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Repositioned hive, will my bees be okay?


#1

Hi everyone. We received our nuc on Saturday, and the bees moved in just fine. However, we realized that even though the hive was getting plenty of sunlight, the entrance was facing the wrong way, and so the bees weren’t really “waking up” until around 10:30 AM.

So, my wife and I made a possibly-foolish decision. In the middle of the night, when the bees were sleeping, we rotated the hive 180 degrees, so that the entrance now faces the morning sunlight.

I thought this would be okay, after reading about the “no more than 2 feet” rule in several places online. But now I think it’s actually the worst thing we could have done! The bees have no trouble finding the hive, but they’re all clustering around the “old” entrance, with no way to get in.

Will they figure it out? Have I made a horrible mistake? Should we rotate it back during the night, or will that just make things worse?

In the meantime, I read up on getting bees to re-orientate. I put some bushes and leaves around the entrance, but I can’t tell yet whether this is working (and I’m getting very nervous).

Help! :slight_smile:


#2

I also saw one bee that might be doing the “fanning scent” thing (see Bees fanning entrance and it is not even hot outside yet), but it was only one, and of course I’m still a newbie so I wouldn’t know for sure.


#3

They will figure it out, I wouldn’t rotate it back. If you want to help a bit, you might consider a drop of Lemongrass essential oil on the landing board, near the entrance. Also, make sure you have closed the SBB with the Corflute in the upper slot and if necessary, duct tape over any gaps at the back.

If you ever consider this again, one thing that can help is to force bees to reorientate when they leave the hive. A branch or potted shrub right in front of the hive, obstructing the flight path a bit can help. As can stuffing the entrance full of dried grass. Just in case you decide to do it again at some point. :blush:


#4

They’ll be fine. Each day a new round of bees become foragers and the old “set in their ways” foragers die.


#5

Hi @msolnit, what I would do is turn the hive back 90deg. or slightly more for a day. The bees will find the edge of the entrance that way & go in. You can try turning it the other 90deg. after the bees get used to that position in a day or so.

In summary, ideally, if you turn the hive 60deg. every day for 3 days, you’ll have no problem whatsoever.


#6

I’m with Jeff. Go back 90 degrees so they can find it. Then when they are finding that, go another 45 degrees and when they are used to that go another 45 degrees… or if 45 isn’t very convenient (due to stand etc.) then do it 90 and then 90 to get back to where you are not.


#7

Thanks for your replies, everyone! We ended up leaving everything as-is, with some bushes and grass near the entrance. Towards the end of the day I put some lemongrass oil on the landing pad, per @Dawn_SD’s suggestion (had to run out to the store and buy some first :-)).

And… it looks like everything is okay! Today they’re buzzing around happily, returning to the new entrance location and leaving the other side alone.

Thanks again!


#8

Thank you for the feedback, glad it worked. We are very lucky that lemongrass oil mimics Nasonov pheromone and helps the bees find their way home! Nice trick to keep in your back pocket.

:wink: