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Need to move hive, but bees are still on outside of hive late at night


Hi all,
I need to move my hive about two metres (6 feet for the rest of you!) within my yard. I’ve read all about moving the hive and how to handle this in terms of helping the bees reorient etc, and I intended to block up the entrance and move them at night. However, this evening when I went to block the hive entrance and prepare to shift the hive, there are still a large number of bees on the front of the hive. I think it’s due to overcrowding rather than bearding, as we’ve had an incredibly warm Autumn in Sydney and lots of things have continued to flower, so the bees have been busy. With winter coming though, I’m reluctant to add another box, as their numbers are sure to decrease in the coming months.

So, my question is this: can I move the hive with the bees still on the front at night (without blocking the entrance) or do I risk them going completely ballistic and/or getting disoriented?

Thoughts? Thanks is much in advance!



Hi there Chris, Yes you can.
I only ever move a max of 1 metre at a time, any further than this and it may cause a disruption to the foragers.
If it is only a small patch of bees on the front then there are a couple of ways.

  1. Under the cover of darkness with two strong lads (including yourself) Pick up the hive and move them quickly and smoothly. They will crawl, so you need to be quick.
  2. A spray bottle (new or thoroughly clean) a light spray with tap water will cause them to think it is raining after a few minutes they should all make their way inside, may need a couple of sprays every 10 seconds or so to help convince the rain is here to stay. Then you can block the entrance, for this I use a clean kitchen sponge cut to size and moistened, I fold it over my hive tool and push into the entrance.


-I would also secure the boxes together with a strap/s if they are not already. If the boxes come apart, yes they will go ballistic.:grimacing:


Thanks team! I’m gonna do it! The boxes are strapped, let’s get at it! Once again, thanks for the great advice everyone.


I find it easier to just move the hive in daylight. I take the hive apart and simply rebuild in the new spot. Safer than trying to move a stack of boxes at once in the dark IMO and I can do it myself. But each to their own…



Yes I agree with @Rmcpb, do it during the daylight hours. Don’t even block the entrance. You are only moving the hive 6 feet. You can do it in 2 moves. Can you set up two rails that you can slide the hive on?


I’ve had this problem- and what I did was lightly mist the bees outside with water from a spray bottle. they think it’s raining and go inside. I can take a while but I’ve had success. This was where there was maybe 50 to 100 bees only outside though…


For that distance I agree with Rmcpb and Jeff move during the day. It is a short distance and they’ll reorientate.

When needing to close entrances so that I can move hives in vehicles I’ve used some light smoke on those at the entrance to get them to go inside.



Just move them. If you don’t have help, go out in the middle of the day when they are flying and move all the boxes to the new location. Put a branch in front of the entrance. No reason to do two moves unless it’s more than 100 yards.



Do it in daylight Chris, and do it in one move, the bees will find the new location by the sent. With night moves there are more bees in the hive and they will be more angry than during the day time and you will be less likely to trip over yourself.


Just a quickie, bearding is often a result of over crowding. If you have a spare box you could drop it onto the hive and the bees might use it for honey storage, come winter they would take that honey down closer to the brood and if the number of bees drops off significantly you could then remove the super then.
Even if you put a box on with foundation they could make new comb that would be helpful in the spring, seems such a waste to have them bearding when they can do something useful.