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Moving Hives with Supers...suggestions please!


Any suggestions please!
Two hives, each a 10fr Deep- one ‘Brood’ box & one ‘Super’, to be moved 5km. Has to be done in next two days.
I don’t have Queen excluders on these hives as on the occasions I have added one the Queens have completely stopped laying. The results of that are another matter, however the issue raised by that factor today is that since last weeks inspection the Queen has been very busy throughout both boxes. My plans to manipulate the frames so that I had a super of frames without Brood are out the window.
I (and the person helping me) simply don’t have the muscle required to lift the complete hive in it’s entirety. I can’t put it on anything with wheels, etc., as it’s very steep terrain & 20 steps that have to be negotiated as well.
They are being moved (note the positive attitude!) first thing in the morning prior to first light. I can’t think of any other information which might be of help to nut this out? I am going round & round a few options, but not really happy with what I have so far.


Hi Kirsten…I know you say no wheels, but I have a mipro 200kg hand truck with big wheels that can go over steps. Could you strap the hive/s to that and have a person pushing and someone pulling? They are available at mitre 10. That sort of thing might work…?


If i may, ring up yr local hire place and ask for a 3 wheel fridge trolley.
They may or may not have pneumatic tires but u can at least get the hives down the steps with relative ease, when all strapped up…Over and thru sand will be a great work out for u if the trolley comes with solid tyres, lol



Hiya Kirsten, I guess one way is to condense the bees into the brood box.
Shaking the bees off the frames in the super and taking it away one day, closing the brood box up the next night for transport.
Or, splitting the hives up into 4 brood boxes.
Forget about manhandling the 10fr honey and brood boxes together over rough terrain, it sounds like a disaster waiting to happen!
If you do choose to move them together make sure someone films it. :slight_smile:


Strap tight. Two straps one way and two the other. There’s no way bees will leave brood so you can’t condense them into the brood boxes. You can split the boxes, I guess so you have four hives in the day before you move them the wueenless bees will make queen cells but they should tear them down when you put them together again.
Split in the day. Strap up at night and move either at night or in morning. Open up to let them fly putting the two halves either next to each other or one on top of the other. Then put them back together once they know where they are. Good luck.


Let’s see:
You can’t lift them because you and the other person can’t lift them and you can’t put wheels under them because of the terrain.
Burn them and sprinkle their ashes in the location you desire! Honey yield could be compromised though :open_mouth:

Seriously though, break them down into nuc sized colonies and move them: Put them back together at the new site and see what you have when the dust settles (and the swelling).



How far to flat/or manageable level ground ??? Can you find anymore help ?!
My idea worked for us but has to be done in darkness only !!!

Got one wild but crappy idea. Like in an hive inspection a hive boxes are briefly separated, right ? Can you break the hive apart very carefully in the dark ?! Move the bottom
board n lower brood box to a safe distance where you an quickly reassemble at your pickup area… add the supper, inner cover n roof… then double band front to back/n side to side. I’ve even added plywood strips n screwed the brood, Super n bottom board all together. I helped a commercial beekeeper to this emergency/ not sob great idea with success !

If you do this you’ll have to screen the entrance n any second entrance n have them ready for transport … I wouldnt suggest this wild/nuts/crazy idea if I hadn’t successful done it with a fellow commercial beekeeper. But you’ll have to do before daylight when the bees start moving much or it too would/could be a total disaster !!! Think n plan each step out. You can’t screwup n you don’t get a second chance !!!’ And has to be done in the dark so have some lighting n be extremely CAREFUL …, Do slowly to not disturb or loss much if any of the colony … I’m guessing Dee n the others are right with their thot totally. My idea is stickly an emergency/bad idea that worked for us ! Planning every step is essential !!! Or it maybe your ready to shot me !!!

Nuttie idea here,




Input I might have overlooked?!?!



Hi Gerald…all possibilities might work - yours is a proven one, but I guess we don’t know exactly what Kirsten means by “very steep”. I can only imagine and therefore I have an idea how I would do it with the equipment I have. It would involve really securing the hive. I would put an emlock strap around the entire hive and then straps around the trolley…
Once up the steep hill, there is still the question of getting the hive up onto the transport vehicle…
I hope Kirsten lets us know what method she used in the end!


I would use the Pizza Method. :smile:

Contact a few muscular friends/neighbors/acquaintances, and offer the pizzas of their choice, plus a few cans of beer, to be delivered after successful completion. Do the job, order the pizza, retrieve the beers from the fridge, have an informal party and feel satisfied at a job well done. :blush:


You all,

I’ve used hand trucks a lot ! I always secured them with racket bands front to back n side to side … then added plywood strips n screwed them secure as well. Nothing more upset than a bunch of buzzy bees being rattled over rough ground … I sure would want them to get out !

Hmmm, maybe airlift out like we did in Nam. Maybe the Aussie National Guard needs a training exercise ! Pizza n beer us a great one too Dawn !

