Problems with Moving Bees

We have moved our honeybee box to a new location. The bees are trying to hive where the old box was. How do I prevent the bees from doing this and to go back to the box at the new location?

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The problem with moving bees is that they do tend to go back to their first location. Bees are creatures of habit and are just following the flight path that they have known for sometime.

In order to prevent the bees from doing this, when you open the hive up in the new location place either straw, grass or a twig off a tree that has nice flowers over the entrance so as to grab the attention of the bees as they emerge from the hive.

They need to stop and re-orientate themselves before flying off. If they don't they will either continue to fly to their old spot and if they don't find their hive they will take up in another hive that they find close by.

You didn't say how far you had moved them. This makes a big difference to the behavior of the bees.

It is better to move the hive in small increments over a period of time if the distance is only yards rather than miles. Move the hive no more than 3 feet at a time. This is less disorientating for the bees. In fact, it is more successful to move the hive 3 miles than it is to move the hive 30 meters!

Containing them inside the hive for 72 hours will also do the trick. If the weather is cold, you can seal up all the holes. However, if the weather is warm it is better to do so with some mosquito mesh so that there is still air circulating for the bees.

Moving bees at night is also more successful than a day-time move. You can move bees in the day when the weather is cold, but if you move the bees during a nectar flow a lot of bees could drown when moved as the nectar is easily shaken from the cells in the movement.

Even with these precautions, your bees will still be a little confused for a few days, but then they should be back to normal and used to their new location.

After 4-5 days remove the plants from the hive entrance as your problems should be over.

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Mar 24, 2012
moving bees
by: Mark

The best is to move more than 2 miles for 24 hours then you can return them to new location. Moving should be done at night both moves.

Last year I moved 4 hives from my my house to a better protected location across the field, but I loaded on the pickup at night and left the truck 24 hours at a friends about 5 miles away then to new location at night. Had no stragglers left at either location.

If the distance is just across your yard a few feet at a time will work but more of a pain especially if they are heavy with honey.

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