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Moving beehives in cold weather


that awful thing happened- my Landlord has given notice that I have to move- he is cashing in a local property boom caused by my council changing it’s zoning laws. Brilliant. For the last year I have had to live in the midst of multiple building sites- with dust and noise- and now my own house is slated for imminent demolition. I have 90 days to move house- and that includes more than a few beehives full of bees.

One sad fact is that there is a beautiful garden here: walnut, olive, grape, lemon, bay leaf, persimmon, tangerine, fig, wild parsely and much, much more besides. It’s a veritable jungle- an ecosystem. There are many small critters: lizards, possums, bats, wasps, mice, rats and many bugs (and MILLIONS of bees :wink: ). In a single day (or three) all of this will be destroyed (except the lucky bees). It’s a very sad fact- that garden plants and animals have no rights of tenure. Indeed they have no rights at all. Now all of those things will be lost- like tears- in the rain…

In a year from now there will be nothing but concrete supporting some poorly built and very, very ugly flats. And some developer with another half a million… That’s what they call ‘progress’.

is there anything I should be aware of about moving beehives in cold weather? In many ways I guess it’s better than hot weather. But we are just heading into winter and I am wondering if there is anything I should take into consideration as I go about re-locating my hives? I have suitable apiaries in mind- so that’s not a problem. I was also about to reduce the hives down in size so that will also make things easier.


I would still use a ventilated roof, even in cold weather. In other words, no real difference. :blush:

Just the usual things - face the entrance towards the sun, if you can, and out of the line of the prevailing wind. Don’t put the hives in shade over winter - increases the risk of chalkbrood.

Good luck! :wink:


Hi Jack @Semaphore
Sorry to hear about the loss of your garden, I’m going through a similar situation, the private hostel which borders my backyard has been sold to developers and is in the process of demolition now. The trees of the hostel garden at my back fence will go :angry: two peach trees, a lemon tree, a banksia and a bottlebrush.

The subdivision of the metropolitian area sucks, loss of gardens and trees for 4 bedroom houses with theatre rooms. The new neighbors of soon to be built homes will probably complain about my hives :shushing_face:.

If you need a hand with the move give me a pm.


Sad news Jack. “Progress” is the advancement in the developers bank account balance. Everyone else is a victim though it may take time for them to realize it. Hope you find a nice place with a big back yard with room to plant bee friendly shrubs. Guess you saw what was coming with all the flats springing up around you but that doesn’t lessen the anxiety of a forced move.


Hello Jack,
Sorry for you and all your critter friends :confused: Good luck with the move :honeybee::house_with_garden:


Hi Jack, I’m also sorry to hear of of your predicament. @Dawn_SD pretty well covered what you need to do. Especially the ventilation part. cheers


So sad :frowning: Progress sometimes = boring monotonous XXXX

Good luck with your move, hopefully you can find another nice spot with a garden and critters around :slight_smile:



OK- so yesterday I moved five hives up to the hills. All went swimmingly. It was very cold up there- there was frost on the ground at sunrise. I hope it’s not too much of a shock for the bees.

One thing that worries me: I had chosen the location for my apiary in the middle of summer when I moved two other hives up there. When I did that it was 38c- very hot and sunny- and I chose a location with the entrances facing the west (sunset)- which was not ideal but offered a bit of shade for the hives. When I moved the other up there yesterday I put them in the same area.

Then I found another spot where the entrances could be oriented towards the sunrise- but the hives are pretty much fully exposed to the sun. It is around 50 feet from where they are now.

I understand that the orientation of the hive entrance is not critical- but I have also been told that if the entrance is facing away from the sunrise you can get as much as 15% less honey as the bees sleep in. Could this be true? I can’t really see bees being that lazy…

Whatever the case it will be hard to move the hives now as I cannot visit often enough to move them in increments.

Another option would be to spin all the hives around 180 degrees- but it would be hard to do this in increments as they are on stands and I don’t think they can sit there at 90 degrees to where they currently are. I would have to spin them 180 degrees all at once. Would that cause too much confusion?


I have hives facing east, north and west. From what I have seen the hives are likely to be active for about the same amount of time. The east facing hive might become active a little earlier than the west facing with the west facing coming home later, or it might be just wishful thinking. The reason my hives are sitting in 3 directions is because I made a foo-par in cutting the timbers to sit on the besser blocks.
Initially I thought it would a disaster but it doesn’t seem to matter to the bees, the internal hive temps are all within 2c.