hills which I love. Living in Suburbia you get worn down by all the walls, fences, pollution, traffic, etc. I’ve seen what surrounds Buderim- and man- can I say- it looks like paradise to me. Our hills are pretty nice- some of the most fertile land in South Australia and some of the highest rainfall. Driving around the other day was a treat there were just flowers everywhere. Sometimes it was almost psychedelic! Later on I will be able to expand the apiaries from splits on site- and if I ever have to- liquidate them relatively easily by selling the hives. There should be ready buyers local to each location.


Sounds like a good plan. But as Jeff says, keep them well ventilated.

If you don’t go through the hives for a few days before shifting the propolis should hold the frames in place. But I’ve been known to put some tiny nails tight against the outside frames with new colonies to stop them sliding around.

The queens should be good as long as they have hatched. Don’t travel bumpy roads with queen cells.

Agree with Jeff about the distance too… lots of travelling. I lose wife points by having an apiary half an hour away!


I don’t have a wife- so it’s all good! :wink: And if I did have- she’d be the hills honey loving type.

as for ventilation- some of the hives only have the entrance- others have ventilation holes int eh lids. All are solid bottoms- but I will be stapling wire mesh on the entrances- and traveling early and on cool days- hopefully the entrances will be enough? The hives will be shaded and in the car with the air con on.


I would wait with moving the nuc with the queen cells until you have a mated and laying queen. Her mating flight attendants might be unfamiliar with the new location. Not sure what it takes for them to find the DCA.


Ideally I would do that- but it will throw my entire operation into chaos- and requite me to clock up an extra 200kms and half a day of driving. As the queen cells are capped just now- I have anywhere from one day to 7 days or so before the queens emerge. Add to that a few days for the queens to prepare for flight- and I should be able to move them in 3 days safely (touches wood). There are at least 4 good queen cells- so even if a few are damaged/destroyed along the way I should be alright. I will have a strong hive with frames of brood beside that one so could donate brood and eggs if worst comes to worst. The split has lots of very young bees too- with some just emerging today.


If you secure the frames well, you should be ok. I transported nucs over 4 hours along very windy roads and the final 20 minutes windy uphill dirt road to our place. The queen cage slipped to the bottom between the frames and could have posed a problem with the exit pointing down, but I corrected that the next day.
The next time I drove a lot more careful.


Well done Jack, I keep forgetting that you’re only a young bloke. :slight_smile: A 90 minute drive is a daunting proposition for me & Wilma. Even in our “street machine”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVFTgp3Spys


I’m not that young unfortunately but it’s all relative I suppose. If you can extract 300 kgs + of honey over a short period I’m thinking your doing pretty well for your age Jeff :hugs:

And LOL- wouldn’t have picked you as a hoon! sick sounding street machine. :sunglasses:

  • I know u love your gardening have you ever looked into aquaponics? If I owned my house I’d love to get into it. There’s some great videos on YouTube:


Thank you Jack, I did look into aquaponics a while back. I like the idea but not enough to get into it. A Youtube friend RobBob, is right into aquaponics. You may have seen some of his videos.

We did a better, louder video of the car, but I decided to take it down because if the coppers wanted an excuse to book me, they could have got me for not using my indicator, which I used in my 2nd, more subdued video.


I love it when a plan comes together. First two hives successfully picked up and delivered. Location seems awesome- big national park immediately adjacent with many large gums flowering - organic cherry and fruit orchard- and an entire field of flowering manuka 10 feet from the hives

When I picked up the two small hives I was concerned as activity seemed low (though that made closing the entrances a breeze). Both were small secondary swarms caught one month ago. One had a window and I could see a frame of honey and pollen with just a few bees on it. I packed them up and left them in my car overnight. I started to worry that I didn’t have a laying queen. Once delivered when I opened them up I was very happy to see one freshly mated virgin queens in each hive, and nice capped brood in a solid pattern.

I think in a way they will make good colonies- slower to start off than a primary swarm (that has a fertilised old queen and is usually much larger)- but both now have fresh faced 1 month old mated swarm queens. Primary swarms often go through supercedure not long after swarming too. I’ve read that swarm queens are the best of all as the bees make them in their own time, at a point of maximum surplus- and can therefore devote the best resources and care to them. Makes sense to me.


Wow. Looks like a prime space for a couple of hives. That honey will be too good to sell, especially if coming from flow frames.


I always secretly think my honey is too good to sell - even as I sell it :sunglasses:

For the time being theses will just be regular old school hives. I’ll probably add the supers in 3 weeks… I might add flow supers down the road- and expand the brood of one to double. It’s a good feeling knowing they are there! Busy bees- pollinating. Plus I’ll be picking organic cherries in 6 weeks!


I love selling my honey as much as I love giving it away. If my honey gives joy to others then I’m a happy man. Right now I’m staying with my sister in Northern Tasmania. The leatherwood honey here is absolutely gorgeous!

Looking forward to getting home to Mullum in a couple of weeks. Our house sitters tell me my girls are happily buzzing but I really do want to check them out for myself. AFB is a real worry in our district and I like to be able to keep a close watch on my little ladies.


Leatherwood has always been a favorite of mine- super distinctive flavor.

Just moved two more hive to my second hills apiary with success- they are right on a river with a lot of big red gums.


did get home today to find all but one of my hives thriving. Sadly one is a deadout but I had not seen the queen when I inspected two months ago, just before going away. Tomorrow it will be cleaned out. I don’t suspect AFB because the other hives are doing so well.