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Short distance move of hives success

I had to move my 8 hives at the Men’s Shed apiary a distance of 40 metres, about 120 feet, my first thought was the 3 feet or 3 miles rule but that was not an option on short notice. I did some research on the forum and this is what I did.
I locked the bees up in their hives after dark and moved them the 40 metres in one go. Next morning I places lots of wattle branches right against the Entrances so that as they came out they had to fly through an obstacle course which would confuse the bees and had all the hive entrances to the N/E and all the hives in a line instead of 4 to a pallet.
I gave the bees about 50% of the normal entrance opening and out they came and it looked like all the hives were staying close by the hive for a considerable time, so I left them to re-orientate or what they decided.
That was this morning and late afternoon I went to check on them with a box of foundation in case some returned to the old apiary site that was in use for over 4 months.
There was some bees at the old site so I placed the empty box and went back to check on the new site, all the hives were active with bees returning after foraging and they seemed to be all going to their correct hives and no fighting at the entrances. Back to the old site and I was surprised that all the bees that had been in 8 hives and were all going into the single hive without a problem, after the stragglers went in I estimated there was under 1000 bees, so I locked them in and relocated them to the new site. I had a frame of honey in the hive and will leave them locked in for 36 hours then release them into a restricted entrance and then add brood at various stages and another frame of honey and pollen to make a new hive.
Anyone that has to do a short distance move of a hive all I can say is that it can be done successfully in a single move by following what I did.


I appreciate the explanation. I have read about this method before, and it seems people had various degrees of success, but glad to hear it worked out well for you. It is a good approach when it cannot be done in another way.

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The old site and the new one were in line of sight which worried me but I regard what I did as a total success. I hope what I said made sense.

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Hiya Peter, my thoughts are that if you put a couple of brood frames in the hive at the old site you’d end up with another colony after a bit, like switching a weak colonys pozzie with a strong one minus the nurses, but you’d already know this, however, the reason for moving them is to move them and placing a hive there kinda defeats the purpose doesn’t it?
I’ve done the short bee shuffle a few times and chose not to put a hive in the original spot. Sure the bees hang around for a coupla days, confused and curious, but they seem to work it out one way or another.

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Hey Skeggs, I wasn’t sure if the whole thing would work all that well.
The “trap hive” was only there till it was dark the following night after moving the hives,. and all the bees had gone inside. Then locked it down and moved to the new location with the other hives and will add brood to make it a split.
My concern was that the sites were only 40 metres apart, in clear view and all their known landmarks.
The trap hive got all the stragglers and now the earth moving equipment can move in on the site today. Great forward planning by the site boss – not…