Hi, I currently have a 10 frame Langstrom hive and want to transfer my whole colony into the full flow give set up. I originally just thought I would just put all my existing brood frames into the new flow brood box and put the flow frames on top (less two frames which is fine because my putter frames don’t have much in them) and that would be that. However the height of the entrance to the flow set up is 1 inch higher than my current set up and 2 inches narrower. So I’m just wondering about messing around moving things and if I end up shifting the landing spot if I will mess up my colony ? Or how I’m best to go about this? I have also considered moving the colony across to the other side of the yard as currently I don’t have great access to the back of the hive which I will need for the flow set up. So how do I not only move the whole colony location but also transfer the frames into new boxes ?? Any advice or suggestions would be great! Thanks
Hi Alexandra, just keep it simple and don’t worry about the hive entrance being in a slightly different spot between the Langstroth and Flow hive, the bees will figure it out pretty quick. To transfer, move the 10 frame langstroth with all the frames and bees to one side, place the new Flow hive box in the position where the langstroth was and then start transferring frames over, if the outer frames are not developed or drawn out then leave them out. Place the frames in as identical a position in the Flow hive box as you can and if it will fit 9 frames then all good. Empty the remainder bees from the 10 frame on top of the new hive and then replace the lid, any bees left over should be shaken or brushed off in front of the new hive. Remember to remove all the old hive components well away. Your Done…
If you wish to move your hive to the other side of the yard, then leave the bees to settle for a few days and then begin moving then 2-3 feet each night, and if you need to rotate then 30 degrees at a time. This could take a while but will minimise confusion, bee stress and loss. Good luck.
Most beekeepers will tell you that moving hives is a ‘3 feet or 3 miles’ process. That is, you can move them 3 feet at a time and the bees will still find it, or 3 miles (the upper limit for bees to forage). Anything in between and you confuse the bees and can end up losing a substantial amount of the colony (they keep going to the old location, and won’t/can’t find the hive’s new location).
This year, I had to move my bees 50 yards for one hive and 20 yards for another and had no ability to take the long 3-feet-at-a-time method (new neighbor putting up kids play-yard right along my bee’s flight path and wanted the bees “gone” now). I get why the bees are OK with small moves, but couldn’t figure out why they were good at really long moves, so I asked a local beekeeper. He said it’s because "everything looks different and they have no recognizable landmarks, so they have to do a complete orientation flight and set up new landmarks and flight paths.
I read somewhere that you can induce an orientation flight by putting obstacles and “stuff” in front of a hive, so thought I’d be a smarty and see if I couldn’t just move the hives in one night. I moved the hives and literally enclosed them with cut brush leaning against the hive on all sides. The next morning the bees came out, were obviously totally confused, and swarmed for most of the day with bees peeling off and returning. About 100 bees kept going to the old location and clustered there, but the rest of the colony stayed around the new location. At the end of the first day, I scooped up the cluster of bees at the old location, and dumped them in the entrance of the hive at the new location. I had to go out of town and couldn’t get back to the colony for 5 days. When I returned I took the brush away at night and then checked the hive the next morning. Full hive. Slightly unhappy bees (had to smoke them which I usually don’t have to do). But very productive bees. The “confuse them when you move them” method seems to have worked!
Maybe I was just lucky on my 2 hives, or maybe this is something that others can verify does work more often than not.
Just sharing my $.02 and success so far.