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Transporting bees & hives


I live in a hot desert environment. I have good chances to capture swarms, but, the location of the swarms could range from 1-100 miles from me. I have some questions on how to transport hives and keep temperature controlled in this desert area. We are not hot yet, but, the direct sun on a nice day can heat a box 10-40 deg above ambient temp.

I do not want to capture a swarm, hive them just to bake them on the way home.

Also, when moving a hive is bee access closed off or left open when moving? I have not found much on this exact answer but have seen yes/ for short distance or any distance depending on the bee keepers opinion.

Any thoughts?


When we move hives we close the entrance with some flywire and have a flywire lid. If the weather is cool the lid can be partially closed with some plywood but generally we leave them open.



When I moved my NUC I did so with the girls comfortable strapped in on the airconditioned back seat. If you have a ute put the girls in the seat beside you and everyone else on the back if legal or if not don’t take human passengers. The bees are your valuable cargo. Air condition them in the car on hot days.


Your city or county probably has some local regulations on moving bees around. For example, the City of San Diego says the following: “It shall be unlawful for any person to transport hives of bees between sunrise and sunset, or cause the same to be done, unless such bees are confined to the vehicle by which such transportation is accomplished by screen or other equally effective means.

Most local beekeepers comply with this by strapping up the hive (or stapling it with big hive staples), then taping #8 hardware cloth across the entrance, to allow ventilation. My local nucleus supplier goes the extra step of putting the box inside a mesh bag. You can buy purpose made hive bags, or you can just buy a large laundry bag.

When I move bees inside a vehicle, I always wear a hat and veil too while driving. Just in case… :blush:

You don’t want to overheat your bees. While they can keep well-ventilated in an established hive, they are much more vulnerable to overheating if they are a fresh swarm with no comb. There is some recent evidence that overheating Queens in shipping is reducing their productiveness and fertility too, so you definitely want to prevent that as much as possible.