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Relocating a hive - lost bees

I’m relocating my hive and plan to use a 5 frame nuc’ box to give the lost girls a place to hang till I can get them back to the others.

I understand I have to take an outer frame from of their current brood box and put it in the nuc’ (one or two?). How close to closing and moving the hive should this be done? I’m concerned about disturbing them before I shut them up.

My other question is how long will they hang around the nuc box because it will be a week till I can make the journey with them back to the mother ship?


Maybe I am missing something here, but why catch the stragglers in a nucleus box? If you close up the main hive in the dark (night before or before sunrise on the day of the move), you shouldn’t have enough stragglers to worry about. It really isn’t worth catching a couple of dozen bees. :blush:

OK, tell me what I am missing here… :wink:

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Thanks Dawn. Great advice. I just didn’t know what was the right thing to do.

From what I’d been reading I thought quite a lot would get left behind. Your right if it’s so few is not worth disturbing them to take frames out.

Should I move the super and the brood box separately or as one unit?

Thanks so much for your help!

Moving hives can be quite tricky, and it would really help you if an experienced beekeeper could assist you. Not essential, but much easier if that was possible.

Definitely move them together, unless you are going to remove the super for winter. I think @JeffH and @Peter48 are quite a way north of you, but I know they have nectar flows just about all year. If that also applies to your region, you would leave the super on for the move.

The usual method is to strap the boxes together very securely with hive straps or a ratcheting strap. The strap should go under the bottom board (on the outside, of course) and over the roof. I think @JeffH has a nice trick for wedging the wood frames inside the hive box, so that they don’t swing about when you are driving, crushing bees. You would want to do the wedging in daylight, the day before moving. That will give the flying bees a chance to settle down before you close up the entrance.

You can close up the entrance with some dense foam rubber or staple insect screen material over it for ventilation. Many people also change the roof for one with ventilation in it, as the hive will be full of bees, all trapped inside during the day. This helps prevent them from overheating. Position the hive in the vehicle so that the frames align front to back and take corners very slowly and gently. That alignment will protect them from braking and accelerating, but not cornering.

The hive will be heavy, so be ready to lift up to 70kg depending on how full it is right now. I have moved hives that took 3 people to do it safely, because of the weight.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes. :wink:


I agree with @Dawn_SD. What I would do to save calling on a second person is remove the honey frames, leaving the honey super intact. If the brood frames haven’t been disturbed for a while, I don’t bother wedging the frames because they wont move around under normal circumstances on account of bridging comb & propolis.

Fraser Coast being slightly north of Peter & I, there’s probably no need to remove the honey super during winter. That is dependent on the size of the colony population of course.

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Thanks so much for this valuable information. I feel anxious but more confident. I’ll definitely let you know how it goes!


Ugh, you upside-downers get me every time!!! :crazy_face: Seriously though, thanks @JeffH

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Thanks Jeff, great idea. I noticed there’s not much in the honey frames now anyway.

So am I right in thinking I can take out the flow frames but leave the super box on top.

I’m feeling better every email.

Thank you all so much!

Hi & you’re welcome. If the bees aren’t using the flow frames, you’d be safe to remove the flow super for the move, then leave it off until the bees are ready for it. If you leave it there over winter without the bees using it, the frames could get covered in mildew.