Cheers :clinking_glasses:,

P.S. Had to Ox vapor Pine hive at noon :clock12: today. Mite count was still up at 14 ct 24 hours. Then did quick peep :eyes: inspect at top of all three hive. Had to toss in more winter patties. Brood is growing n hungry beaks … Don’t want them starved out ! Still no nectar locally. Here’s several pix’s ! It was wet, dropping rain n barely over 40 dgs F. I got soaked ! Bees were okay …


Husband and I have moved hives with a super off steep ground.
You need two loops of rope long enough to go under the hive and loop up each side as far as a good two thirds up the bottom box. You have two of those, one at the front and one at the back.
Push a carrying handle (a broom stick will do) through loops each side. Have one person at the front and one at the back or one at each corner and lift. This way you can keep the hive even as you carry it. We did it in the pouring rain and moved four hives. The only limiting factor is the recovery vehicle.


Tried and tested for centuries. Ratchet straps will give you more flexibility with the loops.


Hello kirsten,

given that the weather is so foul and hot at the moment- take super care when you do figure out how to move them that they don’t overheat in transit. Did you read my story about how I killed a hive a few months ago?

I thought I had done everything right. Turns out I was quite wrong. I would hate for you to have a similar bad experience…

If I had to move again under similar conditions I would consider either moving them at night- immediately after they are closed up after the bees return- or I would make a ventilated cover board/lid. Then I would move them absolutely first thing in the morning and do everything I can to keep them out of the heat and sunlight.

I think in my case the bees had already started to suffer during the night after I closed their entrance. It was a very warm evening- and I think if I hadn’t closed the entrance the bees would have been bearding and fanning at the entrance through the night. I stapled fly screen over the entrance so they would have ventilation but I think bees probably crowded that area and blocked the entrance. From there things spiraled out of control… :frowning: I moved two hives- one was fine- the other was destroyed. The one that overheated was such a strong colony with so many bees trapped inside that they simply couldn’t cope.

I would be relatively easy to make a screened lid for the hives- and I think you really should consider doing it. At a pinch you could just staple fly screen over the top box and then move them without the lids/roofs on. Unless of course you have screened bottoms already? Although reading around I found a few stories of hives with screened bottoms over-heating in transit too.

as for actually moving them: is there way way you could induce some strapping individuals to help with carrying them?


Hi Jack…
I’ve jut come out of the leatherwood forests in Tasmania, and passed a couple of trucks this morning moving hives in. I was reminded of your story. The second truck had the hive entrances open and no cover on the back of the truck. As he went past you could see heaps of bees hanging around on the back of the hives and flying after the truck, and for the next 3 or 4 ks there were seemingly hundreds of bees all in the air over the road where the truck had passed, darting madly around. I can’t imagine there would be too many foragers left in those hives by the time they arrived at their destination, but I can only imagine the apiarist had a good reason to move them that way.


I think that’s fairly common- at the bee society we had a talk by commercial SA apiarists and they said that it’s better to lose some foragers than to put an entire hive at risk. I think they also travel with their hives open. I think some cover the entire truck with a fine net maybe? I am such a bee friend that I hate the idea of even a single bee getting left behind- but after that last move I now see that you can end up doing far more harm than good if you make a mistake.




Ok @Kirsten_Redlich, you’ve done it again and left us all hanging. :flushed:
How did it go?


Thanks for all suggestions & apologies for not staying in touch, i was admitted to hospital the day after posting & have been in more than out over past few weeks.
So on afternoon prior to move I placed two pieces of insect screen between super & brood & reassembled. One piece taped down all sides to form ‘lid’ for brood & the other taped up to form a ‘base’ for super. The morning of move at first light I closed the entrance with another piece of screen/mesh. I then split the hive, putting the super onto a normal hive base, for the move, & covered the top of the brood with hessian sacks (over the taped down mesh). So I ended up with 2 single box hives, which although still very heavy to carry, were manageable, there was NO way of using anything with wheels, even lighter loads like garden waste just end up being launched into the air as it runs away from you down the hill and hits the top of the steps.
So the hive spent the night with two boxes separated by the two pieces of mesh, which I thought would allow better means of regulating temps etc. as no guarantee of how many bees would end up in each. I should also mention that this hive has an upper entrance & lower entrance (I’m sure I’ll get a few comments about that, but this is a productive hive & it works for them, am happy to go into another time) so bees were able to enter & exit both boxes until closed in am.
When I got to the site I put hive back together, undid tape & whilst I lifted super, my ‘assistant’ lifted & pulled out the screen. Amazingly the only bee lost in transit was the one who sat on the outside of the hive for the whole trip & promptly flew off as soon as car was opened. I screened the entrance with some brush & opened the hive.
I did check this time and the distance from home to apiary is 5.34km as the bee flys (or in a straight line!), however I did end up with 20-30 bees that insisted on liking it better here still. They may of course have been early rising foragers. So it was a success! Yay!
Thanks again for your interest, when I can I will be back…


Well done Kirsten, hope you’re feeling better.