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Thriving hive in the wrong location - what to do?

Hi all

Good news/bad news help needed for a newbee.

I am in Perth, West Australia. Got flow hive about a year ago. Good news hive is going really well. Honey flow has been good (all honey super frames full - I harvested two on the weekend just gone), but I have two problems:

  1. Location of the hive not great. It is out of the way and perfect in most ways but a neighbour has complained of dead bees on their back lawn (bees flight path right over their yard). I have another location but it is on the other side of the block so I have been preparing to move the hive one meter per day (which I am assuming is correct).

  2. Hive is bearding (even now late at night a significant group of bees on the front of the hive). It hasn’t been too warm so I am assuming they are getting ready to swarm. I didn’t open the hive when I harvested but in hindsight, I probably should have.

Questions:

  1. Assuming I find queen cells when I open the hive, should I deal with a hive split before starting to move the hive?
  2. Noting that at this stage I only have a Nuc box with some spare frames, when I do a split should I move that hive to the new location (maybe block the entrance for a few days to reset navigation)?
  3. Any other advice?

Thanks in advance.

Hi

Assuming your nuc box is 5 or 6 frames and you have those frames. Assuming also that you are right and your experience tells you bearding means swarming, because it may not mean that.

Open hive and get into brood box. If you do fine queen cells then create an artificial swarm right there and then, no delay. So be ready with your kit and new location.

Into your nuc box put 2 or 3 frames of brood in its various stages but definitely including very young brood. Put in 2 or 3 frames with stores of honey and pollen. Of course you should find brood and stores on same frame. Put in the final empty frame. Shake in just some bees. Don’t worry more coming to the nuc very soon. Set the nuc box entry to fully open. Add some feed into the feeder if your nuc has one. Put lid on it and put it right next to your current hive. Entry same way and same height.

Any other queen cells destroy. If you are sure it has not swarmed then don’t bother looking for queen. You have a long list of things to do so no time to lose.

Now put remaining frames in existing hive. Put lid on top of brood keep the flow super off for the moment. Now seal the entrance so that no bees can escape.

Now move this hive to new location. Keep it sealed.

Any flying bees will go to the nuc now sitting in exactly same location as your old hive was. So you will not lose any.

Back to old hive now in new location. Assuming it’s not too hot and the bees can remain closed up till next morning. Great. Put in front of hive branches of greenery. WHY?

When you open the hive entry up. Bees will emerge. They will immediately notice the branches and because that is not what they know they will reorientate themselves. They will not return to the old location.

Back to your nuc. In 2 or 3 days time close your entry up to stop bees escaping. After dark is a good time for me. Now move it to your new location. Put branches in front of it as above. Open it next day.

You have:

Moved your bee hives
Created 2 hives.
Stopped a swarm
Re queened one brood
Have something extra to celebrate

Back to the flow hive super which if you remember I left at the old location next to the nuc box. Once you have put the old box in its new location you could put the super back on top straight away but I would seek to just leave it next to the new hive location for a while. Put it back on in a few days.

I don’t know what you will do with the super for those days. But by moving it to the new location the bees will evacuate it flying back to the nuc. Then you can store it away from harm for the next few days.

Now you just need to get another brood box to transfer your nuc into should you wish to keep a full 2nd hive. But you could after the new queen has got going in one months time take frames of brood and add to your other hive. Placing undrawn frames in the nuc and therefore keeping your nuc as it. You will have a spare queen and brood to use or give away.

Now stand by for some of the great flow forum members to add detail. Many are still asleep and for others it’s early too.

This is a wonderful topic you introduced, right at the very heart of bee keeping, and it happened to land at a time when for me it’s day time. Have fun.

Moving bees:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmoving.htm#between

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Michael Bush…I spent a day reading all your instruction articles this weekend. Thoroughly enjoyable and interesting. Some articles I read twice and some several times. I liked the idea of a bee camp just a bit far for me.

My answer could have been far better and concise if I had just referred to you and the contents of your website.

Thanks guys, very helpful.

Two follow on questions if I may:

  1. What do I do wit the beard? Should I encourage them into the nuc or brood? Something else?
  2. Why do I need to destroy other queen cells? Do the bees not sort that out themselves when they work out they don’t need to swarm.

Thanks

You can’t do anything. If they want to beard, they will. A couple of things that I would do are:

  1. Make sure that the hive floor (or core flute slider) is not wet with honey. Bees don’t like wet feet and will beard if the floor is soaked.
  2. Make sure that there is a source of water nearby to help them cool the hive.

Now that is an excellent question. I would refer you to a couple of leaflets which were written by a superb Welsh beekeeper, but they still apply in your climate:

and

You may need to be patient during the download, one of the documents is quite large. :blush:

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Awesome, thank you, really appreciate the help.

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I would look inside and see whats going on. If the bee density is high, look for queen cells. If it’s low, look for small hive beetle larvae. If it’s high, make sure they don’t run out of space to expand. If it’s low, compress the hive down to where they can cover the combs. I have seen them bearding when the small hive beetles run them out… but usually it’s just a strong hive on a warm day. Normal. Nothing to be done.

Thanks all. Cracking the hive tomorrow afternoon, will let you know how it goes.

I reckon what MrTF says is a good idea if you want a second colony. :+1:
Beetles won’t be a problem. :wink:
Where ‘bouts in Perth are you @Radiam?

Thanks skeggley. In Swanbourne.

Ok, thanks for that.
I hope you’re doing inspections naked then. :rofl:

Ha! So hive full of bees and a few queen cups. Did a hive split. I’ll worry about the move later when I have more time. For now I hope the split works ok.

Thanks all for the advice.

You could move half of the split right now. :wink:

1 Like